BY: DUSTIN DODD
After working a graveyard shift, K9 Officer Daniel Deacon gets an unwelcome call ordering him back to work. Deacon and his K9 partner, a German Shepherd named Justice, return for a long overtime swing shift in the heat of Central Valley, California. When an undercover drug sting goes south and the manager of the local electronics big-box store, Jessica Grady, discovers that she has a serious theft problem, Deacon and Justice are pulled into a dangerous web of deception, betrayal, and murder. Exhausted from the long hours and lack of sleep, Deacon chases and shoots a suspect—who was about to kill Jessica—only to discover he has just shot the wife of the local drug lord. Although he had no choice, his actions have put him, Justice, and Jessica on a deadly assassin’s hit list.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Savage Justice by Dustin Dodd, Daniel Deacon is a K9 cop in Cain, California, with his partner, Justice, a German Shepherd. Deacon and Justice are working a lot of overtime due to staff shortages. Low on sleep, exhausted, and not functioning at an optimum level, they take part in an undercover op that goes south. The drug dealer they are targeting makes them before their sting goes down and he gets away, leaving five kilos of coke behind. The gangbanger’s supplier is not happy and gives the dealer one mouth to come up with the 200 thousand he owes for the confiscated drugs. The drug lord sends his wife to babysit the dealer until the debt is paid, and thing just go downhill from there.
The book is well written with a strong, well-thought-out plot, believable characters, and enough tension to keep you on the edge of your seat.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Savage Justice is the story of Deacon, a K9 cop in California and his German shepherd partner, Justice. Together the two fight drug dealers and other bad guys. But when Deacon shoot and kills a drug lord’s wife, he and Justice end up on an assassin’s hit list. I love the glimpse we are given of life with a canine partner—the slobber all over the computer, the potty accidents when the dog has to wait in the car too long—because, no matter how well trained the canine partner is, a dog is still a dog.
Savage Justice will keep you turning pages from beginning to end. Based on Dodd’s real life experiences as a K9 cop, the story is a solid, entertaining, and exciting read.
Alejandro Bautista checked his watch. Shit, two forty-five. He was going to be late. He swore at himself again for not leaving sooner. It was always a good idea to be on time when getting multiple kilos of crank from your supplier. It was not only bad for business, but also bad for one’s health.
People had died for less, he thought, flooring the accelerator. His white Honda Civic lurched forward. The mighty four-cylinder engine immediately jumped to six thousand RPM as it accelerated from sixty-five to sixty-seven miles per hour.
He was furious at himself for not having stolen something with more horsepower. He inhaled with a shudder. He was screwed. Still, being late was better than a no show. That would really piss Tuefel off.
Teeth gritted, Bautista exited the highway onto Vista de su Muerto road. View of Your Death. Nice. Hauling way too much ass as he took the corner, his car went into a skid. The wheels slid, kicking up gravel. Tiny crumbles of granite skipped off the shoulder and down into a one hundred foot ravine. He kept the accelerator smashed against the floor. He fishtailed once, then the tires regained traction.
As he drove up the winding pass, the foothills yielded to their mountainous big brothers. The towering behemoths of the Sierra Nevada Mountains rose before him, snowcapped from their shoulders to their crests. At this elevation, gnarled oaks began to intermingle with pine and redwood, weaving a dense network of forest with sunlight scattering shadows of the old giants across the Civic.
While the air was fresh, the lack of smog worried him. He didn’t trust air he couldn’t see.
After several minutes, he came upon the camouflaged access road. Shaking his head, he admitted Tuefel did a helluva job hiding the road. Even looking for it, Bautista had nearly missed it. He slammed his breaks, threw the car into reverse, and pulled over.
He threw open the door and bolted from his smoking excuse of a car. He raced over to a pile of debris and brush, shoving his arm beneath the foliage. Finding the chain link fence gate concealed underneath, he dragged the fence back enough to get his car through.
With a grimace, he eased the car through the newly formed opening on the side of the mountain. After clearing the fence line, he pulled the hidden gate shut, ensuring no unwanted guests crashed the party.
Ten minutes later, he stopped at the top of the embankment that overlooked the lab entrance as an armed man flagged him down. At six feet and two hundred fifty pounds, Bautista had never felt like a small man. But this one made him feel as if he should go back to the farm and finish growing up.
Before getting out of the car, he locked his pistol in the glove compartment. He couldn’t risk being found with a gun during the pat down. If he was, he’d receive a bullet in the head for his trouble.
The bookend approached the driver’s door. While he had been here over a dozen times and the two of them had met on several occasions, the man was emotionless as rock and seemed to lack a soul.
Bautista froze at the H&K MP5 pointed at his face, the barrel looking like a cannon. Damn, by now, one would think it was overkill.
Looking past the barrel and at the face of the man, Bautista rolled down his window. The stench of hair spray hit him like a sledge hammer. Someday, someone would strike a match.
