Jack Bass, Black Cloud Chronicles Book Tour & Giveaway

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In the Line of Ire Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 1 by Edwin Dasso, M.D. Genre: Medical Thriller

Jack finds himself the target of a blazing hatred

His commanding officer blames Jack for his own failings. Jack becomes a scapegoat of his malicious jealousy and hatred, and he is intent on making Jack pay – with his life!

>>>In the cross-hairs of an egotistical man without remorse

Fighting for their lives, Jack and his new love – Major Lori Darden, RN – learn just how dangerous it can be to raise the ire of a psychopathic boss. Jack must fight back to prevent his world from turning to ash right before his very eyes.

>>>A mix of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series and TVs M.A.S.H.

Download your copy today and become immersed within the pages of this brutally intense, thrilling adventure from international bestselling author Edwin Dasso.

>>>“This is a fast-paced, action-packed roller coaster of a read. A refreshingly different perspective…”

*Contains adult content and violence Goodreads * Amazon

Past Aghast Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 2

Is He The Killer They Say He Is?

Even Jack isn’t certain.

Jack is left emotionally traumatized from his deployment in Iraq with severe PTSD and the Army forces him to retire. Jack’s PTSD flashbacks sometimes leave him unaware of his actions while under the influence of his unwelcome mental demon.

>>>Retirement isn’t Always What You Plan

As the new Chairman of Anesthesia at Southern Medical Center, Jack thought he’d retired into the tame civilian job he’d dreamed of, but a series of bizarre murders and deaths occur under his watch. Can Jack put this puzzle together on time? Will he survive?

>>>Jack Bass, MD is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Marcus Welby rolled into one!

Sound confusing? Wait till you see inside Jack’s head! “A dark psychological suspense thriller that will captivate you and leave you turning the pages well into the night!” Goodreads * Amazon

Death Management Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 3

Once more, Dr. Dasso has knocked this book into a home run…”

After narrowly escaping murder at the Southern Medical Center, Jack Bass, MD, and his new love, Janice, move to a new city to start their life together. Jack steers his career away from the hospital, taking a promising position at a small healthcare company that provides support and assistance to people with serious medical issues. However, he soon discovers things at the company are not as they should be – something sinister is occurring.

>>>A medical suspense thriller that will keep you breathless

Jack uncovers the deadly plan for profit lurking underneath the company’s innocent facade. Once again, Jack must uncover a ruthless web of plotters and connections in order to save the lives of innocent victims, including Janice and himself! Will he be able to neutralize the threat before it’s too late?

>>>An ultra-realistic medical murder mystery that will not cease to surprise you!

Death Management is the third book in the bestselling Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles medical murder mystery series. Prepare to be amazed by a surprising plot full of unexpected twists and breathtaking turns. Goodreads * Amazon

You’ll Be Safe Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 4

“ This is by FAR one of the best medical mystery books I have read.”

After the murder of his wife and unborn child, Jack Bass longs for death. In fact, he welcomes it. That is, until Amanda, his lovechild with Major Lori Darden, unexpectedly enters his life. Jack tries to shroud his new life with his daughter in privacy, determined that the events of his past should not threaten his daughter. But no matter how hard he tries, Jack cannot avoid trouble. It relentlessly pursues him.

˃˃˃ Homeless Veterans Are Disappearing From The Streets

After being kidnapped and delivered to an isolated encampment, veterans are given a medication that makes even the most out-of-control psychotic captives turn into walking, order-taking, defenseless shells. They are used as slave labor, exploited then killed whenever the mood strikes their captors. Despite his best efforts to remain isolated from the world, Jack is faced with a choice between protecting himself and his daughter or helping to save these veterans who are being victimized for profit.

˃˃˃ There Will Only Be One Man Left Standing after This Battle

Jack is again unwittingly thrust into a world of conspiracy and murder as he follows yet another trail of bodies. This time, Jack may have bit off more than he can chew. Will his new-found daughter become an orphan? You’ll Be Safe is book four in Ed Dasso’s Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles series. Goodreads * Amazon

Do I Know You? Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 5

“…book #5 in this addicting series. Well worth the wait!”

