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About Dustin Stevens
He also writes thrillers and assorted other stories under the pseudonym T.R. Kohler.
A member of the Mystery Writers of America and Thriller Writers International, he resides in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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“Those guys might have been brutal, but they built this place from the ground up by implementing a code. Rules for the rest of us to follow.”
Retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Detective Solomon Hill hasn’t heard the name in years. A man he hasn’t thought about since sending him away more than two decades prior for attempted murder. One of the biggest arrests of his entire career, a person the world is better off without.
Or so it was for the last twenty-one years in the time prior to his sudden inclusion on a list of governor’s pardons. A free pass undoing all that occurred, releasing a man with a short fuse and a long list of people he holds responsible for what happened.
People that Hill still feels responsible for, even if his current physical condition will no longer allow him to make good on it.
Low on time and options, Hill does the only thing he can think of, calling in an old marker—a favor owed from his early days on the force, extended from one of the last vestiges of the original Las Vegas. Someone accustomed to handling issues in a way Hill isn’t accustomed to.
Three hundred miles to the south, Ham muddles her way through the final months of a slow winter. Endless hours spent training for an unknown opponent, each day without the phone ringing heightening her desire for action. The need to be moving again, unable to feel fully alive without the adrenaline of the job after years spent relegated to the sidelines.
A craving that sends her hurtling up out of the desert the instant she hears what happened in Las Vegas...
Right into a head-on collision with a deadly opponent.
“I take it you’ve been looking for me?” I open.
The man’s hands curl upward into fists. His eyes flick to the side and back. A reflexive movement that answers my question without him saying a word.
“Not you,” he adds, betraying the slightest hint of an accent.
Adrenaline seeps into my system. The taste of copper finds my tongue as anticipation builds.
Each moment propels Kyle Clady further in the search for the people and motives behind the senseless murder of his wife. A journey that forced the paths of those involved to converge, the precious closure he’s seeking rounding into view.
In the desert beyond the edge of greater San Diego, Kyle and his friends stare down at the man identified by his vest as Byrdie—someone with information they need. Someone Kyle encountered a couple of times in recent weeks, this time promising to be the last.
Unbeknownst to any of them, fifteen miles away, the wreckage of a mobile home lies smoldering—the final remains of the Wolves organization Byrdie rides for. A heinous act carried out in the dead of night.
In the opposite direction, Detective Malcolm Marsh watches over his partner, praying the man’s improving status will translate into a full recovery. A rare bit of good news as he sifts through the growing number of crime scenes and fends off increasing pressure from the brass downtown.
Along the coast, Elsa Teller puts the last few details into place, final acts to fully insulate herself and her employer from blowback on a scheme far wider than ever imagined.
A scheme fast coming to a close, the only remaining question being, what form will it take?
As a DEA agent, Jeremiah “Hawk” Tate was one of the best at taking down drug traffickers. Then the cartels struck back—and destroyed everything he held dear.
Five years later, Hawk has retreated from society and is living a quiet life as a Montana wilderness guide. He’s done with the DEA, done with the criminals, and done with the pain left over from his past. But his past isn’t done with him.
When a mysterious woman offers him an enormous amount of money to find her lost brother, Hawk knows he should walk away, but, with a flash of gunfire, he gets pulled back in. Surrounded by old enemies and allies, he must face off with a new player planning to flood the market with a lethal drug. This may be the chance for revenge Hawk never thought he’d get.
Revised edition: Previously published as Krokodil, this edition of Cold Fire includes editorial revisions.
Not yet knowing what, or even who, it was that Pawlak saw, Diaz is forced to call in a favor to Hawk Tate, a man whose story had always served as a cautionary tale in the Administration. Six months before he had emerged from the shadows for the first time in half a decade, managing to simultaneously right a long dormant wrong and confirm that every story ever whispered about him was true.
If anybody can keep the girl tucked away and safe long enough for the DEA to investigate, it has to be him.
Standing opposite though is a conglomerate spanning from California to Ecuador, their interest aimed at eliminating Pawlak and protecting the empire they have worked so long to build, the breadth of it encompassing most of the greater Los Angeles area. Employing a network of aliases and informants, soldiers and spies, they aim their concentrated energies on finding the unlikely duo as they attempt to stay hidden.
Detective Reed Mattox, just three months removed from the death of his partner, has turned invisibility into an art form.
Switching to the K-9, taking over the graveyard shift, moving to a farmhouse miles outside of Columbus, his every move has become predicated on putting as much distance between himself and the outside world as possible.
That distance is shattered though when bodies begin turning up in The Bottoms, the poverty-stricken section of town he is assigned to patrol. Grisly, horrific scenes start to pop up in the middle of the night and the overburdened precinct has no choice but to put Reed on it.
Now operating far outside of his comfort zone with a Belgian Malinois for a partner that attracts attention wherever they go, Reed is forced to unravel the murders, taking him clear across the city and back years in time, to an event that some very influential people will do anything to keep buried...
Three years ago, Ham retired to a quiet life in the remote desert of Northern Mexico.
Realizing what she was doing would likely end in her death, she severed all ties, disappearing across international borders.
Her retirement ended abruptly with a single message. The sole person in the world Ham feels the least bit of loyalty to is in trouble, in need not only of Ham but of the very skills that put her into hiding.
Acting against every ingrained maxim, and ignoring the myriad warning signs popping up along the way, Ham returns north to find a great deal has changed in her time away. The world moved on, evolving in ways she would have never imagined. From local gang affiliates to the Los Angeles Police Department, everybody seems to be involved in something, all of it somehow leading back to a woman.
