Today my guest is Mike Fuller, one of my fellow authors at Rogue Phoenix Press. Mike's doing a book tour for the release of his latest Sam Deland novel, Ground Effect.
If you leave a comment, you'll stand a chance of winning a digital copy of this novel.
Terrorists strike a deadly blow and the chase leads a Texas Ranger across the
country to the hills of Pennsylvania to join Lieutenant Sam Deland and his
troopers in a desperate search before terror hits again.
Walid’s running shoes were almost dry. The ride from Del Rio had gone well,
so far, but when he glanced to his left, he saw Ghali’s eyelids drooping. They’d
been awake for almost two days and had more than a hundred miles to go. The
propane tanks in the bed of the stake body truck jingled when they touched as
the truck passed over bumps in the road. It was early in the morning and, after
crossing the border in the night, they found the truck where their instructions
foretold it would be. Now, on the desolate highway moving east into the rising
sun, Walid squished his toes inside the shoes and felt the coolness of the Rio
Grande’s muddy remains, wishing he could get an American hamburger to fill his
In halting English Walid said, “Wake up. Do you need coffee?” The prospect of
finding anything but scrub bushes and dust in this flat near desert seemed
remote. The small town they just passed through was still waking up and the only
place to eat was crowded with vehicles and men in broad hats and coveralls
moving in and out. They had not dared to stop. The long straight road was
carrying Ghali to dreamland.
Walid rolled down the widow and let in a greater volume of cool air. It would
soon warm in the desert sun and the truck seemed to lack air conditioning. Even
the beat up cars back in Benghazi usually had working air conditioning, when
they could find petrol.
The truck hummed and jingled and Walid looked up to see the first curve in
miles just ahead. He started to look over again at the driver when the truck
drifted into the curve, but rather than follow the road to the right, it moved
over the yellow center lines.
“Bulis!” came out in Arabic from the startled Walid as he looked
straight into the front grill of a Texas state trooper car sliding to the side
to avoid smacking head on into the truck.
~ * ~
The morning sun sent a glimmer from the gold bar on Ken’s left shoulder. Sam
felt the shafts of sunlight warming the front of his trousers and pushing the
chill away. It was going to be another beautiful day and Sam snuck a glimpse
upward to the wisps of white beginning to form in the blue sky.
“Then, by the authority vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife. Ken,
you may kiss your bride.” The Chaplain smiled and closed his booklet. The small
group sighed collectively as the blue uniformed Air Force 2nd
lieutenant swept the beautiful black haired bride into his arms and found her
lips. Her white dress crinkled as she moved into him and the applause rose with
shouts of joy and congratulations filling the air.
Sam couldn’t stop the big fat tear that ran out of his right eye and rolled
into plain sight down his cheek. His nose was running too. His son was married
and he was happy and sad at the same time.
“Hey, boss, you got a hankie?” Sgt. Walter Stanislaus Ozliewski, Sr. looked
very uncomfortable in his state police uniform. Pieces of Ozzie’s 6’3”, 235
pound frame seemed ready to exit the fabric at several places. The brand new
sergeant stripes on his grey sleeve covered nicely the spot where just last week
corporal stripes were in place.
Sam reached into his dress uniform jacket and came out with two white
handkerchiefs and handed one to Ozzie, “Here, I need one too. I guess you never
get too old to cry.”
“Weddings and funerals. Every time.” Ozzie slipped his Smokey Bear hat up and
mopped his forehead too.
Second Lieutenant Ken Deland and his new wife, the former Grace Echaverria,
made their way from the wisteria covered Eisenhower Arch toward the banquet hall
of Varnum Military Academy just off the Main Line of suburban Philadelphia. The
two lines of guests wore state and local police uniforms and were mixed in with
Army and Marine dress blues. Civilians in suits and dresses joined in and
applauded the couple.
State police Lieutenant Sam Deland took off his cap and watched the couple
walk up the slight hill. He put out his arm and took the baby from Eileen and
left her the hat. He hated the thing. The hat, not the baby. The dark haired
eighteen-month old boy was asleep, for now. Sam snugged him into his shoulder
and took his wife’s hand.
“Now we can feed Ozzie. He was making noises.” Sam grinned and Eileen
Matthews Deland walked beside her husband, leaning her head into his unoccupied
shoulder. His own gleaming silver lieutenant’s bar was there above her dark
hair. She had on a dark blue silk suit with flared pants and shoes that had a
heel. Unusual for her. She wore soft leather cowgirl boots most of the time but
sacrificed for this day.
“God, she’s beautiful. Her mom too. They’re gonna make great grandbabies,”
Sam had heard that before. A little over four years ago when Ken and Grace
met. How they managed to wait until Ken graduated from the Air Force Academy was
a wonder. But they had and now they were soon off to Texas for his flight
Ozzie was just ahead walking with his whole tribe. Marie and Ozzie had six
kids and if she hadn’t lost the last one…
Grace’s mom, Katrina, was a trim, blonde forty-five year old that looked like
a movie star. She managed to slide up next to Trooper Calvin Livingston as they
moved along the sidewalk. Calvin wore one stripe on his uniform sleeve of a
Senior Trooper. Calvin was tall and trim and just one of several black faces in
the small crowd. He also was still single and very happy about that.
