Murci Sanchez’s little sister has been lured into the sex trade by a nasty gang of human traffickers, so he swings a leg over his motorcycle and roars into the U.S. to rescue her.
There he joins forces with police detectives Jeff Walker and Tony Park, but still he fears he’ll never see her again. And when the Cartel del Norte throws its devious plans into the mix, Park’s and Walker’s families are caught in the crossfire and the conflict escalates into a battle royale between multiple SWAT teams and two warring criminal organizations.
Can Murci, Walker, Park, and the police save the hostages before the crooks’ casino goes down in a fiery pile of rubble?
This is the second novel in The Park and Walker Action Thriller Series. If you like tales of betrayal and bravery, hot-rod cars and bikes, and breathtaking oceanfront locales, then Bad Traffic is your kind of book.
“Definitely a story that I became invested in very early. The author doesn't get bogged down in unnecessary details, but provides those that are important. There are a lot of characters to follow and I would have liked to see some of them developed a little more, but I'm hopeful some of that will come in other books. Overall, it's a story that is relevant to today and is well told with a well thought out plot and great action.”
“The boys are back again and this time they are following a ruthless gang that traffic young and vulnerable girls. But Tony Park and Jeff Walker are fighting their own demons. Can they overcome their own personal problems to fight back? This is the second book in the series and it doesn't disappoint. Completely action packed from the start to the end. The characters have been brilliantly written and I'm so looking forward to the next installment.”
“When Nayeli is taken from Mexico by human traffickers, her brother Murci is her only hope. Bad Traffic by Patrick Weill is an action-packed thriller that shines an ugly spotlight on human trafficking. As Murci searches for his sister in the US, a Human Trafficking Task Force also joins the hunt. Add in cartels fighting each other for control of the ‘trade’ and crooked cops, author Weill has many pieces in play headed for a big showdown. The emotional/physical pain of the trafficked victims is well done and the action is intense (and maybe a tad over the top, which isn't necessarily bad). This is Book #2 of the Park and Walker series (I haven’t read #1, yet) but I found it easy to catch up with the characters. Weill has a hit on his hands.”
MURCI AND NAYELI
The Mexican sun beat down on their backs like a cruel taskmaster. Both of their bodies were bronze-hued and wiry, but only his had jagged, knotted scars, many of them relatively fresh. She didn’t know how he’d gotten them. Like a soldier home from the war, Murci wouldn’t talk about his time in the United States. Though his return meant a problem for the family, Nayeli was glad her big brother was back; it had been a long two years without him.
“¡Ánimo! You can do it, sis. Another half hour and we’ll eat,” he said, driving his digging stick into the drought-hardened soil so it stood up on its own. Then he stepped behind her to massage her neck and shoulders.
Nayeli closed her eyes and nodded, drawing inspiration from the back rub, but her brother’s words were of little consolation. She didn’t need to hear that she could handle the work; she alone had been tending to the small, heavily mortgaged plot of land while he’d been away. And she was too upset to care about food.
The siblings went back to preparing their family’s cornfield for planting, Nayeli with only slightly renewed determination. As she labored, her efforts went from plodding and reluctant to wildly fast. She plunged her tool harder and harder, moving quickly down the row until exhaustion forced her to take a knee. Looking back down the line, she realized she’d broken up more soil in fifteen minutes than she normally did in double that time. Her eyes burned, then brimmed over with tears that cut through the dust as they rolled down her cheeks. She hung her head and wished her problems would wither and die like neglected crops. As her dizziness subsided and her breathing returned to normal, Nayeli came to two conclusions: one, her problems would never go away on their own, and two, it was she who was neglected and in danger of drying up. She and so many others.
Murci draped an arm over her shoulders and used his other hand to wipe her cheeks dry. “Don’t give up, Naye,” he said as he helped her up and walked her home.
He was right. The only sensible thing to do was to keep fighting against the family’s desperate financial situation, which was even worse now that Murci wasn’t sending dollars home. Nayeli wondered why he’d given up and come back. If it had been her, she would have stayed until she’d earned enough money to make a difference. A small part of her wished he hadn’t returned.
On their way back to the rental they called home, Nayeli and Murci trudged past the farmhouse they used to live in. The one their father had built. The one where they’d lived all their lives until only recently. Neither turned to look at it. From there to the new house, Nayeli counted ten semi-feral dogs roaming the unpaved roads in search of food scraps or trash bags; without exception, the animals’ ribs were jutting out like those of starving concentration camp prisoners.
“I went to the butcher shop today to buy a chicken, but Pablo had raised his prices again,” Mamá said at the main meal of the day, which she always served at four p.m. In the center of the table, she set down a cloth napkin folded around hot tortillas. Her body still healthy, her copper-colored skin unblemished but for the worry lines on her face, Mamá had been blessed with good genes. Like a new taxi driven all day and all night, she’d held up well, though Nayeli often wondered how much longer that would be the case.
It’s not the butcher’s fault,” said Papá, whom Nayeli had helped move from his bed to the rough-hewn wooden table. His hands were large, but like the rest of his body, they were nowhere near as strong as they’d been only five years before. Dark, sickly circles marked his eyes and his once-commanding voice came out in a whisper. “It’s the greedy companies that control everything.”
“Everything including the government,” Murci added, rolling a tortilla in his palm and biting off a third of it. “Just like in the United States.”