A woman relying entirely on Ham to get her through…
“I know you and I have been through some things,” Reed whispered. “Some crazy, crazy stuff. But we have never - and will never - work a case as important as this one.”
Eighteen months ago, Detective Reed Mattox didn’t just lose his partner, the woman he met on his first day at the police academy and worked with for the entirety of his career thereafter. He lost his confidante. His sounding board. His support system.
His best friend.
Victim to a senseless shooting during a routine traffic stop, the details of that night are still as elusive to Reed as they were more than a year before. Months of scouring every detail, poring through every resource, have revealed nothing, heightening the guilt he still carries for being more than two thousand miles away at the time.
When the phone rings late one evening, Reed hopes it is the brass within the Columbus Police Department calling to let him know he and his new K-9 partner Billie have been reinstated. That the administrative leave they were placed on in the wake of their last major case has been lifted, freeing them from the personal Hell they’ve been stuck in for the last couple of months.
What he hears instead is something much bigger, cleaving straight to his core, and perhaps finally allowing them to close a case nearly a year and a half in the making…
On the second story of a low-rent apartment complex, two women are found murdered, the scene awash with blood.
One, a young nun from the local school, seems to have had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other, a local celebrity for all the wrong reasons, someone that was recently ousted from public office and is trying desperately to claw her way back into the spotlight.
Called in to investigate are two people that could not be more different, in their approach or in the organizations they represent. To one side is Detective Reed Mattox and his K-9 partner Billie, a duo that call the place where the crime took place home and are fast building a reputation for tackling the toughest cases in the city. Opposite them, Sydney Rye and her own canine sidekick, Blue, a duo representing a government agency that few have heard about, their style one that operates free from the sphere of public opinion.
The only thing they have in common? A deep-rooted desire to see justice served, no matter what form it eventually takes…
On an isolated stretch of desert highway, Josh Reston is pulled over in the dead of night.
By all accounts, he is a quiet, unassuming young man from the woods of Western Pennsylvania with a busted taillight. Until the arresting officer discovers more than a hundred pounds of cocaine and ten thousand dollars in cash stowed in the undercarriage of his vehicle.
Brought to jail in the middle of the night, he offers to share everything he knows about the man he works for, Edgar Santos, and the operation Santos runs in exchange for the guaranteed safety of his family back home.
Less than two months on the job, the offer reeks of everything Assistant District Attorney Dina Chadwick despises about the legal system. No part of her even wants to consider it, a feeling outweighed only by the intrigue of finally getting something concrete on Santos.
Unsure how to proceed, if the claims Reston is making are even true, she decides to step outside the traditional order. Beginning with a simple phone call, she has no idea the person who ultimately answers will be Ham, a woman just recently released from self-imposed exile and aching to get back to doing what she does best.
And with more than ample reasons of her own to get Even…
Fielding the call for help is local sheriff Rake Ferris, a man so ingrained in the small community that he knows every person by their first name, takes every offense under his watch as a personal slight. Compounding the effect for him is a personal connection to the young doctor, forcing him to accept that the storm prevents any outside help from arriving and that the only aid he could possibly enlist comes in the form of Hawk Tate, the former DEA agent in town that has been the subject of widespread speculation since his arrival some years before.
Both men acting against their better judgment, Ferris and Hawk form an uneasy alliance, digging into the abduction to find a plot that runs much deeper than a simple kidnapping. Fighting against time, the elements, and even each other, they begin a chase that leads them through the booming eastern Montana oil fields, the blossoming drug trade that has taken hold there, and ultimately the power players behind all of it.
Seven dead Wolves. A detective fighting for his life. A host of associated players all fighting to make sense of what happened and how they can move forward.
Kyle Clady, continually pushing forward, knowing there is no way he can possibly stop. Not now. Not with the answers he so desperately needs just starting to round into view.
In the wake of the battle at the Valley View Inn and Suites, everybody in the greater San Diego area is reeling. Detective Marsh retreated to the Parkside Hospital to sit vigil over his partner, praying the young man will pull through. The scattered members of the Wolves gathered in secret, attempting to patch together what remains of their once-proud organization. Hired gun Sven rises with the sun to pack up his van and relocate, sensing the end is near and he will need to be far away when it comes.
Moving in concert with them all is Kyle, a man accustomed to battle. He’s seen more skirmishes, like the one the night before, than most people can fathom. Knows the effect they have on the mind and body. The best ways to stave off the lingering effects they can produce, working to get ahead while the opportunity presents itself.
An opportunity so long in coming, he is not about to let food, sleep, or physical discomfort keep him from it…
“Kyle Clady, you are under-”
The rest of his sentence never makes it out.
Or rather, if it does, I never hear it, the words drowned out by what I mistakenly thought was thunder.
On the south end of town, Detective Malcolm Marsh is called to a crime scene in the middle of the night. A quaint home on a bucolic neighborhood street, no part of him anticipates the macabre sight he’ll find...or the identity of the half-dozen victims it holds.
Along the coast, Sven sits in the sand. Staring out over the ocean, he uses the calming influence of the sea to steel his nerves as he grabs a pair of forceps and painfully removes the metal projectile scraping against his ribs and protruding from his flesh. A remnant of the very same incident Marsh is now investigating.
In Mira Mesa, Byrdie is summoned by the newly installed leader of the Wolves. An olive branch, extended to one of the longest-tenured members , even in the wake of all that recently happened. And at the center of it all, Kyle Clady, his frantic search for what happened to his wife continuing, even as the various players around him begin to converge.