Desperate to move his stalled agenda, the liberal US president agrees to a summit with top congressional conservatives in a swank resort retreat in northern New Mexico. But the confab quickly morphs into a national crisis when the president is kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. Having secreted into the country across the US-Mexico border, the terrorists hide in northern New Mexico, aided by an angry young Hispanic who recently converted to Islam.
Along with select members of the US press, reporter Kyle Dawson of the Washington Herald, a former resident of northern New Mexico, covers this delicate political performance with a jaundiced eye. Dawson has an edge, however, and uses his contacts and familiarity of the region to dig into how the kidnapping happened and who’s behind the madness.
Step-by-step with Dawson is Raoul Garcia, his cousin and an ex-Special Forces commando who’s highly capable of taking the desperate measures needed to dispatch the assailants and free the president. Garcia has an insider’s edge since he works with the private company providing security for the president and the event. The crisis deepens when they learn the terrorists possess a tactical nuclear weapon they’ve secured from a Los Alamos scientist who they’re holding hostage. As Dawson digs deep into the origins of the crisis, he finds a conspiracy of terrifying proportions being carried out by individuals who consider themselves above the law and who are bent on subverting the foundations of the country for their own distorted political ends.
From The Book:
José stared, his eyes wide with fear. His left hand extended, José’s right hand hovered above his holstered pistol.
“Don’t!” Tariq growled with a shake of his head.
José’s hand quivered an inch above the grip, his breath short.
Tariq jammed the gun barrel against José’s chest.
José slowly raised his right hand. “Don’t … kill … me,” he said in his halting English. “I beg of you. I have a family.” José glanced anxiously to the dark sky as the helicopter thudded closer, its bright spotlight sweeping the ground with stark white light.
Tariq squinted as the chopper moved closer, like an airborne demon thundering through the night.
Tariq caught movement in the corner of his eye as José grabbed for the pistol at his side. Tariq reflexively pumped two rounds into José’s chest, the crack-crack of the shots muffled by sounds of the approaching Black Hawk.
The chopper arched upwards, the spotlight having found its prey, then turned in a tight circle and hovered for a moment over Tariq and his men, floating and churning the air with dust and grit. The chopper’s spotlight cast a cone of intense white light on the men cowering beneath trees and bushes, their heads down and covered with camouflaged hoodies.
Dust swirled as Fernando, the second Mexican coyote, crawled on his hands and knees to the dying José. He stopped and looked in horror at José’s bloody chest. He raised one hand in surrender, and using the other to shade his eyes from the bright spotlight, squinted and blinked in the swirling air.
Tariq pointed the Beretta at Fernando and shouted, “How far away to the pickup point?”
Fernando gestured to the distance, waving and pointing. “No lejo. Not far! Alla! Alla! There! There! Por favor, señor. Please,” he said, begging Tariq not to kill him.
Tariq fired. Fernando’s head snapped backwards, his body twisting and falling to the dirt.
At the sound of the gunshots, the Black Hawk lifted and turned sharply away. After retreating about one hundred yards, it swiveled back toward them, hovering at a safer distance and angling the spotlight again at Tariq and his men.
Tariq ducked behind a bush, and sinking a hand inside his backpack, extracted his AK-47 pistol. His back to the light, he fished a banana clip from his pack and snapped it tight into the weapon. Shading his eyes with one hand, he shouted for his men to grab their weapons. The chopper again floated toward them as the spotlight washed the ground.
Tariq caught movement as five or six Border Patrol agents emerged from the shadows, weapons drawn.
“Alto! Alto! Manos arriba!” the first agent shouted.
“Stop. Put your hands up,” another shouted.
Tariq wheeled, and holding his AK-47 at his side, shouted to the others in Arabic. “Kill them!”
Shots erupted, Tariq’s men firing and killing three of the green-clad agents. The remaining agents returned fire, sending one of Tariq’s men to the ground, clutching his chest.