printed copy

The Blood Of Patriots

J.A. Johnstone, William W. Johnstone

ISBN 9780786028085
Publish Date 4/3/2012
Format Paperback
Categories Western, Pinnacle

The acclaimed authors of Home Invasion and Border War unload the explosive story of the deadliest conspiracy against the US in American history—and in our very own back yard…

God—Their God

NYPD detective John Ward is all for religious freedom, but when he tries to bust a street vendor peddling phony Rolexes, he’s suspended from the force—the latest casualty of political correctness. He decides to leaves the city and visit his ex-wife and daughter in Colorado. When he arrives in the peaceful town of Basalt, he makes a shocking discovery: certain foreigners are taking over, buying up buildings, purchasing land, setting up training camps and planning…what?

With Liberty And Justice For None

Like an army, they’ve descended on the town. They’ve set up their homes like military barracks, forcing their way of life on the community and bending our laws against us. Ward doesn’t like the looks of it. And the deeper he digs, the closer he gets to the truth: The enemy is here, on American soil. And if we don’t stand and fight—like our nation’s forefathers—we can kiss freedom goodbye.

Prologue

Detective John Ward learned a life-changing lesson during his lunch break.

The thirty-eight-year-old had spent the last three hours in Manhattan Federal Court testifying in the matter of the People v. Alexander Cherkassov. Questioned by the district attorney, Ward had told a visibly uneasy jury how Cherkassov was flagged by Homeland Security for overstaying his welcome. Russian “visa jumpers” concerned HS because of whispers that the Moscow Mafia was trying to smuggle plutonium to Somalis living legally in the city. What they planned to do with it did not require a physicist to figure out, just to assemble: hold it while they gathered the components for a bomb. The NYPD was alerted and Cherkassov was watched by an undercover team with the Organized Crime Control Bureau under the command of Detective Ward. Though the Russian turned out not to be an intermediary with the Al Shabaab terror organization, he was selling guns. Ward explained to the jury how a PSM handgun had been folded inside a copy of the newspaper Oknó and handed over in an alley off Pike Street, in exchange for an envelope stuffed with twenty one-hundred-dollar bills. It was a solid bust, everything photographed, no gaps. The crime lab even found a microscopic shred of Cherkassov’s tobacco in the newspaper, as a police chemist would explain.

However open-and-shut a case might be, testifying was like high-stakes poker. Ward was aware that a wrong word could cause a mistrial and undo a year or more of surveillance, infiltration, and evidence gathering. Most important, as the DA had reminded him, he had to project an almost supernatural calm to pacify jurors who were afraid of being fingered by thugs in the gallery and blown up as they started their minivans in the courthouse parking lot. Not to mention that if Ward screwed up, the prick would be back on the streets dealing more death.

Nothing would go wrong, he thought as the judge declared a one-hour lunch break. Cherkassov would get twenty years, ten if he spilled on his connections, five if he behaved himself once he was inside.

Ward left the witness stand and made his way quickly through the crowded courtroom. He did not want to look at scowling Russian faces or eager journalists. He wanted to touch the pavement and smell the pretzel vendor’s cart and just enjoy the dirty, dangerous world that was a second skin. Ward grew up in Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side when it was still a sewer, before it became gentrified in the 1990s, when nearby Forty-second Street where his father walked a beat for thirty-five years was a haven for whores and junkies, porn parlors, and burlesque houses. Streets dark with night and illegal commerce fit Ward like soft old jeans. Of course, most of the streets here in Lower Manhattan were like the new Forty-second Street, clean bordering on sterile. Maybe that was why his parents moved to Florida. Pooper-scooper laws, blowing newspapers replaced by neat iPhones and Kindles, chain restaurants and mall stores taking the place of greasy spoon diners, basement dives, and movie theaters that stank of pot. The streets of New York had lost a lot of their flavor, unless one knew where to look. Like down here on Greenwich and Washington streets, thick with Nigerians who hauled around big cardboard boxes filled with handbags made in New Jersey sweatshops that were sold to tourists as authentic Gucci, Hermès, and Ralph Lauren. They were grimy hucksters who only paused when a spotter saw a cop car coming, or when they dragged out their prayer mats to pray to Mecca at least five times a day.

Goddamn hypocrites, Ward thought as he neared the onetime Custom House, a stately Beaux-Arts edifice that was now an Indian museum.

