The Mudslinger Sanction [James Foster Adventures Book 2]
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by Gerald W. Mills
Description: When Dr. Gordon Whittier is kidnapped for bait, Jim sets out to rescue him against all odds. His powers are pitted against ruthless murderers, a brilliant computer hacker, the FBI's best, and the clock in a race to save Whittier's life. All he has to work with is a trail of clues and his talents, but to succeed he must learn to use his force against theirs.
eBook Publisher: Twilight Times Books, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: May 2006
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [665 KB]
Reading time: 444-621 min.
"When a reader gets wrapped up in a story, it's with the understanding that, in the end, the author will deliver. That the reader's faith will prove warranted. With Gerry Mills, this is certainly the case. I was happily whisked away for several hours into a world that comes from the author's imagination. And when the read was done, I was quite pleased with the outcome. There's more to a book than plot alone. There are characters you genuinely care about, readily distinguishable from each other and equally interesting. Characters at odds, with the reader able to understand and even sympathize with all sides. There are places to be brought 'to life' through description. There's wit, humor, plenty of subplots, language, a dozen other things that all need to be there. In the case of The Mudslinger Sanction, they are. The characterization is especially strong, given the large number of characters we meet. I feel like I know everybody in here. This is as close to real life as fiction gets. Go get it. FIVE STARS out of five!"--Michael LaRocca, author of The Chronicles of a Madman
"Gerald W. Mills again shows his mastery of technologies of all sorts: computer, helicopter, oil refining; his knowledge of geography, geology, weather patterns, medicine, the vagaries of the law, and the power of the press, not to mention his command of English, his wit, and his breakneck storytelling. Did I mention his ability to paint characters we come to know better than our own family?"--Dr. Florence B. Weinberg, author of The Storks of La Caridad
"Hang onto your hats!! Author Gerald W. Mills will take you soaring with Jim Foster in this thriller as he sets out to rescue an old friend who is being held hostage. Jim's special talents will be desperately needed as he and Tricia track the kidnappers. The Mudslinger Sanction is a fast-paced, action-packed tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat as it unfolds with the world as its stage. Danger lurks on every page. The second in a series, Mr. Mills has created a set of characters that will keep you reading as they set themselves against the odds in this adventure into the unknown. Hunted, Jim becomes the hunter.
A modern thriller guaranteed to satisfy any reader with its intrigue and treachery, this tale comes highly recommended by this reviewer. Read and enjoy."--Anne K. Edwards, author of Death on Delivery, eBook Reviews Weekly
"The first time I jumped off this cliff I might have been all of four years old. And see that little ledge, Sweetheart, way down the rock face over there? That's where the wind put me down."
Luis Amaru, a.k.a. James Foster, speaking matter-of-factly as if a tour guide, pointed at a miniscule ledge perhaps two hundred feet below them, jutting out from sheer rock walls twice a football field distant across the yawning abyss. A split in the rock face behind the tiny shelf led through the otherwise-unbroken rock to open mountainside.
A solitary guanaco, looking like a ceramic miniature, had picked its way through the narrow crevice and was grazing on the grassy overhang. Tricia shaded her eyes against the last rays of the setting sun. A lingering spear of amber, stabbing its way through silver-lined clouds above the Andes, splashed color on the drab rock face, minting the miniature shelf and llama-like animal all gold. The expanse beneath had already filled with filmy shadows, a dusky netherworld with no distinct bottom.
Inches from their toes, a sheer wall of rock stretched nearly four thousand feet straight down to the broken jumble at the bottom. Bones and garbage lay strewn unseen among the rubble there, thrown off the cliff over the centuries and as recently as the previous day.
"You... jumped off this? Just jumped? Like in 'jump'?"
He grinned. "Yep, maybe a few dozen times. I'd stand barefooted just about here... none of us had shoes... with my toes curled over the edge." He teetered.
She grabbed the back of his safari shirt. "Careful, Jim!"
He laughed. "Nervous?"
"Yes I'm nervous, you rat. You know how hard it is for me to adjust to what James Foster can do. I can't just erase a lifetime of... well, it's just not that automatic."
"And I'd look up there at those condors flying over the mountains," he continued, pointing at the dozens of tiny black specks soaring in endless circles. "If there were lots of them I knew the wind would come. It was my sign. I'd close my eyes and wait for it, and when it roared up the rock walls right in front of me here, close enough to reach out and touch, I just stepped off and it carried me."
"And of course it always came." She squinted at the birds, miniscule dots against the darkening clouds.
"Must have. I'm still here, but I didn't know that part. I was just a runt-of-a-kid called Luis. I never knew how it happened or that I was involved in the process, only that it happened."
"But there had to be a first time on a smaller scale. You had to jump off a roof or a boulder... something."
"If I did I don't remember. One day I just did it, right from here. And I landed over there on that shelf. I had this weird feeling dozens of crooked sticks were all lashed tight around me like a woman's girdle, just my feet and head sticking out. I was spinning around in slow motion, just above the grass over there. Had to stretch my toes down just to land. The whole thing felt like a living nightmare, and of course I was scared out of my wits the whole way, but you know what? Soon as my feet were down I wanted to do it again, like riding a roller coaster the first time. I got out to the other side through that split in the rock, climbed all the way back up here and jumped off a second time. The same thing happened, but the girdle feeling never returned."
"You flew from here all the way over to that shelf. And nobody saw you?"
"Rode the wind," he corrected. "The other kids eventually saw me do it, and they told everyone else, but we were all gutter scum and nobody believed us. Adults mostly avoided the cliff. We sometimes got scraps of food as rewards for hauling stuff over here and throwing it off. We were Cuzco's garbage rats. And we saw people get thrown off the cliff alive, too, thieves mostly. You could count up to twenty before they splattered on the rocks. The vultures and big cats worked fast. Two hours later, if you were down there looking for the bodies, you'd never know they'd been people at all. Just a few little bone fragments and maybe some hair."
"Yuck! No adults ever saw you do this?"
"The only one who ever did gave me this...." He reached into his shirt and pulled out the carved stone amulet he wore around his neck.
"That shaman's charm?"
"He was the most powerful shaman around here and he'd heard the stories. He figured I had some sort of power and wanted it for himself. If I'd stayed here I don't know what would have happened. Maybe he'd have thrown me off the cliff, too, when he found out he couldn't even do it off a boulder. For sure he'd have tried it on a smaller scale. This stone was to be my reward for telling him my secret, but the very next day they hauled me off to Lima and put me on that plane to Boston, with this woman I'd never seen before, and you know the rest. I always wore his charm after that, until...."
Tricia inched up to the lip, holding him for support, and looked straight down. Even though she was a seasoned skydiver with over two thousand jumps behind her, the sight made her insides crawl. The basalt was smooth as far down as she could see, the farthest reach of the precipice blending into green mountainside at least a mile away. Through the gap where cliffs gave way to open space there was still enough light to see distant fields and terraces farther down, farmed by the Quechua. Beyond, if one continued, there were jungle valleys and even rain forests.
Copyright © 2002 Gerald W. Mills.