Haunted by the death of his best friend and hunted by the government for war crimes he didn’t commit, Finn lands on an island paradise that turns into his own personal hell in this gripping follow-up to Steel Fear and Cold Fear—from the New York Times bestselling writing team of Webb & Mann.
The setting: Puerto Rico, in the heart of hurricane season. By day, Chief Finn (no last name), the AWOL Navy SEAL with memory issues, is hiding out on Vieques, a tiny island paradise off the big island’s eastern coast, living in a spare room behind a seafood restaurant owned by a blind local. By night he scours the dark web, hunting for the rogue officer responsible for the war crimes he is accused of committing.
But Finn’s world is about to be turned upside down by a new nightmare, when his employer’s two grandchildren go missing. To find them, he’ll have to infiltrate the island’s dangerous criminal underbelly and expose a shadowy crime network known as La Empresa—even if it means risking everything in the process.
As the children go on their own harrowing odyssey to stay one step ahead of a cop-turned-killer, a hurricane batters the coastline, cutting Puerto Rico off from the rest of the world. Taking his pursuit to the sea, Finn’s skills and endurance will be tested to their limits to rescue the lost children, and escape his own pursuers before the clock runs out.
Excerpt from Blind Fear
They have been out there for hours, climbing the great rock cliffs overlooking Black Sand Beach, then down by the water, poking through the shells and driftwood left by the ebbing tide, cooling off in the sky-blue sea as they drift toward the western tip of their island home.
Playa Grande, Playa Vaca, Playa Vieja . . . they swim past beach after beach: robin’s-egg sky, glass-clear aqua water, fish darting in a million colors, the soft crash of the surf, and not another soul in sight.
This is their heaven.
Viequesssss . . . even the name sounds like surf breaking over sand.
Half a mile off shore, just west of Playa Vieja, the boy sees his sister far ahead of him, laughing and making friends with an enormous sea turtle, her pink snorkel draped around her neck. He almost catches up with her, but she leaves her new reptilian friend and strikes out farther west, soon rounding the island’s southwest corner and tracing the coastline northward.
The boy follows wearily.
She might be three years younger than him, but man, she packs a ferocious kick.
“¡Oye! ¡No vayas tan rápido!” Hey! Slow down!
Is she ignoring him, or does she just not hear?
“¡Oye! ¡Regresa!” Turn back! “Papi dijo—”
“¡Papi dijo!” she echoes over her shoulder. Papi said! “¡Papi dijo, Papi dijo!” She flashes a grin back in his direction.
He sighs and swims on. His little sister can drive him crazy, but he can never stay mad at her for long.
They’re coming up the far side now, toward Punta Boca Quebrada, a secluded little paradise. To the boy, this spot is pure magic. Such magnificent coral reefs, such an underwater explosion of color!—and still mostly untouched by the turistas, who are put off by the sting of sea urchins and persistent swarm of sand flies, especially nasty on still, hot days like this.
The flies don’t bother the boy. They are old acquaintances.
The two are trespassing on restricted territory now, off limits to civilians, in part because of the danger of unexploded ordnance, left over from decades of constant bombardment when the US Navy still used the island for target practice. No place for little nenes and nenas.
A late-afternoon fog presses in around them.
Thirty feet away, just at the edge of visibility, the boy glimpses a fin moving slowly across his line of sight.
The fog thickens.
Two more fins, then two more beyond those.
“Oye,” he says softly.
The girl turns in the water and now she sees them, too.
She looks back at her brother.
He looks at her.
For a moment neither moves.
Then she grins and leans her head closer to the nearest fin.
“¡Bú!” she says softly.
The boy sighs and begins quietly side-stroking away from the shiver of sharks.
His sister follows suit. They both recognize the brownish, rounded fins. Nurse sharks can grow up to ten feet long and weigh as much as three hundred pounds, but they aren’t really dangerous, not if you leave them alone.
Ignoring the little humans, the creatures move on up the coast, searching for shellfish to graze.
The two children turn south and head back the way they came.
The fog is already thinning. The setting sun spreads orange wings over the horizon, painting the sea in shades of crimson.
Soon it will be getting dark.
They swim on in silence, broken only by the splish, splish of their strokes.
After a few minutes a soft rain sweeps in from across the Caribbean, stippling the water’s purple surface with pinpricks. A billion tiny pebbles hitting a billion little ponds, a rising whisper that turns to a roar.
The boy loves it when it rains.
“¡Mira!” the girl calls softly.
He glances back at his little sister, who is treading water as she peers out through the rain at something far off the coast. “Don’t you see it?”
He swims back to her side and looks. He sees nothing.
He sighs. He doesn’t see any whale, and doesn’t believe she does, either.
She wants to go inspect the thing, he can feel her intention. He puts out a hand and touches her arm.
She gently shrugs off his hand and throws a teasing little smile at him.
¡Papi dijo, Papi dijo!
She sets out.
The location where she pointed has to be a mile off, a few degrees left of the sinking sun. Or maybe only half a mile. Impossible to say: Through the rain, in the fading light, visibility is poor.
He sees her pause in place, searching for the spot where she thinks the beast ought to be.
The boy finally reaches her just as she pulls on her snorkel and slips under the surface. He dives, too, trailing her by a few yards, and follows her in a wide lazy circle, finding nothing but more dark water and the usual swirls of sea life.
And then, just as he is about to surface, he catches a glimpse of it, maybe forty yards off, just below the water’s surface: a long vague expanse of gray. The flank of a great beast.
There are humpbacks in these waters, sometimes sperm whales, and sei whales, too, but the boy thinks this might be bigger than any sei whale. Blue whales have been spotted in the Sound from time to time, the largest animal ever known. Although this one looks more gray than blue.
Whatever it was, it’s gone now.
His sister turns back to look at him, her eyes wide, and points straight up.
“Did you see it?” she gasps, and before he can reply she has clamped her lips back around her snorkel’s pink mouthpiece and disappeared under the water again.
Once more, he follows, trailing behind her by eight or ten feet, knowing the whale is long gone and their search will be fruitless.
Suddenly she pulls short, as if startled.
He squints through the dark water, looking for what caused her to stop so abruptly. It takes a few seconds to register what he’s seeing. From out of the gloom a creature emerges, swimming closer in a long arc. A shark?
Turning in their direction now.
Not a shark.
And not one creature. Two. Swimming in tandem.
Two men, in wet suits, faces invisible behind their masks.
Straight for them.
The boy grabs his sister’s arm and turns blindly in the water, and they both swim the other direction as hard and fast as they can.
Swim as if their lives depend on it.