Wednesday, August 20, 2014

KNIGHT'S BIG EASY (The E Z Knight Reports Book 1) by Gordon Kessler Excerpt

KNIGHT'S BIG EASY (The E Z Knight Reports Book 1) by Gordon Kessler
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KNIGHT’S BIG EASY—an Action/Adventure Thriller Novel

Killing is never easy for E Z Knight. But when he's doing away with some really despicable bastards, it’s not all that difficult.

A prequel to Knight's Late Train and Knight’s Ransom, Knight's Big Easy is the first novel in ”The E Z Knight Reports”; a sexy, humorous and irreverent series as well as a somewhat realistic and poignant look at the darker side of life, crime and the human condition. With a modern-day, ramped up "The Rockford Files"/"Magnum PI" feel, a Jack Bauer-capable hero and a "24" pace, this series consists of stand-alone, page-thrumming novels.

In Knight's Big Easy: Voodoo, hoodoo and a girl named Poodoo make this year’s Mardi Gras the most fun but also the most dangerous party of all for E Z Knight!

Knight goes to New Orleans to find Parole Officer Tamara White Cloud’s AWOL USMC son, and finds out L/Cpl Billy White Cloud isn’t the only one who’s gone missing.

He uncovers the largest human trafficking organization since the US slave emancipation. Led by a Voodoo King named Papa Legba, the slave ring preys not only on young runaways and homeless children, but also kidnaps them from their own homes and then sells them into prostitution and sweat-shop labor.

Knight works with a retired jazz musician named Black Zack who restores old horns in a shop called Jazzy Brass. They team up with FBI Special Agent Pooh Dooley to find Billy and to stop the slave-traders. However Knight’s old musician sidekick might be more than he appears. Black Zack claims the hay in the back of his truck is for feeding his cousin's goats. But when the pickup the old horn tooter’s driving is run off the road and catches fire, smoke from the alfalfa bales in the back gives Knight a high unlike any he’s had before.

Time is running out. A cargo ship loaded with over 500 children is away to the deepest waters in the Gulf. With the threat of being exposed, Papa Legba has ordered the ship sunk as soon as it reaches Sigsbee Deep. But Knight’s not that worried about dealing with the two-dozen armed men on the slave ship, or the nighttime HALO jump he must make to carry out the rescue—it’s the Voodoo Queen named Marie who won’t rest until she’s turned E Z Knight into a zombie that’s making his skin crawl.

Spiders and Snakes
5:00 AM, Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana

“Where Y’at, boy?”
US Marine Lance Corporal Billy White Cloud ducks the flashlight beam and glances at the two small blonde children he holds protectively. The muddy water has dried on their young faces, but the three and four-year-olds have stopped crying. He’s unsure how much longer they can hold out — or even how long he can, chest high in the cool swamp water.
“We gonna find ya’s, boy,” the fat man in the bateau shouts. “Y’know that. Jus’ a matter o’time. ‘Bout sixty dee-grees out there. Don’t sound so bad, but you get that hypothermia in less than two hours. You been out here for o’er three. An’ those kids — they gonna catch their deaths. Y’jus’ gettin’ chilled out there f’no good damn reason.  Good fo’ gators and moccasins, though. They’m like their food cold.”
The bayou smells of decaying plants and muck. Billy scans the darkness for the hundredth time, wondering how the hell he could have gotten into such a mess. The fat man’s flashlight beam illuminates dozens of eyes from the darkness — and they’re all set on Billy. He’s never seen a real alligator outside a zoo, and he absolutely hates snakes.
His arms are getting tired and his legs are cold and crampy. Shivers are coming in strong waves that make his teeth rattle when they’re not clenched.
“We ain’t gonna hurt those babies none. I’s the parish sheriff, son. Y’can trust me — Sheriff Jimmie Babeuf DePue. I’ll take good care o’those orphans.”
Billy wonders about the “orphans” part. How were these children orphaned — did the sheriff have a hand in that, too?
The boat edges closer to the clump of vines and swamp grass they’re hiding behind, and the little girl starts to sob again.
Something bumps into Billy’s arm, and at first he thinks it’s an alligator.
It’s only a six-foot piece of drift wood. But the four-year-old girl’s tiny face wrenches in fear.
“No-no,” Billy whispers. “It’s only a log — it’s a piece of wood.”  He gently places his forehead against the child’s, but he can barely see her eyes in the darkness. “Don’t cry. They’ll hear you. We’ve got to be real quiet. I’ll get you out of here just as soon as they go.”
“Écoute, boy!” the sheriff shouts. “Y’better hear me one last time. Y’alone out there. Y’gonna die if’n I don’t find ya’s. Y’come on out, now.” He pauses. His tone indicates his real feelings — he booms, “Boy! I’s the sheriff, an’ I’s gonna shoot y’ass for kidnappin’ when I find ya’s, if’n ya don’t come out right now!”
The boat’s too close. They’ll be on them within a few seconds. It doesn’t take Billy any time at all to run through his options — he has none.
He strikes quickly, not caring about the noise he makes.
The water erupts as two shotguns discharge in unison.

