FREE from Amazon - 2 Days ONLY - May 23-24, 2013 Black Mountain Secrets
Black Mountain Secrets
A Jonathon Stone Mystery
Author: James Moushon
Black Mountain Secrets
CIA Agent Jonathon Stone goes undercover to help in an FBI investigation after a fellow agent is murdered on the Colorado River.
Stone continues the agent’s investigation of suspects who are stealing top-secret documents from a secret Army base in the middle of the Mohave Desert. The trail leads him from the rugged Black Mountains of Nevada to Laughlin, a gambling oasis on the Colorado.
As things heat up in this desert paradise, Stone dodges bullets and attempts on his life until he reaches the ultimate showdown. Jonathon Stone truly needs lady luck on his side to catch the spies and get through this ordeal alive.
Mystery Writer James Moushon brings to life Jonathon Stone, an undercover CIA agent assigned to the off the books CIA division – DOT.
He throws Stone right into the middle of action. As the mystery unfolds, Stone uses his wealth of knowledge and keen analytical mind to complete his dangerous assignments, while at the same time battling his love for gambling and drinking and the ladies.
Set in the rugged mountains of Nevada and the surrounding desolate sagebrush covered desert, lies an oasis. This is a place of intense heat in the summer and mild, clear days in the winter. In this area, the Colorado River runs through a gorge of man-made hills with a small fishing village on one side and a gambling playground on the other.
During the day, the river is a recreational haven. At night, it is a dark, eerie mass of water moving south. It is sprinkled with shuttle boats with their headlights guiding the way, ferrying people from one side of the river to the other.
This winter night started as a typical one for the tourists and gamblers alike. A shuttle boat had just left one of the casino’s docks and was headed to the Arizona side, flowing with the rapid current.
Suddenly there was a loud crash and a deadening scream and all was silent. Only the sounds of the water rushing down the river and the glow of lights from the casinos were left. It seemed that the moon and the stars were the only witnesses as the tragedy of the night tumbled like a rolling stone down the river, along with the information that could threaten a nation.
I browsed through the email I’d received from my boss, Russ Evans.
To: Jonathon Stone
Date: Mon, Dec 4, 2006 at 9:18 AM
Subject: URGENT – NEW ASSIGNMENT
MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS - ARRIVAL DECEMBER 8 – GET TICKETS FROM DEBBIE– MEET AT DENNY’S ON STRIP 9 AM - PREPARE FOR LONG STAY – INVOLVES THE THEFT OF TOP SECRET INFORMATION – SIMILAR TO BLACKSTONE OP - AL HOUSTON WAS KILLED IN LAUGHLIN, NV TWO WEEKS AGO WHILE ON ASSIGNMENT - TIME IS IMPORTANT
Russ always wrote his emails in an abbreviated style. I guess it was a carryover from the old days when all our notes were handwritten.
I opened the attachment. It was more revealing than his email. It was an article from the Bullhead City, Arizona newspaper:
BOATING ACCIDENT MARS GAMBLER’S WEEKEND FUN
An Oasis Casino shuttle boat overturned last night on the Colorado near a Bullhead City dock with no apparent survivors. The Bullhead Search and Rescue Squad were on the scene this morning. Up to press time, only one body had been recovered from the river. An unidentified man in his mid-forties washed ashore near Riviera. The search will continue through today according to the BSRS leader, Jack Finn.
Agent Al Houston must have been the unidentified man in the boating accident. I had briefly worked with him several years ago in Europe. Now I am working stateside doing special assignments.
I have been with the CIA’s special unit DOT for several years now. Originally we had been set up as an undercover operation in Long Beach but that had been compromised two years ago and all the staff had scattered to other assignments. I had been lucky enough to be able to stay at my same home in Belmont Shore, California, in the Long Beach area.
On the other side, now with all my down time, I was drinking and gambling almost every night. Hopefully this assignment would let me get back in the grove. I didn’t need to be in a dangerous situation and be fighting the drinking demons at the same time.
I was still using the same cover story. I was billed as a writer for the Real Sportsman Magazine. At least that’s what my business card said. This cover allowed me to ask more direct questions when I was gathering information.
If someone would challenge the cover, I would say that I was a freelance writer and our main office was in San Francisco.
We actually had a special line at headquarters that Debbie, Russ’s secretary, would answer. If she couldn’t answer the question, we had an agent briefed on the assignment that could field the inquiry. When the group was in Long Beach, we actually produced a magazine but not anymore.
I turned and looked out the oval window of the 747, watching the tall, jagged mountains slowly move below me. A past adventure moved before my eyes. The Blackstone Project that Russ had referenced had been one of my special assignments when I was young and full of adventure. I’d replaced an agent who had been killed by a suspect’s bullet. It had involved a spy that was stealing information from NATO in Algiers.
The last time I’d seen Russ had been in Las Vegas. I had been on vacation and we had met for dinner. It seemed like I was in Vegas more than at my home in California. My life style had changed and as Russ had put it, “Jon Stone, you must decide whether you want to be a gambler or serve your country.” The decision had been a difficult one. I had enjoyed my work, the action, the danger. But I also enjoyed the gambling and the drinking.
Just then, the captain of the plane spoke over the intercom, “Please fasten your seat belts. We are starting our descent into the Las Vegas airport. We will be arriving in approximately ten minutes. Thank you for flying with us today. Good luck.”
I grabbed my bags, picked up the rental car and headed for downtown.
Las Vegas in the morning is always a leisurely time. The pace is slow and calm. In contrast, the nights are filled with bright lights and there is an excitement in the air. The noises and sounds aren’t duplicated anywhere else in the world.