Jack Bass, MD: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher meets Marcus Welby

Sound confusing? Wait till you see inside Jack’s head! Jack was shot while rescuing homeless veterans from from an isolated slave camp. He was left clinically dead but was revived by a team of trauma surgeons. When he awakens he has significant, but spotty, amnesia. His friends and family take him abroad in an effort to help him recover but, true to form, Jack unwittingly stumbles into the middle of, and thwarts, a terrorist bombing plot. The terrorists are hell-bent on revenge! Jack fights to survive and protect his family, all while he struggles to even remember who he is. A series for readers who love action thrillers with hard-hitting, complex characters.Goodreads * Amazon

Empty Promises Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 6

Big pharma is buying all the politicians in D.C.

They can then legally unleash their new, but deadly, super-narcotic on the American public. When Hank Green has a bad reaction to a drug during a study, Jack Bass, MD gets involved. He soon discovers that many Veterans are being conned into enrolling in the same drug study…and many are dying as a result. Will Jack survive looking under the rocks of the political landscape as he attempts to stop this scourge? Move over Jack Reacher, and make room for Jack Bass, MD.A fantastic thrilling adventure that kept me glued to the pages. Every story tops the one before it.”Goodreads * Amazon

Death Hub Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles Book 7

From USA Today and Amazon International Bestselling Author Edwin Dasso comes the Seventh book in the Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles. Jack Bass, MD, discovers that new medical technology can work wonders…if it doesn’t kill you first. Jack is working feverishly with two of his favorite past students to figure out what is behind the chaos of medical technology gone crazy. Is it a bigger issue than anything they could have imagined? Although, this book is part of a series, it is easily enjoyed as a stand alone novel.Praise for Death Hub:“I love to read a good thriller and I was not disappointed with Death Hub.” “… entertaining, exciting and scary at times.”“Cyber Security is a Priority… definitely a scary idea.”

Goodreads * Amazon

Edwin Dasso, MD, a USA Today and Amazon International #1 Best- Selling medical thriller author, writes works of fiction that leverage many of his “stranger than fiction” experiences from years of practice at major medical centers and community hospitals. “You might be shocked at some of the events in the books that are based on an actual experience.” Member of the International Thriller Writers. His “Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles” series has been developed into a TV series, “Jack Bass, MD,” (https://www.facebook.com/jackbassmd/?ref=bookmarks) which is actively being discussed around Hollywood. Network feedback has been very positive. Fiction writing is reviving a lost love from earlier periods in his life where he enjoyed writing short stories. In addition to a number of years as a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care specialist, he has published articles in national healthcare journals, written many “Ask the Doctor” columns and has spoken frequently at national healthcare forums. He has also been instrumental in designing and deploying population health programs to help people deal with depression related to poor health.

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Death Hub

A Novel by Edwin Dasso, MD

Book Seven of the Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles

Death Hub

Text Copyright 2019 Edwin Dasso

All Rights Reserved

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold,
given away to other people, or replicated or distributed in any fashion without the express
written approval of the author. If you would like to share this ebook with another person,
please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard

work of this author.

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to events, names, places, or persons, living or
dead, are entirely coincidental and are purely fictional or used in a fictional manner.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to my wonderful wife who is becoming quite an accomplished editor for me, not to
mention her usual role of motivator. Thanks to my children, Brittany and Leo, for their
ongoing support. Once again, they were all my major motivators for this effort, as well as my
life in general. Thanks to my friend, Dr. Jerry Frank, who continues to demonstrate his skill
as a beta reader and editor; his comments always make my storytelling better. And, of course,
thanks to my editor, Jill Noble, for assuring the book is an acceptable final product.