Chapter 1
Born on the Bayou

All she’s wearing are Mardi Gras beads, a holstered .45 and a smile that stretches all the way across her lovely face.
The beautiful redhead stands over me in her magnificence — I seem to be lying in her bed.
“Mon chéri,” she says, softly, “you’re awake!”
I’m saving my words. I want to hear more of what she says first. If I ask her where I am, she’ll know I’ve awakened without recall and might shape the last few hours’ events to her liking and without regard to my perception.
I slowly scan her lovely body, taking the time to admire every inch of her, and I think this must be a dream. The DoubleTap .45 ACP pistol doesn’t concern me yet, since it’s still snuggled in the small leather holster she has strapped to her thigh.
Believe it or not, a lot of the women I regularly hang with wear a holstered handgun of one kind or another. For some I think it’s a power trip — a sort of dominance thing. Many of them seem to get a rush from wearing their own phallus when they make love. I don’t care for this practice so much, myself.
But, man-oh-man, I have to admit I love the women who do.
A sheer window curtain beside the bed flows airily in a light, warm breeze and a small television on a nearby dresser is turned low. On the TV there’s a parade with soft street noise; a little traffic and muted voices.
I try to move on the sweat-dampened bed, but I can’t. Quickly I realize I have no clue where I am or how I got here — or how I’m going to get these damn fur-lined handcuffs off.
“You don’t talk?” She frowns at me, unholsters the Heizer Defense .45 and raises it. “After last night, you don’t even tell me good morning?” The little DoubleTap pistol is a bit disconcerting. It’s only a two-shot, but having both barrels chambered with .45 caliber ACP in an over-and-under configuration, it is very threatening.
I ignore the mean little handgun and jerk at the two sets of handcuffs. But they’re firmly attached to the steel-framed headboard. I check my feet and see panty hose securing my ankles to the short bedposts on the small twin-size bed. I find I’m covered with scratches and bruises. I can’t tell for sure, but I think I’m naked under the thin towel laying across my middle.
“I must leave you for a little while,” she says.
After replacing her pistol into its holster, she goes to a wooden chair next to the bed. Even though she gave the French greeting, I recognize her accent is probably Texan.
“Now don’t you get all worked up and hurt our little bundle of joy there,” she says, nodding to the lump on the bed beside me. “I just fed her.”
Bundle of joy? I think my heart’s going to stop as I gaze at the sheet-covered mound. What the hell happened to me? How long have I been out? Have I assumed someone else’s life?
Then I see a small tail, and I’m relieved ... unless I’ve spawned some kind of she-devil.
The redhead says. “I think she’s asleep — can’t tell since her eyes are still closed.”
As the woman sticks her feet into a pair of red pumps, I remember the open window. I consider calling out for help but think better of it. Maybe I don’t really want help. I just wish I could remember how I ended up in this lovely woman’s bed — and whether or not I had a good time once I got here.
Finally, I can take no more. “You’d better let me go, or you’ll find nothing but splintered boards and twisted metal when you get back.”
She raises her eyebrows. “Oh, you do have words for me this morning. But not the pretty ones you gave me last night.”

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