Thursday, January 16, 2014

Even James Becker Needed Lots of Help on This One! Fun Mystery Thriller! Check out John Betcher's Latest!


All that remained was for the agent
 to package the biologic for maximum
 dispersal and to add the explosive –
 Chinese fireworks known as M-80s
 would work just fine.
Rodney had no idea that, as a point of law, the dollar was neither necessary, nor in and of itself, sufficient, to establish a confidential relationship between us. That required a combination of expectation and intent. I leaned forward and flattened the wrinkled dollar on my desk blotter, taking time to repair each dog-eared corner. If I agreed to listen to Rodney, and maybe to help him with his concerns, it was unlikely I would be paid for my trouble. Then again, how often does a client pop into a lawyer’s office with a “big discovery?” He had captured my interest. After fixing the bill to my satisfaction, I folded it in half and tucked it in a shirt pocket. 
“You just hired yourself a lawyer,” I said. “You’ve got your confidentiality. But all I’m agreeing to do at this point is hear you out. I can’t guarantee I can be of any help until I know more. Understand?” 
“Yeah.” 
“Good,” I said. 
“Then let’s hear all about it, starting at the beginning if you don’t mind.” Rodney slid back in the chair, his hands gripping the armrests. He cracked his neck to both sides before beginning his tale. “It was yesterday afternoon,” he said. “Sunday . . . and I was out on the John Deere checking my fields, you know . . . and all of a sudden I hear this sound. It was a kinda weird sound, you know?” 
“Not really. Can you be more specific?” I had heard a lot of weird sounds in my day. Rodney thought for a moment. “It was kinda like whoosh-thud . . . tumble, tumble, tumble,” he said. He could have stuck with “weird” if that was the best he could do.
Bear Wave
Bear Wave (Photo credits: Giphy)
 “Go on,” I said. “So I stood up and looked toward the sound.” He raised a hand to his brow and craned his neck, as though searching the horizon. “And something was knocking down my corn, like a big animal or something . . . not like a deer, more clumsy than that . . . maybe like a bear.” He looked to me for understanding. 
“A bear,” I said, nodding. It wasn’t a total impossibility that Rodney had encountered a bear in Ottawa County. There had been two or three confirmed sightings of black bear in the area over the past ten years. But his hypothesis wasn’t particularly likely either. I don’t remember anyone saying the other bears made a whoosh-thud, tumble sound. Then again, many interpretations are possible in the mind of an eyewitness . . . or in this case, ear-witness.
 “This thing, whatever it was, knocked down maybe thirty or forty feet of head-high corn stalks, in a straight line,” he continued. “I saw the last ones go down.” He clapped one flattened hand downward onto the other. “Then all was quiet,” he said, passing a benediction over the serenity in my office. He checked to make sure I was tracking. I gave him two thumbs up. “Anyway,” he went on, “this thing’s trail was pretty obvious in the corn. But not knowing what in the heck it was, I was a little . . . you know . . . reluctant to investigate.” Yeah. He was afraid it was a bear. “But I found a good size wrench in a fender box and decided to take a chance.” He made a hammering motion as he wielded the imaginary wrench. “So I got off the tractor and slipped into the corn field, nice and quiet like.” Rodney’s story-telling momentum was gaining steam as he worked his way along. This was probably a first rendition of the “big discovery” story. He would no doubt smooth out earlier scenes on future iterations. I stroked my chin as if contemplating the implications of Rodney’s tale thus far.
In truth, he hadn’t said much of consequence yet, at least as far as I was concerned.
~~~

 The largest FMD epidemic in U.S. history occurred in 1914 when diseased animals were transported to the stock yards in Chicago. Stock yards. 

Of course, we have no idea how many have tried to "create" it...







The Critical Element
Book 5: James Beck Series
John L. Betcher

If you've read the James Beck Series you already know what this latest exudes... His back-handed witty and/or facetious comments that may or may not be received well by the police officials with whom he gets involved! I enjoy them in the books--I don't know how I would accept them if I were the receiver of this wit...LOL 

James Beck has a high security clearance, higher than most of us even understand--and his wife's may be just as high... And they are both definitely higher than any local police have, much to their irritation. Intelligence for each? Different but generally, they communicate quite effectively and work so well together than it is almost like they are making love... In other words, I very much enjoy this couple...They are both loving, trustworthy, and dedicated to keeping America safe and secure. In this story, James is on the frontline, his wife in the background and he doesn't even share her name or reference her when she gets more information faster that any of the FBI specialists... Most of you will easily guess why...

Now you may quickly wonder what the opening excerpts are today--cows, a bear, and what looks like a bowling ball... Well, that's exactly right...That's what James was faced with as he began his $1 dollar discussion with Rodney Holton. (BTW, did you know that you weren't buying confidentiality with $1? I always did believe that, so we learned something from our lawyer series!)