Walking down Nassau Street in his brown Brooks Brothers suit, Ward stood out from the sharp Wall Streeters who were buying lunch-on-the-run from hot dog or falafel stands and stopping every few steps to text something. Ward stood a head taller than most, a sliver under six feet, three inches, and was a few shades paler due to his night and indoor stakeouts. He was also less hyper, and that had nothing to do with the delicate sensibilities of the jurors. Ward had learned long ago that his own anxiety made criminals alert. If an undercover cop seemed hair-trigger while walking a mutt that was actually a police dog or holding the arm of a galpal who was the very married Lieutenant Didi Stone, the bad guys would know it.

Here in the canyons of Lower Manhattan, Ward was never unaware of something else: the shadows he didn’t see, the long shapes of what had been the World Trade Center. He did not detour two blocks west to visit the site. There wasn’t time to say the proper prayers amid the new construction, and he couldn’t afford to let himself become upset.

Ward wasn’t hungry, but he was dry from all the talk. He bought a large bottle of water from a cart and walked south into Battery Park. The salt air of the harbor pushed back the smell of delivery-truck diesel fuel that hung in the crooked downtown streets. He had just enough time for a circuit of the Sphere, the large metal sculpture that once stood in the courtyard of the World Trade Center. Dug from the rubble battered and torn, it had been moved to the park as the hub for an eternal flame. It was a survivor. That was what he wanted to see right now.

The voice eased into his ear, like one of the old- time hookers.

“Nice Rolex, cheap.”

Ward turned to his left. Just south of the Sphere one of those damned peddlers was selling bogus watches from a briefcase. He held the imitation leather case open in his extended arms, eyes darting from side to side like little machines as he watched for the law. A thin, frayed prayer mat was folded in quarters beneath the suitcase.

Ignore it, Johnny, his own little voice told him. He ignored the voice instead and turned toward the slightly hunched black man.

“Rolex, Rolex.”

Ward took a swallow of water and stopped in front of the Nigerian. The gaunt man’s dark, sunken eyes held him coldly, his mouth expressionless. Even by con-man standards this guy was as cheap an imitation as what he was selling.

“Nice Rolex, mister, never worn—”

The Nigerian’s personal attention was like a dog wetting his leg.

“Where’s your vendor’s license?” the detective asked.

The man didn’t miss a beat. “I forget, leave home,” he replied in clipped English. He was already in motion toward the west, along the narrow rectangular plot on which the Sphere was erected. Ward finished his water, tossed the bottle in the trash as he watched him go. The valise was still open, the man still hawking. The Nigerian stopped as a couple of plump middle-aged tourists looked at the watches.

Ward didn’t have time for this. Lunch was only an hour. He looked around for a cop or park ranger, didn’t see one. He stared at the huckster who was standing in front of the eternal flame.

“Aw, hell,” Ward thought.

Ward was moving toward them even before the words had died in his brain. The vendor saw him with those restless eyes but ignored him. The beefy male tourist was turning one of the watches over in his hand and nodding. The thrust of his lower lip suggested approval.

“It’s a fake,” Ward said. He snatched the watch from the startled tourist, dropped it in the case and slapped the lid shut. The vendor attempted to open it again and continue the negotiation. Ward grabbed his shoulders in order to keep him from sliding off. The tourists left quickly.

“Get out of here.”

“You get out,” the man replied, shrugging off Ward’s grip.

“That’s funny,” Ward said, his eyes on the Nigerian. Four weeks of sensitivity training flew right from his head. “This is my land. Is it yours?”

“I live here too.”

“Legally?”

The man didn’t answer. He lowered the briefcase to his side and slid the prayer mat under his left arm. The Nigerian’s blank stare had been replaced by defiance. “Who is asking?”

Ward pulled open the lapel of his sports jacket and displayed the shield hanging from his pocket. “Detective John Ward.”

“Detective John Ward, you have not the right—”

“Great, great, your handler taught you the profiling mantra,” Ward said. “I’m not impressed. I do have the right to question unlicensed vendors—” The man suddenly stepped back. He put down his case and pointed at Ward with a stiff right arm. “Don’t touch again!”

Ward stared at him. Something boiled in the pit of his belly.

“He touch me!” the vendor charged. “He grab me!”