Prologue

Tyler drove his county sheriff’s squad car slowly up the pot-hole filled gravel drive of the
crumbling farmhouse, steering around the rusted, broken-down pieces of farm equipment
scattered haphazardly about the muddy barnyard. He stopped the cruiser at the end of a cracked
sidewalk, heavily overgrown by weeds and what passed for a lawn. The picket fence bordering
the drive had long ago rotted, fallen over, and been swallowed by the tall grass. He clambered
out of the car and exchanged a quick glance with his partner, Sherry, over the roof of the car. He
tugged his ballistic vest into position and checked that his pistol slid freely from the holster.
“You want to do the talking, Tyler?” Sherry asked as she stood in her open car door, hiking
up her gun belt. “You know Rankin doesn’t like women cops.”
“Not a problem, Sherry.” He turned toward the house. “This dump reminds me of that old
TV show, Green Acres.”
This wasn’t the first complaint they’d had for this particular household, an isolated
farmhouse in the lightly populated fringe of the county. The occupant had a well-known
penchant for getting drunk in local bars and picking fights with anyone he happened to dislike on
that particular day.
Tyler and Sherry had been sent out this time because Child Protection Services had received
a call from a concerned neighbor. They’d been hiking in some nearby woods and claimed they
had spotted a young boy chained to a chicken coop on the dilapidated, old farm.
“When we get to the door, you stand off to the side.” Tyler pointed at the porch. He flashed
her a quick, tight grin. “Don’t want him to spot you right away, eh? Once he opens the door, go
ahead and step up.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Sherry leaned into the open door of the car and looked at the Child
Protection Services counselor sitting in the rear seat. “You wait here. If we find a kid, we’ll come
get you.”
“S-sure thing, Officer.” The counselor nodded, her head moving like a bobble toy as she
squirmed, sliding lower on the rear seat. “D-do you think there will be any trouble?”
Sherry shrugged, tugging on her bullet-proof vest. “Hell, if I know.”
Sherry tiptoed next to him as they crept toward the front porch.
The sound of clucking chickens emanated from behind a shed near the house and Sherry
crinkled her nose. “Jesus! This chickenshit stink makes me want to puke!” she whispered.
Tyler shot her a quick glance then slid a foot onto the first rickety step, which looked like it
hadn’t seen a fresh coat of paint in decades, cringing when it creaked. “Shit!” He vaulted up the
remaining steps and bound across the porch of warped planks. He skidded to a stop at the door,
banging on it with his fist. “Mr. Rankin! It’s the sheriff’s department. Open up—we need to ask
you a few questions.”
He brushed away the dust and paint flakes that had floated from the ceiling onto his
shoulders, shifted his weight from one foot to the other. C’mon, old man, stop playing games and
open the friggin’ door! He rested a hand on his gun, his fingers drumming on the grip. Sherry
slid over near a window, sneaking a quick peek around the edge. She turned her gaze back to

Tyler and shrugged. Tyler hammered on the door again, the glass panes rattling in the weathered
wooden frame.
“C’mon, Rankin. Open the damn door!”
They waited a couple of minutes, Tyler craning his neck as he listened for sounds of life
within the house. He jiggled the door knob, and the door clicked open a small notch and he
twisted his head to gaze at Sherry.
“What do you think? Probable cause?” He pushed the door open a few inches and peered
into the dank interior. “Should we go in?”
Sherry nodded and pulled her Glock pistol from its holster. “Yep. I don’t think we have a
choice—something doesn’t feel right here.”
Tyler held his gun at his side and stood to the side of the door then threw it open and stole a
quick peek around the doorframe. He nodded once at Sherry, took a deep breath and stepped into
the murk, dropping to a knee a couple of feet into the room. The only light inside came from a
TV in the far corner, a national news station talking-head rambling on about the latest D.C.
liberalist conspiracy theory. As Tyler waited for his eyes to adjust to the dimness, Sherry
appeared next to him, swinging her pistol and her gaze around the space. She tapped him on the
shoulder and pointed at a pair of feet hanging off the end of a recliner situated in front of the TV.
“Probably still sleeping it off from last night,” she whispered.
They rose together and slowly moved deeper into the room, kicking away empty beer cans
strewn on the floor surrounding the recliner. An ashtray overflowing with cigarettes smoked
down to the filter sat on a dingy, stained end table next to the tattered chair. Jesus! How can
somebody live like this? The old man was sprawled in the seat, a cigarette butt with an inch of
ash hanging from it, still clasped between his fingers. His eyes were open but unmoving, clouded
over by a fog of death. Tyler holstered his gun and reached down, putting his fingers over the
man’s carotid. He slowly withdrew his hand then gazed up at Sherry and shook his head.
“Nothing. Dead as a doornail. From the temp of his skin I’d say he has been for a while.”
Sherry snorted. “From the looks of him and this place, probably a long overdue heart
attack.”
They both jumped as a commotion came from the rear of the small home. Sherry swung her
gun in that direction and Tyler yanked his pistol from the holster, pointing it toward the noise.
“What the hell?” Tyler said. “That sounds like a bunch of damn chickens back there.”
“And it sounds like they’re inside the house,” Sherry grumbled, shaking her head.
They slinked toward a shadowy hallway leading to the rear of the home, stopping to lean
their backs against the wall to both sides of it. Cold sweat ran down Tyler’s back as he peered
into the murk.
A wildly squawking chicken flapped past Sherry and she threw her arms up in front of her
face. “Jesus! Really? Chickens in the house?”
“I sure hope the neighbor was wrong about seeing a kid here,” Tyler muttered. “This place is
a friggin’ pig sty!”