Now Holton was a bit of a shyster and everybody knew it, but he would tell such stories, that some people would always listen... Beck did for a dollar's worth... But the story made him curious enough that he later went out to the farm to see it himself--and paid $39 more than he'd been paid! Boy, this guy is good!

Or Was...

Because Rodney wasn't far wrong in describing what he'd found on his farm as a meteorite. But when Beck saw it, he decided while it might have come out of the air, that it was probably man-made--and looked like a burnt bowling ball, maybe. Rodney had it all rigged out in his yard, even though it had not landed there and was selling views for $20/head...

Wonder how that compared to the money he lost on all the heads of cows he lost...

Confused? Everybody was! Because before long, Rodney's discovery had been stolen!

And his cattle became ill about the same time...

Soon many were concluding that the cattle had become ill from the meteorite, and it wasn't very long before the government had come, killed all his cattle and burned down his barn. That was bad enough, but it didn't seem that they were concerned about the theft of his, hopefully, very valuable prize from the sky! Now, the book doesn't say, but I can just imagine that Rodney immediately started negotiating with the loss of his cattle, his livelihood and his valuable meteorite and was soon somewhere in a very warm climate, living in luxury for the rest of his life...

In the meantime, Beck had been the only one who listened to a neighbor of Rodney. Blastus looked bad, smelled terribly and seemed a little "off" but really had PTSD from his horrible time in Vietnam and no help since then. Beck immediately realized what shape he was in and started to wade through what he was telling that he'd seen. He'd gone to the Sheriff to explain that he thought that his neighbor was selling drugs because of the activity he'd seen at off hours... But working with him, Beck soon was picking up clues that only he was using... and, in essence, he had concluded that there were two different events--possibly terrorist attacks--from two different sources. But nobody was really willing to accept what he was suggesting.

So, like Beck is prone to do, he called in his own help--Bull! And if you don't know this character, then it's worth reading at least one of the books to meet him! So with Beth and Bull's help, Beck soon had a handle on what and who was doing what. Beth was getting worried, but she continued to feed both Beck and Bull additional information even while they were separately trying to tackle what they believed was taking place--at exactly the same time. Fortunately, they got help just "in the nick of time..." LOL but it certainly made for an exciting, fascinating ending! I loved it!

Each of the books is free-standing, even though the series characters are basically the same for each book. So, this is a perfect time to discover why Betcher's series has steadily gained a following that moved this relatively new author quickly into a best-selling status... Adding an Epilogue to spotlight what had later happened to Blastus is a perfect illustration why this writer brings in more and more readers (See Below!)

If you don't like this series, I will be totally amazed... If you enjoy mystery, thrills, and humorous main characters...hey, this is an unusual group of wonderfully heart-warming characters! Highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews


When I told the receptionist I was there to meet Benny Volnscheid, she recognized the name immediately. “You mean Blastus,” she said with a smile. “He’s in the PT area right now. Just follow the signs.” She pointed me in the right direction. “And keep your ears peeled.” 
I had no idea what that meant, but took her advice concerning the signs. As I approached the doorway labeled “Physical Therapy,” I could hear the sounds of an acoustic guitar strumming and a ragged chorus of male voices belting out the chorus to Old Stewball Was a Race Horse emanating from within. I opened the door and stepped inside. On the far side of the room, adjacent to a wall of cloudy windows, a guitarist sat astride a black vinyl exercise bench, one hand banging the guitar strings, and singing for all he was worth – the obvious leader of this tone deaf glee club. A group of maybe twenty young men, mostly amputees, sat gathered around him and were obviously responsible for a majority of the racket. My eyes left the musician momentarily then darted back for a second look. He was almost unrecognizable owing to the short haircut, the clean shaven face, and the bright plaid flannel shirt. But I had no doubt, the guitarist was my formerly reeking and dissolute buddy, Benny Volnscheid. 
When Benny noticed my presence, he lifted his chin in acknowledgment, but didn’t interrupt the song. I leaned on the wall and listened, a smile glued to my face. . . . 
Oh the fairgrounds were crowded, and Stewball was thereBut the betting was heavy on the bay and the mare. And a-way up yonder, ahead of them all, Came a-prancin' and a-dancin' my noble Stewball.I bet on the grey mare, I bet on the bay. If I'd have bet on ol' Stewball, I'd be a free man today. Oh the hoot owl, she hollers, and the turtle dove moans. I'm a poor boy in trouble, and I'm a long way from home. Ol’ Stewball was a racehorse, and I wish he were mine. He never drank water, he always drank wine.

When the song was over, the singers erupted in cheers and applause for ol’ Blastus.
~~~


Amazon TOP 100 Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. Mr. Betcher has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first five are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, THE EXILED ELEMENT and THE CRITICAL ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.
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