Jonathon Stone battles his love for gambling and drinking and the ladies to help solve the mystery of the Game of Fire.
An explosion and fire rocks a Southern California mall and it is quickly determined it is arson. The timing of the incident is special because it interrupts the Tet New Year’s Festival and Parade in Little Saigon, an area just east of Long Beach.
Had the old wounds of Vietnam been opened again or was there a different game being played?
Enter veteran CIA Agent Jonathon Stone. Already in pursuit of the gun-running Minh family, he connects with a special FBI task force to assist in the investigation of the explosion and Minh quickly becomes their number one suspect.
Stone teams up with FBI Agent Jodi Shannon to pursue the people behind the arson fire. Jodi is a serious, no nonsense agent who leads the FBI Arson Task Force. While she fights to solve the mystery, she also fights Stone’s advances. As always, he tries to mix business with pleasure.
As the game takes its twists and turns, Stone’s assignment leads to a shootout in Las Vegas and a car chase down the coast of Southern California.
Game Of Fire is the third book in the Jonathon Stone Mystery Series.
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Excerpt of Game of Fire: Chapter 1
The salty ocean air filled my nose as I jogged along the running path. It was a typical Sunday winter morning in the Long Beach area. The marine layer would last until noon or so and then break apart.
This was my morning routine now that my CIA assignment had changed to an on-call asset. Chasing terrorism had been my job for a while now. From day-to-day I never knew where in the world I was going to wind up.
I could see my most favorite coffee shop in the world, Essie’s, several hundred yards down the pathway to the green belt that separated the Pacific Ocean from an area called Belmont Shore. I had lived in the area for a couple of years now and since I could catch an op anywhere in the world, it was a good base location for me. The ocean, the mild weather and a gambling casino just five minutes away was my way of living.
I grabbed a newspaper at the door and headed to my usual table in the corner. A crowd of locals were intently watching TV and talking politics. It was funny. No matter where I went in the world, this scene was repeated. The scuttlebutt could become very heated at times.
Roxie, the morning waitress at Essie’s Coffee Shop, headed toward me with a steaming pot of coffee.
“Hi, Rox. I’ll have a bagel with cream cheese.”
Everybody called her Rox. I could never understand how you could shorten someone’s name when it was already short. Now I could understand people cutting my name from Jonathon to Jon.
She poured my coffee with a quick flick of the wrist. She was good at what she did.
“Coming right up. Toasted lightly, right?”
“You got it. How are the Lakers doing?” I asked, knowing they were leading the league.
Roxie’s answer always depended on the night before. If the Lakers won she was all smiles. If they lost, look out.
“Those bums lost in overtime. They should play that one tall rookie more.”
I started reading the front page. A large picture of a fire jumped out at me. Now I know why the television was turned loud this morning. I turned my attention to the TV in the front of the room. I watched the fire scene as the firemen sprayed the structure with large hoses. That looked bad.
I stood and walked closer to the TV. I knew the area of the fire. I recognized it from the large mall sign in the parking lot in front of the complex. We had closed a surveillance op there just five months ago.
I returned to my table and started reading the paper.
2/18/2007, Orange County Daily News
FIRE MARS TET FESTIVAL IN GARDEN GROVE
Last night at around ten o’clock, a fire broke out in the Le Hi Shopping Mall on Bolsa Ave. in Garden Grove and quickly went out of control, completely destroying the complex. Hours earlier the street in front of the Mall was filled with party-goers celebrating the Annual Tet Festival Parade. There were thousands of people along the parade route in the Little Saigon area during the day….
I got up and moved closer to the TV again. A fire chief was giving a briefing.
“Good morning. I am Eddie Lam, Garden Grove Fire Chief. I am here to report on the fire last night at the Le Hi Shopping Mall. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. It appears that something exploded or caught on fire which immediately hit the gas line and spread rapidly through the complex. Multiple fire departments responded, but there was little they could do, but contain the fire from spreading to surrounding structures and neighborhoods. We were lucky that the crowd from the parade had dispersed already.”
“Was anyone hurt?” one of the reporters asked.
Fire Chief Lam continued, “There was one casualty reported. The victim was a male, but at this time he has not been identified.”
“How many fire departments responded?” another reporter asked.
“Fire and police units from Garden Grove, Westminster, Huntington Beach and Long Beach responded to the three alarm fire. One final note. It is expected that the area will be cleared for tonight’s Chinese New Year parade. The Westminster Parade is scheduled to start at 6 PM today. I need to go. We will try to keep you updated as much as we can.”
The fire chief turned and disappeared into the crowd.
There was a video store in the mall that the Agency had been watching for over a year. Our group had been waiting for an international terrorist named Tay Minh to show up. We had shut down the surveillance when chatter had placed him living and operating in Hong Kong.
About the same time our CIA undercover operation in downtown Long Beach had been compromised and the staff was scattered to the wind. I had stayed in the area and become an at-large asset.
Since then I had caught a couple overnighters as we call them. It had been about six months since my last full assignment. That was okay with me, but I did miss the action. At least I got to do some gambling and continue my drinking and running around with my on-again, off-again girlfriend, Jill. She was a cocktail waitress at the Ocean Queen Casino which seemed to make things more complicated at times. She still bought my cover as a freelance writer, but she didn’t understand why I was always carrying a gun.
Several years ago, I was moved from Europe to the Long Beach area to a new CIA secret division called Domestic Operations-Terrorism. It was simply called DOT. It was created to handle terrorist threats inside the US that originated outside our borders.
About James Moushon
Born in Illinois, James Moushon is a published writer in the electronic document field. Moushon is a graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, IL.
He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published the 'Black Mountain Secrets' and recently released 'Game of Fire'.
Starting over 15 years ago, he helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars.
In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to ebooks and their development.
He is currently wearing Three Hats. He is a mystery author, book industry blogger and a computer consultant. You can find his blogging at: HBS Author's Spotlight, the HBS Mystery Reader's Circle and the eBook Author's Corner.
He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.
His website is: www.jamesmoushon.com
To contact him e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit his blogs, as follows:
eBook Author's Corner blog: http://hbspublications.blogspot.com/
HBS Author's Spotlight: http://www.hbsauthorspotlight.blogspot.com/
HBS Mystery Reader's Circle: http://hbsreaderscircle.blogspot.com/