“You got that right.” Sherry held a hand over her nose, pinching her nostrils closed. “Smells
worse than it did outside.”
They stopped at a closed door and exchanged quick stares, then Tyler flung the door open.
Several chickens ran around the room in a flurry, feathers flittering in the air amidst a cloud of
dust. A couple of the birds burst past Tyler and Sherry as they stood at the door, Tyler’s mouth
hanging open as he stared into the room.
Sherry spit dust and crud from her mouth, holstered her gun, then rushed in and kneeled on
the floor next to the large cage. “Jesus Christ! You gotta be kiddin’ me!”
The boy appeared to be about eight-years-old, and he bounced around inside the cage like a
pinball, clucking and flapping his arms like wings as he fired glimpses over his shoulders at
Tyler and Sherry. Sherry took her phone from a pocket and hurriedly videoed the scene then
undid the latch on the cage door. She inched out her hand, reaching toward the boy.
“We won’t hurt you, little buddy… We’re here to help,” she whispered, wiping tears from
her eyes with her other hand.
The boy pressed himself against the far side of the cage, clucking frantically.
Sherry turned to Tyler. “You better go get that CPS lady.” She turned back to the child in
the cage. “I’ll stay here with him.”
Tyler remained frozen for a few seconds, gawking in disbelief at the scene then shook his
head hard. “I’m on it,” he said, bolting toward the door.
“And call an ambulance!” Sherry called after him.

The child calmed slightly after a minute, eventually squatting down on his haunches in a
large nest of straw as he stared at Sherry, twitching his head like any chicken would when
regarding something.
She scowled toward where the dead man sat in the other room. “You piece of shit!” Sherry
growled. “The world’s a better place with you dead.” She crawled farther into the cage and
rested a hand gently on the kid’s knee.

*     *     *

Mark Quinn, MD, the on-duty physician, peeked through the window into the ER exam
room, watching as the young boy walked around, flapping his arms and jerking his head like a
chicken when it walks. Quinn opened the door a crack and listened to the boy clucking like a
nervous hen. The doctor let the door slip closed and turned back to the EMT who had just
brought the boy in, arching an eyebrow.
“Is this for real?”
The EMT shrugged and held his hands up at his sides. “Don’t ask me, Doc. I just brought
him in. When we picked him up, though, we found him locked up in a big cage with a bunch of
chickens. They were in a back room in some beat-up, old farmhouse out in the boonies.” He
rubbed at the back of his neck as he glanced through the window at the young boy. “He was
squatting in a big straw nest on the floor of the cage when we arrived. When we pulled him out