Long gone were the sounds of coins striking the metal slot trays and the older ladies carrying buckets of nickels but the sounds and the flashing lights of a jackpot still were there. Gambling had indeed embraced the digital age.
It had been a month since I’d been in Vegas and I had missed the gambling and the surroundings there. I’d arrived a day early to get a feel for the cards. I had tried to keep in shape at the Casino Queen in Long Beach but they dealt from a shoe and it just wasn’t the same. Besides I could never get enough time to have an extended period of play. There is nothing like Vegas. Practice makes perfect as they say. Counting cards takes practice and nothing can match the speed of the dealer.
Actually I had done better than I expected for the layoff.
I played until dinner, winning some and losing some and drinking a lot. I had a nice steak, a few more cocktails and headed back to the tables.
Unlike the casino in Long Beach, the drinks were free as long as I was playing Blackjack and I was taking full advantage of that. I got on a small winning streak and the drinks kept coming. Finally the pit boss had had enough and changed the cards. I had to stay around long enough to fulfill a personal tradition that I had started several years ago. After a winning session, I would finish the night off with a shot of Jack Daniels.
Unfortunately this had to be an early night and my room was right upstairs. As a backup plan, I called the front desk and asked for a wakeup call. If I was late tomorrow, I surely would get another lecture from Russ about my gambling and drinking. I had been going astray since our offices in Long Beach were closed because I had a lot of free time on my hands, I guess.
The morning came quickly and after a cold shower, it was time to start the day. I was glad I had asked for the wakeup call. I would have slept right through my meeting. My head was pounding but a hand full of aspirins would take care of that.
My first task was to meet Russ. He was always watching his budget, so I was directed to meet him at a Denny’s near the strip. I would have rather met him at the MGM or the Flamingo but he is the boss.
We met for breakfast and exchanged small talk.
“Good to see you. It’s been awhile.”
“Jon, it looks like you are getting a little gray in the temples?”
I smiled. “Yes, but I still have all my hair, besides the gray hair is from doing all your assignments.”
I took pride in my salt and pepper look. It made me look more distinguished.
Russ was in his late fifties now, balding and overweight. Back in the day he could keep up with any agent, physically and mentally. Now the desk job was getting to him physically.
Russ Evans and I go way back. He was my first boss when I joined the CIA right out of the service. We were in Europe then, stationed in Algiers. He was an excellent leader. At one time he had been in charge of the CIA Western European operations. He had moved rapidly up the CIA’s organizational ladder, now holding the title, Far East Section Chief. He is based in our San Francisco offices.
Several years ago, after the Department of Homeland Security was formed, Russ had contacted me to head up a new unit in Long Beach. It would be an off the books group called DOT. That stood for Domestic Operations – Terrorism. Our direction was to take care of any open assignments in the US that had originated out of the country. The CIA wanted to make sure there were no loose ends left by DHS.
After several years our Long Beach cover was compromised. We always had to do the mission and get out clean with no questions asked. Being an asset for the CIA had its advantages and disadvantages.
Russ finally broke the silence. “Let’s go. I need to talk to you about your new assignment and it can only be discussed in private.” I had never seen him this quiet and reserved.
As the rental car sped along Boulder Highway, going south out of Vegas, I glanced at Russ seated next to me. He had been my boss for a long time and his urgent summons had been a surprise. He never did things this way. This whole thing appeared to be off the cuff which was not his style.
As we approached Henderson, just outside of Vegas, Russ directed, “Turn left at the next road.”
I turned the car into an area that appeared to be an old rundown frontier town. We drove down an isolated road to a large stand of trees and sagebrush. I backed the car into the small wooded area until only the windshield was visible. I had done this maneuver many times, setting up surveillance and lookout stations. I stopped the car and Russ got into the backseat.
Russ finally broke his long silence. “I think we are secure here. I need to brief you on your new assignment. You don’t need to write anything down. It will be available online from my office. If you have a problem, contact Wiley. He will be your point man on this one.”
Wiley had been my tech support guy in the Long Beach office so it would be good to be working with him again.
“For the last six months we have been working with the FBI on a top secret project called Desert Rat. We are only in a support role but two weeks ago it got personal. Al Houston was killed. He was a very good agent and a friend. He was one of my top men. I am the one who recruited him out of the Academy and picked him for this assignment. So I am taking a special interest.”
“I ran into Al in Europe about six years ago. We had met, exchanged information and then we were gone,” I said.
Russ continued, “Anyway, Al had been in what we thought was a deep cover assignment. From his last communication, we think he was close to some real input. He had signaled for an important meet but it never happened. When he didn’t communicate, we brought in the reserves.”
“He was found dead in the Colorado River from an apparent boating accident but no other bodies were found. Jon, there was no reason for him to be on that boat alone. He had no ID, papers or car keys on him. We found his car in the parking lot of the Oasis Casino across the river. The only thing he had on him was $24 worth of casino chips with the Oasis Casino logo.”
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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 published his first Mystery Novel, 'Call Off The Dogs' in 2010. He is continuing to create Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels with recently published 'Black Mountain Secrets'.
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 writer, a book industry blogger and a computer consultant. He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.
Author's Book List
Call Off The Dogs
- A Jonathon Stone Mystery
KENNEDY ASSASSINATION -
Another shooter in the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy is uncovered by Jonathon Stone.
CIA Agent Jonathon Stone’s purchase of an old rifle from a gun dealer leads him on a search for the owner of the gun. When he finds the owner, a Cajun gun for hire, he discovers that he was one of the shooters in Dealey Plaza in Dallas the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
The rifle purchase leads to a chain of events that threaten Stone’s cover, his life and puts the CIA Long Beach undercover operation in jeopardy.
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