The tension rises from the first word on the first page as you feel the heat rise in the Mexican jungle, hear the voice of hostage rescue specialist Jonathan Scorpion Grave and his partner Brian Van De Muelebreocke or Boxers or Big Guy hoping to succeed and rescue DEA agent Harry Dawkins. Dawkins is being held by a sadistic drug lord named Alejandro Azul whose methods of torture when you read the vivid descriptions and hear the cries of pain from his victims will make your skin crawl. Azul is drug lord and rescuing Harry Dawkins turns out to be dangerous and deadly both Jonathan and Boxers thought. Killing Dawkin’s captors sets off a chain of events that will send the three men on a downward spiral because at the end of the firing and when the final shots and bodies are counted they will be left behind by the pilot sent to rescue them and abandoned by their very own government except for one lone woman named Mother Hen aka Venice and a covert agent named Gail who was their only backup. But when, Gail goes to meet the pilot that left them stranded and learns the name Nicole who was giving the orders from someone called Overwatch little did Gail know that it would be Randy’s final words. After Dawkins was saved at least from the killers the three men trudge to an orphanage, La Casa de Santa Ines, where they become you might say surrogate parents for 13 orphans. These children were battered and abused and within this casa they find an arsenal of military guns and equipment that belongs to Azul. Taking everything in site and more and the children too, the three men have to convince them to trust that they would keep them safe. Hard discipline, hard lines no coddling or soft treatment they were turned into brave soldiers and hoped that in the end they would all be free. Tomas the leader of these children had a huge amount of bravado and would speak out hoping to gain the admiration of Grave and Boxers and at time he surprised them.
As the many different factions are revealed Gail finds herself in a difficult situation facing an harmed foe but before things get out of control she manages to get away but just who was this woman and who was the Doctor caring for her? Scorpion ordered a boat and Jesse and his father Davey manned it but would they get there in time to rescue everyone? With the Jungle Tigers on their back and the leader Alejandro Azul aiming for revenge little do they know that there is much worse in store for them. Having to leave the children along with Gloria in a cave when the call comes from Jonathan on their radio why does Gloria not give it to Tomas and why does she want to sabotage the mission? Whose side is she on and how does Tomas convince the other children to come with him to find Scorpion and go to America? When the real reason behind the drug cartel’s power is revealed a US Senator is behind the entire mission and his Chief of staff is funneling money into his campaign fund in an illegal manner. When Mother Hen reveals the Senator’s net worth and his Chief of Staff’s worth, which is beyond belief, the truth behind the drug cartel and the Jungle Tigers comes out but will they succeed in taking out Jonathan and the kids? With Tomas leading the way, a boat they hope to take them home, their first leg of travel is to steal a bus in order to get where they have to go and this scene with Boxers and Jonathan sets up what is going to happen next? As Tomas convinces the other children to go along with them and they find Jonathan they are far from out of the woods and the danger has just begun. Gail and Mother Hen or Venice have their own strategy and finding Hector Nunez they learn of the link to his father Raul’s companies and where his money is going. Author John Gilstrap takes readers right inside the jungle, feeling the heat, the gunfire and the explosions as lives are at stake, the danger is always there and when they finally board the boat the fun just began. As they are told that a military ship commander wants to board their boat, question the children they finally hear the helicopter they hope will save the day.
The tension mounts and the injuries pile up, as the children have to become adults in this war real fast. When Azul realizes that his men have been compromised and many are dead he comes face to face with someone he would never expect to pull the trigger not once but at least four times until he is sure that he’s dead. But, his cousin Orlando wanted revenge but this war was far from over and even when all the bodies were counted and the truth behind the conspiracy revealed one player is still out there and will seek revenge on Jonathan in the future.
The plan was set, as the children would remain the caves while Jonathan, Big Guy and Dawkins would search for a bus and then get the boat to take them to America. But, somehow Azul learned what they were up to and things spiraled out of control when Gloria took the radio from Tomas and would not allow him to answer Jonathan. But, this kid was ingenious and smart and convinced the others to leave Gloria to her own devices and they trudged to where they hoped Jonathan would be. While Gail interviewed Hector Nunez and learn the role his father played with Azul and who was being supplied they she learned the link to Senator Clark and his assistant Marlin Bills. Clark is merciless and could care less about anything except what he wanted and the money needed to fund his campaign and more. While Gail interrogated Hector Marlin’s longtime buddy Raul Nunez was his handler and knew who could get things done. Bored agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took the first but and skimmed seizes weapons off the top and dropped them off at a place where people would least likely find them namely the orphanage which is why Jonathan and his team found quite a bit of ammunition there. When it came time to sell the guns to the highest bidders, those payments were made to Raul’s company, Western Results that would then pay everyone through various other corporate entities. But, Harry Dawkins ruined it all and he realized that cases involving Alejandro Azul had lower close rates and yet he remained undistracted by the fact that overall close rates were higher than ever. Marlin learned that Raul have been turned that he was reporting back on the money-laundering operation to Dawkins who was smart enough to suspect high-level foul play and said nothing. But, now the director of the FBI was involved and from here on in things was getting heated up. When Tomas finds Jonathan and relates that Gloria broke the radio and betrayed them things changed and even Tomas was taken and emotional by what had happened so far but this was just the beginning of some tragic ends.
The final scenes are tense and the heat of the jungle unbearable as the children and the team have to forge ahead get on the bus that Jonathan managed to get in his own devious way convincing the person in charge to look the other way. When all the players are in sight and Tomas wanted to learn more about the mission and not be left out, Tomas, Angela were in danger and told to get inside and not come out. Leo the most sensitive of all of the children was injured and the boat they hope would come but would it in time? The explosion was loud and Tomas was not immune to shooting and using a gun but just what happens when he comes face to face with the man who took his family and killed and tortured them? You won’t believe the outcome and the end result is shocking, as Tomas has to make a decision what would change his life forever. Bullets fly, many are killed and injured but will Jonathan and his team save the children and bring them to America. Author John Gilstrap leaves us wondering what is next and if the people who were under the radar until will suffer the consequences and pay for their crimes. The ending lets you know there is much more in store before all is said and done. Will the Senator pay for his crimes? What will happen to the children if the come to America? Will Tomas remain with Jonathan? Powerful, dangerous, explosive as the issues of money laundering, child abuse, drugs, campaign abuse, DEA cover-ups and a cartel so dangerous that the end result will shock readers. Will Azul get what he deserves? Will his entire operation go down? What happens when Jonathan and his team go after their prey they better hide because they will surely be their FINAL TARGET!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
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