and asked him if he was okay, he just started clucking and running around like a chicken with its
head cut off.” He grimaced. “Sorry—bad choice of words.” He tapped on the window with a
knuckle. “Cops think he might be a kid who disappeared from east of here a couple years ago.”
He stepped back and locked eyes with Mark. “Damnedest thing any of us have ever seen—and in
this business, that’s sayin’ something.”
Mark nodded slowly then opened the door, inching closer to where the boy now perched on
a gurney like a bird on a power line. What kind of person could do this to a kid?
“Hi, buddy,” he said in a soothing voice. “I’m Dr. Quinn… I won’t hurt you.”
The boy clucked and moved away on the stretcher. Mark tried to examine the child, but the
boy jumped from the bed. Every time Mark moved closer, the youth would flap his arms,
squawk, and run to a far part of the room, wedging his back into a corner. Mark decided to
forego the physical exam for the moment and see if the child would respond to a few questions.
The only response Mark got was the child jerkily tilting his head from side-to-side and more
cackles. Mark sighed then shuffled to the door, watching in amazement as the boy grabbed a
bedpan, set it upside-down on the exam table and squatted on it like a hen warming it eggs. Mark
backed out of the room, locking the door behind him.
“Nothing I can do for him,” he mumbled then groaned. “Hoo, boy—the psych folks aren’t
going to believe this one when I call them.”

Chapter 1

A row of green lights flickered then blinked to life on the large, wall-mounted video
monitor, hues of jade reflecting on the faces of a small contingent of people forming a
semicircle around it. The VIP guests visiting the federal government’s Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services—or CMS—computing center that Monday morning all focused on the
flashing display.
“That’s it! We’ve done it!” Lincoln Stennet, the lead computer scientist at CMS, yelled,
throwing his arms into the air like he was signaling a touchdown. “We’ve completed the last
step! We’ve now added the connections from our master patient database to the electronic
medical records of eighty percent of the hospitals in the US.” He turned triumphantly toward
the crowd of government officials standing in attendance. “Our new health hub is officially
open for business!”
Several members of the small celebration group smiled and nodded approvingly, a few
even clapping. Stennet began pacing back and forth in front of the group, his gaze darting
between them and the video screen.
“That, combined with our connection to the computers of the vast majority of retail
pharmacies and physician groups across the country, gives us a real-time view into the health
status of most of the patients enrolled in government health insurance programs.”
A scholarly looking man in the group of observers turned from the display to Stennet.
“Now what?”
“Now, our analytic algorithms constantly monitor patient health markers in that data
feed and flag downturns—actual or potential—in a patient’s health. Then it will send real-
time notifications to patients and their doctors to help avert any further deterioration”—he
waved an arm at the electronic console—“and help avoid major health events like heart
attacks or strokes, among other things.” He stopped suddenly and pumped his arms in the air
again. “It’ll be a whole new era for healthcare!”
Senator Franklin, a well-known Democratic advocate of patient rights, stepped close to
the electronic display. He turned to Stennet, a frown creasing his face. “Even though I was
behind getting this project funded, it still makes me more than a little nervous. I worry those
‘algorithms’ won’t have adequate human oversight.” He jabbed a finger at Stennet.
“Opportunity for error is pretty apparent to me. Not to mention, I think it’s likely that doctors
will feel like they’re being left out of the loop on patient care decisions.” He pinned Stennet
with an intense stare. “Tell me again, exactly, your plan to assure the best patient care
through the deployment of this ‘health hub’ of yours.”
Franklin turned away from Stennet and leaned in toward the control panel, resting a hand
near the keyboard. A heavyset man shoved people aside as he elbowed his way through the
small group of people, stopping near Franklin.
“Please stay back from the control panel!” he barked.