“Yes, I saw it,” said a British accent from behind.

Ward turned. The tourists who had been looking at the watch had returned with a pair of cops: a young African-American woman and an Asian man. They were First Precinct rookies assigned the uncomplicated task of giving tourists directions to the Statue of Liberty ferry and the World Trade Center site. Ward’s sixth sense told him that she was a bleeding heart lesbian who hoped to be transferred to the Sixth Precinct, Greenwich Village, after a year while he was a kid from Chinatown who wanted to get back up to the Fifth Precinct to make the hometown safe from gang warfare. Some old- timers said cynically that the NYPD had two priorities: terrorism and diversity, in alphabetical order. Ward knew at a glance that these two were going to treat the illegal with kid gloves.

“Sir, please take two steps back,” the policewoman ordered Ward.

“I’m a cop,” Ward said. He didn’t reach for his lapel; the plebes might shoot him. The Asian’s thin hand was already on the snap of his holster.

Two sets of fresh-from-the-academy “ACLUblue” eyes registered disapproval.

“I need you to take two steps back,” the policewoman repeated.

She had shifted to the “I need you” phase. They trained cops to use that for emphasis. It was designed to show they were no longer dealing with just a law but a personal command. You slipped that in your verbal arsenal to show you meant business.

Ward clapped his lips shut so he didn’t say what he felt. He simply did as she asked. The policewoman stopped a few paces in front of Ward. The Asian cop scuttled with studied casualness to the side. It was by-the-book, a thin blue triangle. If he made a move they had him covered.

“Did you assault this individual?” the policewoman asked.

“I did not,” Ward replied. He nodded at the tourists and went into his own mantra. “I feared for the safety of these two.”

“That isn’t so!” the Brit insisted. “We were perfectly fine. He came over and shook this fellow without any provocation.”

“I did not shake him,” Ward said.

The policewoman’s eyes were heavy with disapproval. “Sir, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Her eyes slid slowly from Ward to the vendor. “Sir, do you wish to press charges?”

The man glared at Ward. His head was framed by the Sphere. With its sharp angles and torn, golden panels lit by the sun, the monument looked like the headdress of some vengeful African god. “Yes,” the son-of-a-bitch replied. Then he covered his eyes with his hands and recited, as though seeking to heal his wounded flesh and soul, “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored. . . .”

And in that sick, heart-sinking moment Detective John Ward knew two awful things. First, that his career in law enforcement was on life support. And second, that Alexander Cherkassov would be a free man.

About J.A. Johnstone:

Being the all around assistant, typist, researcher, and fact checker to one of the most popular western authors of all time, J.A. Johnstone learned from the master, Uncle William W. Johnstone.

Bill, as he preferred to be called, began tutoring J.A. at an early age. After-school hours were often spent retyping manuscripts or researching his massive American Western History library as well as the more modern wars and conflicts. J.A. worked hard—and learned.

“Every day with Bill was an adventure story in itself. Bill taught me all he could about the art of storytelling and creating believable characters. ‘Keep the historical facts accurate,’ he would say. ‘Remember the readers, and as your grandfather once told me, I am telling you now: be the best J.A. Johnstone you can be.’”


About William W. Johnstone:

Just to give you a brief rundown on who William W. Johnstone is, here are the basic facts. He was born in Southern Missouri, the youngest of four kids. His father was a minister and his mother was a schoolteacher.

He quit school when he was fifteen and joined a carnival after getting kicked out of the FFL (for being underage), but he went back and finished high school in 1957. After that he worked as a deputy sheriff, did a hitch in the army, came back and went into radio broadcasting, where he worked for sixteen years.

Johnstone started writing in 1970, but he didn't get published until late 1979. He has written almost a hundred books including the best-selling Ashes series and the Mountain Man series. He began writing full-time in the early 1980s and hasn't stopped since. His first published book was THE DEVIL'S KISS and his favorite, so far, is THE LAST OF THE DOG TEAM.


Ashes
Blood Bond
Code Name
Dog Team
Eagles
Family Jensen
First Mountain Man
Last Gunfighter
Last Mountain Man
Loner
Luke Jensen, Bounty Hunter
MacCallister
Matt Jensen
Phoenix Rising
Savage Texas
Sidewinders
Town Called Fury
Trail West


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