After a high stakes gamble ends in personal tragedy, Travis walks away from years of training and a highly successful law enforcement career. Determined never to look back, he starts a new life and a new career, teaching criminology at the university and building a cabin in the idyllic Idaho Mountains. He hires a beautiful river guide, Jessie White Eagle from the Nez Perce tribe, to guide him safely down the Lochsa. The turbulence of the whitewater, however, is just the beginning of his troubles. Travis finds himself in the crosshairs of a killer—calling himself Creasy—bent on revenge.
This fast-paced thriller takes readers on a wild ride down Idaho’s whitewater rivers, along the historic Lolo Trails once tread by the Nez Perce nation, and onto the city streets of California. Tighten your helmet. This ride never stops until the last shot is fired and the final body falls.
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Excerpt from Chapter 1, REVENGE (A Travis Mays Novel)
Raindrops splattered the windshield as Travis Mays raised his binoculars. Come on. Come on. Where are you? He squinted, trying to catch a glimpse of any movement near the building through this infernal darkness.
Travis flicked the glove box open and snatched a bottle of antacids, tossing a handful into his mouth. Jaw muscles ached from gritting his teeth. These tablets did little to ease the burning inside. He raised the glasses once again.
Carlos shifted in the passenger’s seat. “She’s still inside, dude. Don’t get your shorts in a twist.”
Travis ignored his partner, straining to see through the windshield’s fogged-up glass. A two-story building loomed in the darkness fifty yards away. A black-grated fence circled the office complex. A droopy-eyed security guard—sheltered from pelting rain inside a lighted shack—sat twenty yards away, scanning all vehicles coming and going. No way to sneak inside to check on her safety.
He glanced at his watch. Ten o’clock.
Travis gripped his binoculars, searching for any signs of life in the darkened building. “Something’s wrong. I told Michelle to get out of there before everyone went home. Get in. Get the documents. Get out. This is taking way too long.”
“Chill out. Maybe she’s just waiting until everyone leaves. Then she can grab and run.” Carlos chuckled. “Michelle, is it? Sound like this is more than business. I saw you making eyes at her. She’s just a snitch, man. Business is business. Don’t let it get personal.”
“That snitch is risking everything. She’s putting it all on the line. We get paid to take these risks. Not her. She gets nothing out of this.”
“Okay, Okay. She’s a saint. What do you want from me?”
“I want you to give her some respect. Michelle willingly came forward to tell us what she found out. No one forced her. And now, we’re about to nab one of the most ruthless traffickers we’ve ever hunted down—because of her bravery. Who knows how far this network reaches.” Travis lowered his voice. “She went back in there—knowing the danger—because I asked.”
Carlos raised his hands. “Whoa, man. Lighten up. To set the record straight, the suits higher up the totem pole sent her back in. Not you. They forced your hand.”
“I had a choice. I could’ve told them to take a hike.”
A car emerged from the parking garage beneath the office building. Two on board. He scanned the car as it slowed at the guard shack. Two burly men, no one else. “I’m telling you something’s not kosher.”
“Okay, maybe you’re right,” Carlos said. “What are we—“
Travis’ cell phone emitted several sharp beeps. He glanced at the digital screen and grimaced. His sergeant, Timothy Heard, supervisor for Santa Rosa Police Department’s criminal intelligence unit, was calling. “Yeah, sarge.”
“Need you to break away right now. We just received a call from the county. Their VCI dicks are working a homicide near Goat Rock. I need you and Carlos to eighty-seven with them.”
“We’re still waiting for the CI to come out. Once we connect, we’ll head out—”
“—I need you out there now. Your CI’s a no-show, right?” Heard barged ahead, not waiting for an answer. “Their victim is a female. Description matches your gal.”
“No way. She is still—”
“—I need you to get out there immediately, Travis. That’s an order. The victim matches your snitch, that’s all you need to know. We may have some damage control issues.”
“It can’t ... what do you mean ‘damage control?”
“I mean if your informant turns up dead, we’ve got to cover ourselves.”
“You ordered me to send her back into that killer’s den. Damage control? You mean protect your sad —” He felt a hand squeeze his arm. Carlos leaned over, silently mouthing the words, “Be cool.”
Travis snapped the cell phone shut, jamming it into his pocket. “The SO found a body out at the coast. They want us to check it out.”
“The boss thinks the body might be our gal? And we’re just supposed to drive away? What if she’s still in there?”
Grimacing, Travis fired up the engine. “Orders are orders. But if this victim is Michelle ...” He let the words dangle, not wanting to give them life.
Only six hours ago he’d held her in his arms. They’d met in a motel room where he gave her final instructions. Get in, get out. Carlos stood guard outside. It had been eight exhilarating months since she breezed into his life, gave him a reason to get up in the morning. The way she teased and cajoled him into doing things he never tried before—ballroom dancing, or using a palate machine with her instead of going out for a beer with the guys. Michelle squeezed joy and excitement into every day they spent together. For once in his life, Travis began to think about the future, about spending his life with her. It had been a long time since he thought about anything other than police work. She changed all that. Before they parted ways today, she reached up and drew him close, almost like a premonition. Jasmine perfume still lingered on his clothing. A few moments later he followed Michelle to her car, watching her taillights disappear into the bowels of the garage across the street. The last time.
Travis gunned the engine, cutting through the darkness. Rain and wind rocked the car as he slowed at the next intersection. He pressed the accelerator to the floor, activating emergency lights embedded in the grill of his car. It would be a long drive to the coast.
Bio.~Novelist Mark Young
Mark Young is an Amazon bestselling author. Both his Travis Mays and Gerrit O'Rourke novels reached the top 100 list, and his debut novel, Revenge, hit #1 for bestselling mystery/suspense police procedurals. Mark worked as a police officer and sergeant with the Santa Rosa Police Department in California for twenty-six years after working as an award-winning journalist. He is a Vietnam combat veteran, honored to have served with Fox 2/5, 1st Marine Division, and later with Headquarters company. He worked on several law enforcement task force operations, including the presidential Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting major drug traffickers, and the federal Organized Crime Task Force charged with identifying and prosecuting prison gang leaders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family. You can find out more about Mark Young at his web site at MarkYoungBooks.com