Franklin jerked upright and spun toward the man, stiffening as he glared at him over the
rim of his glasses for several seconds before clearing his throat. “I beg your pardon, Mr.…”
His gaze slid down to the man’s CMS nametag. “Wayward?”
“It’s pronounced, ‘Way-urd’. The second W is silent.”
The senator arched an eyebrow, shooting a quick glance at Stennet before turning back
to Wayward. “Uh…okay, Mr. Way-urd. What were you saying?”
“I said, please keep your hands away from the control panel. I don’t want you messing
up anything. This is very complicated programming.”
Franklin’s mouth dropped open, and his brow began bunching. Stennet jumped forward,
pressing himself between the two men; he scowled at Orville then quickly spun around,
smiling awkwardly at Franklin.
“I’m sorry, Senator Franklin. Allow me to introduce Orville Wayward, the lead
programmer for the project.” He turned and again scowled at Orville. “Orville is just here to
answer questions.” He pushed Orville back. “And that’s all!”
Franklin leaned around Stennet, eyeing Orville intensely for several seconds, then
pushed Stennet aside and held a hand out to Orville. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Wayward.
Thank you for your efforts in bringing this to life.”
Orville shook the offered hand as if he’d been forced to touch a leper and grunted, his
smudged, heavy-rimmed glasses fogging as he stared silently at Franklin.
“You obviously have strong feelings about this project,” Franklin said. “Tell me—do
you have any concerns about potential program errors? Are there sufficient safeguards in
place to avoid inadvertent harm to patients?”
Orville sighed dramatically. “Of course, it’s safe!” he blurted. “We’re not stupid! My
team and I have taken great care in designing the decision-tree algorithms and put a number
of safety backstops in place. There can be no mistakes.”
Franklin’s eyelids shot wide, and his mouth dropped open. “You seem very…confident.”
“One hundred percent,” Orville interjected. “I don’t expect somebody such as yourself to
be able to understand the complexities of the programming, so you’ll just have to take my
word for it.” Orville crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Franklin.
The senator’s cheeks reddened, his face contorting into a frustrated expression as he
turned slowly toward Stennet, who quickly stepped in front of Orville and twirled him away
from Franklin.
“I think that’s all we’ll need from you, Orville. I’ll take it from here.” He shoved Orville
away from the group. “Go back to your cube and get to work.”
Orville shuffled away, grumbling something imperceptible.
Stennet slowly turned back to Franklin, trying not to look as cowed as he felt. “I
apologize for that, Senator. Like many technical people, Orville is used to interacting with
computers, not people. He’s also quite protective of his…baby.”
Franklin scowled at Stennet then glanced quickly after Orville. “Yeah, sure…I get it. I
suppose that’s good…” He pinned Stennet with a glare “To an extent.” He jerked a thumb

over his shoulder toward Orville. “Just make sure his exuberance stays within the project
parameters.” He turned back toward the control panel. “I’m going to be watching this
closely, Stennet. I want weekly updates.” He whirled back toward Stennet and poked him in
the chest. “And immediate notification of any problems! Am I clear?”
Stennet nodded energetically. “Of course, Senator, of course. You’ll be the first to
know.”
“I’d better be…or I’ll shut this whole thing down and send you packing.”
Stennet’s stomach churned and burned, his shoulders drooping as he watched Franklin
storm away. Goddamit, Orville!

