BY: JOHN R BEYER
PI Frank Sanders is “blown away” by the woman who strolls into his office one morning. Not only is she drop-dead-gorgeous, she’s also rich and willing to pay whatever it takes for him to find her missing father, world-famous geologist Dr. Stephen Jaspers who went rock hunting in the desert and hasn’t been heard from since. A retired Riverside California Police Department detective, Frank is used to searching for people. He takes the case, assuming it’s a simple missing person. But what he uncovers is more than he bargained for, leading him to suspect that he’s about to be blown away—literally, this time—along with everyone else in Southern California.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Operation Scorpion by John R. Beyer, Frank Sanders is a private detective in Southern California. When a beautiful client comes in, asking him to find her missing father, Frank takes the case, thinking the man just got busy and forgot to call his daughter. But he soon learns that it’s not that simple, after all. As the case develops, he discovers a ring of corruption with some very powerful and dangerous players.
True to Beyer fashion, the story is fast-paced, intense at times, and thoroughly entertaining. It will hold your interest from beginning to end.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Operation Scorpion by John R. Beyer is the story of Frank Sanders, retired River California cop turned private detective. He gets a new client whose father is missing and, at the time, all Frank knows is the client is beautiful and rich enough to pay him for the work, and she hasn’t heard from her father in over three weeks. The case should be a simple search and find. But alas, that is not to be, and Frank is soon embroiled in deceit, betrayal, and deadly secrets that put everyone in Southern California at risk. Who do you trust when the corruption goes to the highest levels? This time, Frank may have bitten off more than he can handle.
Operation Scorpion is fast paced, tense, exciting, and intriguing. I really liked Frank and thought the character development was exceptional. There’s a lot going on, so you’ll want to read carefully, or better yet, keep it around to read again if real life gets too boring.
The desert sun was at mid-point, shedding its nuclear fission like rain down upon the five men standing atop a rocky outcrop forty miles southeast of Fort Irwin in Southern California.
“I’m getting pretty pissed off with this asshole!” whispered a short well-built man while glaring across the distance at three men standing chatting by a dark green Toyota FJ.
Next to him stood a rather tall and handsome man of forty-six years who was nonchalantly toying with a light brown scorpion with the toe of his Tony Llama boots. “Patience is a virtue, Aaron.”
The scorpion, a striped-tailed arachnid, was harmlessly stabbing its pointy tail into the man’s boot.
“You ever study these things?”
“What?” Aaron asked, turning his attention from the now-arguing men, and looked at the man beside him.
“Scorpions. Or as they are generally known to the scientific world: the Vaejovis spinigerus. The best name for this little guy is the devil scorpion.”
Staring down at his boss’s left boot, which was gently playing with the scorpion, gave Aaron the shivers. Just looking at the damn insect made him wonder what was on the mind of the man he had driven with from Los Angeles to meet with these men from Syria. “No, I guess I never paid them much attention.”
“We can learn a lot from these little fellows.”
“Like what?” Aaron asked.
“They can sit patiently for long periods before striking their intended target. It is a gift of patience which allows them to overpower much bigger prey than themselves. They lie quiet as they sense their next meal coming near and then, at just the right moment, strike with a flick of the tail, sending venom directly into the most vulnerable areas of the prey. Within moments, the prey is made immobile or dead, giving the scorpion time to approach and start eating. It is really quite fascinating.”
Aaron turned his head in time to see the men coming back to where he and his employer were standing. He was glad. Though he was paid very handsomely, he always felt he was in the company of a psychopath.
“Ah, they return. Let’s see what their decision is, shall we?” With a simple twist of his left ankle, the man dropped the heavy western boot atop the scorpion and crushed it into the desert floor. “Little devil, don’t choose battles you can’t win.”
A swarthy, heavily scarred man approached and bowed slightly. “My friend says your price is too high, and he won’t do business with you unless you drop what you are asking.”
“Tell him the price is the price, and he is getting enough material to build very many dirty, nasty bombs.”
With a nervous twitch of his right arm, the man turned and delivered the message in Arabic to his bearded colleague.
“I like dealing in English,” Aaron’s employer said, “and I know he speaks and understands it well.”
The obviously nervous go-between nodded as he listened to the response. The impeccably dressed bearded man stared hard at the interpreter and snapped a statement off. The interpreter visibly blanched and stood still, making no effort to deliver the message.
The younger Middle-Easterner slowly turned. “I would rather not say, sir. I believe he is just angry and perhaps some time will smooth things.”
“Tell me what he said. I won’t be angry.”
Clearing his throat the interpreter shrugged and then looked down at the ground. “He said that you are nothing but a dung-eating infidel who should be so lucky to deal with him and his cause, which the material should be given for free.”
“Ah, free. But this is business, and he tries my patience. Though he probably plans on using the materials to harm my fellow Americans, it is still business, plain and simple. The price remains the same, and he has thirty seconds to make his decision or the deal is off.”
Great! Aaron thought as he felt perspiration dripping down his back while standing in the afternoon desert sun. Casting a quick glance beside him, he could not understand how no beads of perspiration ever showed up on his boss’s features.
He is one cool character.
A moment of hushed speech just a yard away, then suddenly the interpreter lost all color in his face. “I’m so sorry, sir but he says to lower the price or the deal is off right now.”
“You know why I like scorpions, Aaron?”
Aaron shrugged while keeping his eyes on the nattily dressed Arab and his counter-part beside him. “They’re creepy?”
“Most are poisonous but not deadly to humans, which makes them different from me.”
In an instant, Aaron’s employer yanked out a small hammerless .38 caliber Smith and Wesson from beneath his suit coat and shot the bearded man in the forehead. He then casually turned the gun on the dead man’s partner and delivered two rounds into his face.
They both crumpled to the hardened desert floor.
A large wet stain appeared on the front of the interpreter’s pants, but the shooter simply and calmly slipped the revolver back into its holster and patted the man on the right shoulder.
“Calm down,” he said. “I like you and you speak the truth even when scared. We’ll have more people wanting to do business, and I’ll need your tongue to understand them though I wish we could have more dealings with those who appreciate proper English. It gets so bothersome otherwise.”
He is a fucking psychopath. Aaron thought as he walked toward the black Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV to retrieve a pick and shovel.
© 2017 by John R. Beyer