His gaze narrowed on the watchdog. The man wore mirrored aviator style sunglasses. He looked like he was straight out of the ’80s or a movie, maybe Top Gun.
Nice touch, Maverick. Under other circumstances, say those where he wasn’t holding a submachine gun, Bautista might have asked if he had permission to do a flyby.
But not today. Today, the man holding an automatic weapon was the one who got the privilege of cracking the jokes and slinging the insults.
“No shit. I’ll tell the man I’m sorry myself. Traffic was a bitch and I got a flat.”
The toothpick in his mouth rolled to the opposite side. “I don’t care. Mr. Tuefel’s waiting. Park your shit and get down there, yesterday.”
“You mind lowering the heat and getting the hell out of the way so I can get down there?”
The guard returned a look as cold as ice and stepped aside.
Bautista put the car in gear. With Maverick on his tail, he drove down to the entrance and main loading area for the lab.
He parked beside the loading dock. The dock was a slab of granite at the mouth of a natural cave. The cave itself was fairly wide and deep, which made it the perfect location for a methamphetamine lab.
When it came to drug cartels doing business in the Sierras, they adopted the al Queda playbook–get underground. The advantages were plentiful. Random law enforcement fly-overs could not see through solid rock. Bodies were easily dispatched at the end of the cavern. All very convenient.
Slowly, Bautista opened his door. A soft, pine-scented breeze buffeted him. Mountain air always calmed him. He stepped out of his car and took in the view.
Peering into the lab, he saw glass beakers and various cooking supplies hooked up to the gas piping vents. Along the opposite side stood a growing pallet of neatly pilled white bricks. The only man operating the cooker seemed to be taking inventory of the pallet. From his days as a Coyote, Bautista recognized his type–an illegal smuggled across the border to do one thing–cook meth. When the job was completed, the illegal would be rewarded for his services by Tuefel’s wife Rachele. He’d join his predecessors in the ravine at the end of the cavern.
Known for a few trademarks, Ubel Tuefel ran his small crew with an iron fist. Whereas, a six-inch knife to the base of the skull was Rachele’s trademark. Few people survived the two. It was all about profit and fewer people to sell them out.
It always surprised Bautista that, after she’d disposed of the body, Tuefel would send his goon to the border to get another couple chefs for the next cook and no one asked questions. Bautista thought the whole operation was both brilliant and crazy. He also knew the big man would never turn on the two. The knuckle dragger had neither the brains nor the firepower to pull it off.
A large hand grabbed him by the back of the neck. Damn dude not so hard.
“Thank you, Luis, for hurrying Alejandro along. I was growing impatient. In fact, I’d started to think our friend here had backed out of our agreement.” Tuefel reached out and grasped the back of Bautista’s neck and squeezed.
Bautista’s blood ran cold. “No, sir. I had a flat on the way up.”
At Tuefel’s cold, lifeless laugh, Bautista involuntarily tensed. If he’d been a dog, his hackles would have risen.
Tuefel sneered. “Only you would have that kind of luck.”
They walked over to the pallet, his vice grip still on the back of Bautista’s neck. “Look at it. Isn’t it beautiful? This batch will be finished in a couple of hours.”
Bautista spotted Rachele staring at the cook with a look that was part glee, part lust, and all evil.
Tuefel followed Bautista’s gaze to his wife. “Too bad for him, he just finished his job.”
Swallowing hard, Bautista watched Rachele amble over to the unfortunate man. Smiling, she put left arm around his shoulders as she fingered the ivory handle of the blade on her hip with her right hand.
“Yes, it is.” He was willing to agree to anything to get the hell out of there.
Tuefel cleared his throat. “Now, how many kilos did we discuss?”
“I’m impressed. That’s your biggest order to date, Alejandro. Is your man good for it?”
He’d better be. “Yes. He’s hooked up and dealing this shit in all the high schools. Plus, I’m going to cut it a bit to milk him for more money.”
“That’s a good idea. Oh, and I expect my $200,000 immediately.”
“I’ll have it. I won’t let you down.”
At the pallets, the grip on Bautista’s neck was released. Ignoring the stiffness in his shoulders, he selected five neatly wrapped kilos and headed for his vehicle. A moment later, he struggled to open the door, nearly dropping the merchandise.
Once he popped open the trunk, he stashed the five bricks on its floor.
After he’d secured the product, he glanced behind him. At the entrance to the cave, like Lucifer at the mouth of hell, Tuefel stood motionless, watching Bautista’s every move and Bautista realized he’d worn out his welcome.
Time to go!
With a nod, he slid behind the steering wheel. As he punched his screwdriver into the ignition, he jerked at the sound of rocks and the echo of something heavy crashing down the ravine in the canyon.
Fighting the urge to floor the accelerator and haul ass out of there, he focused on the trail and slowly drove his smoking car toward the gate.
© 2016 by Dustin Dodd