Katrina was too, happy and single. She met Calvin at the rehearsal dinner and
managed to keep him out much later than was good for either of them. Katrina
sold real estate in Florida and was enjoying the crisp Pennsylvania air. It was
hotter than blazes in Sarasota this first week of June.
“Later?” She said quietly as she passed Calvin. He gave her his million
dollar smile and she felt that certain tingle in just the right place.
~ * ~
Not many were left. The heaps of black and grey tailings discarded and piled
high from the now closed mines got picked over and hauled off. New technology
producing power from the bits of coal left between the rocks and dirt. “Lemme
see.” Normy Hansen reached out and tried to take the cheap binoculars from
Darrell sitting next to him atop the pile.
“Wait, she went back in,” Darrell Pickford said and lowered the field glasses
from his eyes and rubbed them with his dirty hand. “She’ll leave now.”
Normy leaned forward and pulled the round tin of “smokeless tobacco” from the
hip pocket of his jeans. The tin would be replaced with another as soon as it
was emptied and the succession of the habit had worn a lighter blue ring on the
outside of the pocket.
“Kay.” Normy was big and fat with stringy yellow hair and pimples. The stench
from the snuff only cut his sweat smell slightly and Darrell shifted a few
inches away to a kneeling position and brought the glasses up again.
Darrell could see the woman come out of the nice house in the subdivision
below them and slide into her already running BMW. Normy watched but had to
squint a bit to even see the car from the distance.
“Give it a while, then we’ll go down and see,” Darrell said.
Normy peeled off his flannel shirt. The sun was up over the hills that ringed
this part of Wilkes Barre. The roar of trucks on I-81 was echoing off the rocky
slopes and the piles of tailings in the creases between them and the six-inch
H&R .22 pistol was digging into his ample backside.
~ * ~
Ghali tried hard to keep the old truck from rolling onto its side and scatter
them and the propane tanks into the ditch. The noise of the screaming tires
mixed with the music of the bottles of explosive gas bashing into each other as
the truck rocked back onto its wheels and went across the road pointed
This was the first big thing Ghali had ever driven. A Mercedes van had been
the only other commercial sized vehicle and that was just for a short run from
Rabat into the deserts of Morocco to deliver it to the training camp. And the
Mercedes had power steering and stability control. He’d been selected for this
task because of his language abilities, not his driving skill and it almost cost
them an early defeat. But now he had the brake lights of the police car in his
rear view mirror and they would have to deal with it before the sixty-seven
pounds of Semtex was discovered in the backpacks nestled between the propane
“Get ready, the police are turning after us,” Ghali said between gasps of
air. Walid spun in the seat and tried to look out of the back window and between
the tanks. Even though the sun was coming up now he could still see the
headlights of the patrol car center up on the road and come after them. They
were supposed to drive at the speed limit and stop at all the stop signs to
avoid drawing attention to themselves. The plans for dealing with the police had
been minimal. Stay invisible. Avoid. The mission is primary, evasion and
escape secondary. Walid did not intend to martyr himself today. That was
for the dirt Arabs with nothing but angry dreams in their heads.
The big heavy wrench clipped to the inside of the driver door was meant to
twist open reluctant valves but was the only weapon they had. Ghali jerked it
free from its metal clasps and handed it across to Walid.
“They are stopping us,” Ghali said as the overhead flashers lit up. “As we
Author bio and links
After writing professional documents for many years, Mike has finally devoted
time to his true passion, writing fiction where the story and characters come
alive in the reader’s mind. While his days were filled with authoring hundreds
of detailed crime reports, arrest affidavits, search warrants and grand jury
presentments, he took some of his own time and devoured books by the dozens.
Reading not only was a rewarding diversion, it provided him with the added
education he needed to function at a high level in his profession.
This has led to the creation of Mike’s crime/suspense/detective novels
Sink Rate, Rope Break and Side Slip, the first three in the Sam Deland
Crime Novel series. All were published in 2015 and 2016 by Rogue
Mike writes with the real life experience that many years of law enforcement
shaped and influenced. The stories may be fiction but are based on how things
happen in the real world. His books are honest and captivating novels written
with a unique voice that will both chill and charm.
Mike is a veteran police detective. He did it all from rookie patrolman to
Senior Special Agent. His life has been enriched by a wonderful marriage,
parenting, work, flying, sailing and good books. Mike is a lifelong outdoorsman,
an experienced tactical firearms instructor, champion sailplane pilot and the
captain of his own sailboat. All of these skills have made his novels vivid,
exciting and real. Now retired after a career with three law enforcement
agencies, Mike enjoys winters writing in Naples, Florida and summers sailing,
writing and researching the next novel at his rural Pennsylvania home.
On facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mikefullerauthor