Chapter 2

Five-year-old Sasha wrapped her arms tightly around her mother’s neck, the child’s gaze
constantly darting about the surroundings as the small group walked through Arlington National
Cemetery. The rays of the rising sun cast orange hues on the white tomb markers that dotted the
rolling knolls, and Jack Bass, MD, took in the scent of cherry blossoms that drifted on the slight
breeze.
Jack smiled at Sasha and tweaked her chin. “We’re almost there, sweetie.”
Sara and Sasha were natives of Turkey, but Sara had been educated in the US and had
worked there until she’d returned to Turkey for her husband’s funeral. He’d left the US,
abandoning his wife and child, to return to Turkey to join the terrorist group led by Sara’s
always-angry father. Jack had been kidnapped while vacationing in Turkey and held captive by
Sara’s father in their isolated home village. While imprisoned, he’d saved Sasha’s life when she
was choking on a piece of food. In return, Sara’s father had freed Jack, but Jack had risked his
life to go back and rescue both Sara and Sasha, who’d been detained by the terrorists since the
burial of Sara’s husband. Jack had then arranged for asylum for them in the US, ultimately
welcoming them into his home until they could settle into their new life. Jack’s daughter,
Amanda, now in her mid-teens, and Sasha, had quickly developed a sisterly bond.
Jack looked at the faces of the other members of the small troupe. Hank Greene, who Jack
had rescued from a homeless veteran slave camp and who had subsequently become Jack’s and
his extended family’s devoted protector, marched next to him. Jack smiled as he noted Hank’s
gaze constantly darting from one spot of possible ambush to another.
Hank had been a career Green Beret, but the torments of too many wars that were
entrenched indelibly in his memory had bludgeoned him psychologically. After his discharge,
he’d become homeless, choosing a life of debauchery to deal with all that mental trauma. Hank
had been kidnapped from the streets by a group of ruthless men and taken to an isolated camp.
There, enslaved, homeless veterans were forced to tend to illegal marijuana fields, their captors
often killing the veterans on a whim. The camp organizers sold the illegally-raised product on the
medicinal marijuana market for a huge profit.
Since Jack had rescued him from that plight, Hank had cleaned up his life and gotten back
into outstanding physical condition. Since Jack had a life-long penchant for inadvertently
stumbling into scoundrels, Hank had decided to become the personal bodyguard of Jack and his
extended family.
Rounding out the group was Amanda, Jack’s teenage daughter with Major Lori Darden, RN.
Jack and Lori had met years prior when both were assigned to a Level II army field hospital
during the Panama conflict. Lori had been Jack’s first true-love experience as an adult, and he’d
cherished her beyond description. They’d quickly fallen in love and had a single night of passion
during that assignment, Amanda being the result. Separate assignments had kept them apart over
the ensuing couple of years, until they were assigned together in Iraq—and he’d been standing
next to her there when she’d been brutally killed.
He had not become aware of Amanda’s existence until quite some time after Lori’s death.
Amanda had been a toddler when she and Jack were first introduced, but Jack had loved her at
first sight and had protected her fiercely over the ensuing years. He looked at Amanda now, a

sense of pride welling within him as he watched her strutting toward her mother’s grave. Jack
again regarded Sasha, noting the fear still in her eyes. He held his arms out to her.
“How about if I carry Sasha for a while, Sara? I’m sure your arms are getting tired.”
Sara held Sasha out to Jack, and she jumped into his embrace, immediately wrapping her
arms tightly around his neck as she gawked at the rows of grave markers. Jack chuckled and
hugged her.
“I know it can feel like a creepy place, Sasha, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. There are
more people of high-integrity at rest here than at anywhere else in the world. These men and
women died so you and I could be safe.”
Sasha turned her dark eyes to his face, her tiny body relaxing in his arms. She nodded, a
slight smile coming to her lips. “Why?”
Jack snorted. “That’s a long story—”
“Dad, are we going over to Granpa George’s grave after visiting Mom’s?” Amanda asked.
“Absolutely! Can’t come here and not visit George.” Jack tried to sound cheery, but his
heart twisted at the thought of General George Smithson, the closest thing Jack had ever had to a
father, lying dead beneath his feet.
They stopped at Lori’s grave, and Amanda carried on a hushed, one-sided conversation with
her mother, as she always did during these visits. Jack smiled wanly, feeling hollow, as he
usually did when he observed this interaction between Amanda and her dead mother. Amanda
stopped talking, stood and kissed the grave marker then turned to Jack.
“Your turn, Dad.”
Jack stepped forward and placed a small bottle of Kahlua against the base of the headstone
then kissed the marker. He’d started the tradition the very first time he’d visited her grave, and
even though the bottles disappeared between visits, and he knew he might be fueling somebody’s
drinking habit, he refused to halt the ritual.
“I still miss you every day, Lori,” he whispered then glanced over his shoulder at Amanda.
“I know you’d be very proud of our daughter, though. She reminds me more of you every day.”
He stood and saluted before turning to the group. “Shall we go over to visit George now?”
Everyone nodded, and they turned and trundled across the pristinely groomed lawn. From in
front of Jack, Hank growled.
Jack moved a little faster to catch up and put a hand on Hank’s shoulder. “You’re not still
blaming yourself for George’s death, are you?”
While guarding his brood, Hank had grown quite fond of General George Smithson, MD,
who’d helped guide Hank through his challenging addiction recovery process and treated him as
a son. Hank had then become temporarily incapacitated by inadvertently becoming addicted to a
narcotic being used illegally in a sham research study. Smithson had been murdered during
Hank’s relapse, and Hank blamed himself for not being there to protect the older man.
Hank shot Jack a glare. “What do you think? Of course, I am! I should have been there. I’m
reminded of that every time we come here.”

