The Covert Element – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
‘Whether drugs or not, it was hard for me to imagine that the scene I had observed this morning could possibly portend anything but headaches and misery for the residents of Ottawa County. “But twenty-three dead…When’s the last time that sort of mass execution happened in the U.S.?” Beth stared into space. “Gotta be when that crazy Hennard guy drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby’s Café in Texas way back in – what was it – ’91? Long time ago, anyway.” “This morning’s atrocity looked like something out of Kosovo. Like an ethnic cleansing. Or like the mob sending someone a message. But we don’t have ‘the mob’ in Minnesota…just a few rag tag street and motorcycle gangs that shoot each other once in a while.” I thought for a moment. I could see Beth was trying to make some sense of all this, too. “I s’pose Hells Angels is the closest we’ve got to any organized crime syndicate,” I said. “But if it was a biker gang, the BCA should find evidence of motorcycles all over the place. I didn’t see any tracks around that house this morning. Still…you never know.” I was out of ideas. Maybe some solid police work would give me new options to consider soon. In the meantime, while ruthless killers roamed loose in or around Ottawa County, I would sleep very lightly indeed.’
James Becker, Attorney-at-law, called “Beck” for short, came back from a smoldering meth cooking lab where 23 men had been killed. Beck had been invited to go to the scene by his friend Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, also known as “Gunner.” The biggest problem was, how were 23 men talked into lying down on the ground while each one was individually shot in the head with the same gun? But that is exactly how they were found outside the lab as it burned. Beck believes there has to be more to the story but after the BCA appeared on the scene, he and Gunner are left out of the loop. So what do they do? They create their own “loop.”
After Beck is contacted by another friend Terry "Bull" Red Feather, an American Indian who served his country as an Army Ranger, he becomes convinced that this “little” meth lab is just the beginning of something even bigger. And after a conversation between Bull, Beck and Bull’s military comrade Master Sergeant Fuentes, they know that the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Cinco, is involved.
Following Beck, Bull, Gunner and Beck’s wife Beth, as they take on one of the largest cartels in existence, keeps you on the edge of your seat. And then there is Ralphael Santos who has worked his way up from the ground floor to become the head man and leader of Los Cinco. He will have you quickly turning the pages just to see what evil he will inflict on his next victim. But wait until you see who his victims really are.
I’ve read several books written by Author John L. Betcher. He has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you’re on the sidelines watching the events take place. His knowledge of the topic he is writing about educates to happenings that you only read bits and pieces of in the local papers. He brings out the full truth as to how things are toned down and released on a need to know basis only. The Covert Element is a perfect example of his great style of writing.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com