John Lansing: The Fourth Gunman
Going undercover can be your downfall as Luke Hunter would learn. Checking out the computer of Roxy Donnelly in order to learn just what she and her boyfriend Trent had in mind would be his final act. Coming into the area where he was hoping to fake lying on the bed and waiting for her, she makes a pass at him and when his back is turned he winds up with two shots to the back of his head and the killer dumps him where he/she hopes no one will ever find him.
Jack Bertolino is a retired inspector and PI whom Liz Hunter, Luke’s sister to find him dead or alive, enlists. She is an FBI agent and cannot pursue this on her own.
The Bella Fortuna is a gambling casino boat with some very dangerous high rollers who will resort to just about anything including cheating to win. Jack is able to get a huge cash flow in order to join in the game and find out more about the passengers and crew. Rusty seems to be involved with Vincent Cardona the owner of the boat high up in the mob. Caroline Boudreau handles the passengers, provides perks for the gamblers and makes sure that service is first rate. But, what is really going on behind the scenes and just what are Roxy and Trent planning as we get to know their plan as slowly divulged by author John Lansing.
Luke worked for Vincent Cardona but Luke seemed on the edge and mysterious. Claiming he stole almost a half a million dollars to enhance or change his life but was it enough to kill him? There is much more behind the murder as we unravel the plot involving Roxy’s father who’s in a nursing facility and who had a serious stroke. PTSD is serious and the army ignored his problem and provided no assistance or help so Roxy and her cohorts have devised a plan to take down the US government piece by piece starting with placing dirty bombs in several locations and even involving a ship coming from China.
Jack had several members of his group, Mateo and Cruz who surveyed the photos on Cruz’s laptop. Cruz narrated the sequence of the photos where Rusty was checking his watch, then back on board the boat, Frankie the Man checking his phone then his watch. It’s as if a time bomb was about to go off and Rusty went down to the gangplank angry. Another play on Cardona’s team, Peter Maniacci jumps out of his ride. Rusty gets in his face and the fight begins. Peter pushes both Rusty and Frankie and Frankie pulls a gun and things settle down. The rest of the pictures are even more telling as there is a leather satchel involved, receipts but for what?
Luke’s girlfriend, Miranda might supply more information when Cruz pulls up websites that Luke frequented and the number and doodles scrawled in the margins of magazines they found while Jack dives into the security tapes.
With the help of Agent Hunter Jake explains that he found several red flags that triggered further investigation as he asks for more information about Roxy Donnelly and Trent Peters plus Rusty Mannuzza who works for Cardona. But, there’s one more person who has yet to be identified and this person might be the key to how the plan will finally evolve.
Jack is resourceful and finds someone connected to the Bella Fortuna, an older man who questions him as to whether he was visiting Roxy and Trent claiming he might be interested in buying their slip and hoping he’d learn something from him.
The next scene is quite revealing and compelling as the reader joins Trent in a nuclear dump site ready to take on what needed to be done hoping he will survive. Locking up what he thinks was secure and relieved that the meter registered safe levels of radiation you won’t believe what they have planned and what the destruction will be if they succeed.
The scene that will hit readers and help you understand the gravity of the situation and the technology that the author shares is the one where Trent is dealing with robotic arms with another man named Carl who brought the electronic components to him. Explaining how to use it and describing the amount of radiation and the precautions needed, Carl left Trent to forge ahead. The man who provided a replacement level A protective suit was the most dangerous player of all Sukarno. The author then shares on pages 138-140 how each player came into this group, why and the role that both Roxy and Trent would play in order to bring the downfall and deaths of so many.
There are many others involved like the high roller poker player Barinov who used one of the servers to help him cheat until Jack found a way to control him. Doris learned the hard way not to mess with Jack.
Liz Hunter in her heart know that her brother is gone but not until the words are told and the truth comes out will she ever reconcile what really happened and who’s responsible. Jack and Mickey talked about it and realized that Luke Donato was well liked but someone wanted him out. The yacht is a winning proposition but what about the bookkeeping and what did the accountants find that sent them in Luke’s direction if he really stole the money?
Roxy’s visit to her father in the nursing facility is the first time she shows any real emotion or empathy for anyone as we learn that he fought in Desert Storm and came home with PTSD and she claims that the army was callous about his mental issues and did nothing to help him other than hand him a bag filled with pills. Drinking and unhappy he tried to take his own life and Roxy decided it was her turn to take revenge.
The author sums up what we are learning and what they are dealing with a Russian millionaire who cheats at the table and might need cash or is hurting for cash. Cardona’s men who hated Luke. Roxy’s father in a hospital with a stroke and needs someone to blame. Chris is Jack’s son and presents other viewpoints that make sense as he realizes his son might want to follow in his footsteps. Added in Rusty is taken out, the captain of the ship is killed and many other deaths before the final explosive ending occurs.
When Jack puts it all together and the bombs are placed where both Roxy and Trent place them plus Sukarno is ready for the final bang, Liz Hunter and Jack fight the clock or race time to try and bring them down. With the help of a Captain named Deak, Jack will pull off a heart stopping ending in order to try and stop what these three have already put in place. A Chinese tanker rendering her billion dollar cargo useless for fifty years and involved as it might be where the final explosion occurs before all is said and done. Cardona deals with Rusty, wants his daughter away from Jack. Roxy, Trent and Luke’s DNA matches from the sample Luke collected from the catamaran. Betrayals, lies, deceptions, disguises, the mob, revenge, retribution, evidence beyond a doubt but a final ending that will keep you breathless and holding on for dear life.
When the final reveal is made Jack is holding on by a thread or wire as he risks his life after getting hit, burned and injured to save what both Roxy and Trent started. But, when Liz catches up with Roxy you won’t believe the ultimate deception as she realizes what Trent and Sukarno had planned and where that left her.
An ending that lets you know that Jack Bertolino is relentless, impulsive, brave, tenacious and won’t stop until he solves the case and brings closure to Liz and her family. What really happened to Luke? Will anyone reveal where his body might be? What about Angelica when she realizes that her father’s release from jail was temporary?
Roxy, Trent, Sukarno and Jack: Just who is the FOURTH GUNMAN?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine