This clip is from a book that was based in Arizona and introduced a secondary character who ends up having his own book down the road. David Bannister's coming to Nogales will change the course of his life. When I first met him through his interaction with Jake Donovan, I knew only that he was an agent-- and good at his job. And Jake knew only that this agent was good at using people to get what he wanted. They ended up in what I call a bromance (and something I much enjoy writing-- strong friendship between two men who are equals).
Next week I'll use an excerpt from the book where David heads to Oregon to solve a murder but more than that... Never mind, more on that next week. Today this is from Desert Inferno.
Bannister opened his wallet and flipped an identification card to the front. He watched as Donovan read the name of the agency for which he worked.
"Hmmm I heard of you boys. Kind of a secretive bunch."
"We don't like publicity.”
"So what are you doing in Nogales? Wouldn't think we'd have anything big enough down our way to bring you here."
"A body." Bannister folded his long body into one of the chairs across from Jake.
"Any particular one in mind?"
"Winston Joseph Franklin, 55 years old, late of New Jersey. Very recently dead... Found west of here."
"You have my interest."
"I thought I might."
"You got out here fast," Jake observed, putting his boots up on his desk and lighting a cigarette.
"I was here. Mr. Franklin was a fence, a very exclusive fence."
Jake raised his brows.
"On a plea bargain over another charge, he had agreed to do a little job."
"So little it cost him his life?"
"We lost track of him until we heard about your dead guy."
"Inconvenient—for him," Jake said, smiling thinly.
"To say the least," Bannister agreed with his own sardonic smile. “Basically this sets our work back to zero, which is unpopular with my boss."
"What was the job?" Jake asked, studying the handsome face of the agent. If the man had an imperfect feature on his face or flaw to his physique, Donovan couldn’t see it. For some reason that irritated him. He definitely didn’t like this guy.
"Smuggling Mexican antiquities."
"Say what?" Jake asked, drawing cigarette smoke deeply into his lungs before he expelled it.
Bannister grinned. "The Mexican government has been more than a little upset to find some of its most important historical artifacts and treasures disappearing. Most likely across the American border. The most recent incident was last month. A truck, heading for a Mexico City museum with Olmec and Toltec pottery, jade figurines, masks and several ritual vessels, disappeared."
Jake snorted. "Wait a minute with all the drug trafficking, the illegal immigration, possible terrorist bombs, and you guys are worried about frou-frou? You have to be kidding?"
Bannister’s expression told him he was not. "We got into it at the request of our government and the Mexicans. Rather than make an international incident out of it--especially since so little is provable at this point--they asked us to find out."
"Trinkets are worth murdering someone?"
“It’s a lot more than that. It’s a national identity, many hundreds or even thousands of years old. If that doesn’t do it for you, their worth can easily be into seven figures. Multi-millions for the overall operation. Collectors will pay anything to acquire such rare treasures. When an assemblage like this disappears into private collections, it rarely surfaces. The case became more personal when three months ago we lost one of our guys." Bannister's face hardened; the pretty-boy look was replaced by a hard, seasoned expression, that of a capable, rugged man. "We'll get whoever did it. You can put money on it."
Jake shook his head, still having a hard time believing the scenario. "You really believe this is all over pottery?"
"Any operation is a mix but yes, this went from drugs to antiquities.”
“And that’s worth murder?” he asked disbelievingly
“There are those who kill for a lot less.”