“You know it wasn’t your fault—George knew you were a victim in that whole scenario. If
he was here, he’d tell you the same thing.”
“Yeah, well, he’s not here, is he?” Hank scowled and jabbed a finger at Jack. “Because he’s
dead! And I let that happen.” Hank stormed off, moving ahead of the group.
Jack watched him and sighed. He had a very good idea of how Hank’s burden of guilt
felt—Jack blamed himself for not preventing the deaths of the only women he’d ever let himself
love.
They arrived at Smithson’s grave and formed a loose circle around it, each of them bowing
their heads. After a couple of minutes, they all looked up, wiped their eyes, then shuffled away
from the stone marker. Hank buried his face in his hands as he strode away. Jack took a step
toward his friend then stopped. He twisted back to the marker, watching over his shoulder as his
colleagues walked toward where they’d parked their car. When they were several yards away,
Jack dropped to a knee, shivering as he rested a hand on the cold, hard gravestone.
“I’ve been following your advice about addressing my anger issues, George,” he muttered.
“As usual, your suggestion was a good one… Dr. Love says he’s impressed with my progress.”
Jack had religiously followed one of General Smithson’s last requests; Jack had resumed
regular visits to his long-time psychiatrist, Brent Love. The doctor was continuing to address
Jack’s probable brain injury, which had been caused by a gunshot wound he’d received back
when he’d rescued Hank. Love told Jack he was still unsure if his psych issues were the result of
that physical injury or due to a lifetime of being subjected to repeated childhood abuse and
psychiatric trauma. Jack still wouldn’t admit he had been traumatized by his life experiences. He
did feel as if he had his emotions under much better control these days, though…except for the
tremendous guilt he still maintained for the deaths of his loved ones.
Jack stood and brushed the grass clippings from his knees. “If you see Lori, tell her I said
hello.” He started to walk away, stopping suddenly and twisting back. “I know you don’t know
her but…the same goes for Janice…and her and my baby.”

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About Angie

I'm a wife and a a mom of 4: 3 boys and a girl. I also have 3 fur babies, cats named Soleil, Luna, and a Savannah cat name Malkia. I work part-time outside my home as a COTA/L at a local hospital. I cover Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh areas. I love to do reviews and host giveaways for my readers. Contact me: angwith4 at gmail dot com if you would like a review.

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Comments

  1. This cover is intriguing

  2. beth shepherd says

    I really like the cover. It def draws me in. Thank you

  3. Sandy Klocinski says

    The covers are awesome! Definitely got my attention.

  4. I love a good suspense novel. Thanks for the chance!

  5. Michelle H. says

    I think the covers are compelling.

  6. I am loving these covers and ALL the suspense!

  7. Stephanie Liske says

    she looks like a scientist.

  8. I love the medical pieces on the book covers!!!

  9. Danielle Day says

    I like it. Looks nice.

  10. I like the book cover and the story sounds very interesting!

  11. Barbara Fox says

    It’s a pretty cover considering it’s for a mystery!

  12. Leah Shumack says

    These have some good covers!

  13. Ohhh, this looks good. I don’t get a lot of time to read but I bet I would find time for this. It looks like you spent a lot of time on this. Very interesting.

  14. The books sound intense and the covers are eye catching and progressively scarier looking as the series continues.