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…
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.
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
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
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
The voice eased into his ear, like one of the old-
“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.
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
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
“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
“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.”
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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
“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
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.