Nayeli stopped her spoon halfway to her mouth. “Just like everywhere,” she said. “I wish money had never been invented. What this planet really needs is another meteor shower.”
“Did you go to the police station today, son?” Papá asked, as if he hadn’t heard her.
“Yes, sir. Boot camp starts on Monday.”
“Good,” the farmer replied, his eyes coming alive with pride. Nayeli wished her father would look at her like that, but that’s just how he was. He’d never change.
“And you, honey?” Mamá asked, finally sitting down after everyone else had their soup. “How’s school going?”
Nayeli reached for another tortilla, refusing to wish that it were meat, which she hadn’t tasted in over a month. Her eyes darted around their dwelling, with its uneven concrete floor and the corrugated iron roof.
“Everything’s fine, Mamá,” she replied, not mentioning the flyer she’d seen at school and the appointment she had that night.
One of the many good things about Murci being back was that Nayeli was freed up to focus on her studies. A few days back, she’d found herself with some free time after class, so she’d strolled over to an announcement board and scanned the notices stapled there. One of them read as follows:
Seeking female students to work in the U.S. as housekeepers or nannies. 9 dollars per hour with free room and board. Study for your GED at night. College scholarship opportunities available.
College in the United States of America? Just from what she’d learned in books and on the internet, Nayeli’s English was already passable. She was sure she could succeed in such an environment. With the advertised wage and no expenses, she could literally lift her family out of the mire. While mulling over the pros and cons of this tempting opportunity, she recalled a recent conversation in the cornfield.
“Gringolandia’s not a good place,” Murci had said. “It’s a rotten apple that only looks good from the outside.”
“Right,” she’d replied, squinting in the sun as she turned to look at him. “A rotten country where you can earn twenty times what you get here.”
His features hardened. “You don’t understand. It’s a dangerous place for people like us.”
“I’m almost fifteen. And I do understand, maybe better than you think.”
“I’m five years older than you, and I’ve been there, and you haven’t. Trust me, you don’t want what they’re selling.”
Life in the States couldn’t be as bad as Murci always made it out to be. In Nayeli’s view, he just wanted her to stay home so he could order her around like he always did.
She’d eyed the flyer and pursed her lips for a moment. Then torn it off the board and hurried to catch the bus.
The following morning, Murci was not surprised to find Nayeli missing from the room they shared. As far as he knew, she’d gone to visit a friend the night before and had most likely stayed the night. But as the morning wore on, the family became alarmed. Mamá placed a call and learned that she’d been lied to. Nayeli had not gone to visit her friend.
Murci searched through his sister’s belongings for any clue to her location. When he found the flyer in her backpack, he knew what had happened, and it made him sick. He also felt responsible, since she’d gone in search of the money he wasn’t sending home.
His parents wanted to wait for a day or two, hoping the job offer was legitimate, that she’d call or come back after changing her mind, but Murci knew better. He immediately called the number on the flyer but was told he had the wrong number. Later that day, he asked a female friend to call and feign interest in the ad. She was given an appointment and directions to a house on a hill not far from Murci’s house. He knew which one it was. As a boy, he’d visited ‘Beltran Manor’ many times, usually because he’d been dared to knock on the door to what everyone said was a haunted house.
As he came up the crest, the massive home loomed majestic, but once inside, his face puckered at the disarray that infected every square inch of it. There was an acrid odor; rotting pests under the furniture, perhaps.
His face was red and his voice loud when he thrust the flyer in the Beltrans’ faces. “My sister’s missing and I found this in her stuff. Have you seen her?”
“No, we haven’t,” Mrs. Beltran replied, looking innocently down at the ad. “We haven’t had a visitor in months.”
“Is this your phone number?”
“That’s Diego Lopez’s number,” Mr. Beltran said. “He’s my cousin’s friend. Needed a place to stay for a while.”
“No visitors except for Diego Lopez you mean,” Murci snapped, eyeing the woman again. “I had my friend call. She was told to show up here right now, at five o’ clock. Lopez wouldn’t be hiding here somewhere, by any chance?” He fought the urge to search the premises without permission.
For a long time the Beltrans gave no reply. Then they exchanged a glance. “I don’t know what to tell you,” Mr. Beltran finally said. “Lopez stepped out a few hours ago. If you leave me your number, I’ll tell him to call you.”
Murci’s pulse leapt as he glared at his neighbor. “I think you know more than you’re letting on.”
Not a small man, Mr. Beltran stepped forward until their faces were inches apart. “Did you just call me a liar, boy?” he bellowed. His breath smelled like he’d just gobbled up a big bowl of shit.
Murci was not a boy. He drew his father’s pistol from under his shirt and jabbed its muzzle into the man’s fat gut. “Back up, cabrón,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Tell me where my sister is or I’ll kill you right now.”
“They took her to San Diego,” Beltran whimpered without delay. “That’s all I know, I swear to God.”
Not long after that, Murci was busy securing a duffel bag to the back of his motorcycle. The job offer had clearly been bait, but Nayeli was young and naive. That’s what they look for, he seethed to himself. His transportation ready, he hurried into the house to his father’s room. The elder man sat up from his bed.
“I’ll bring her back, Papá,” Murci said. “I swear.”
“I know you will, hijo. I believe in you.”
As they embraced, Murci closed his eyes and asked God to keep his dad alive until he returned. If he returned. Then he strode back outside where his mother was waiting by his bike. With tears spilling down her face, she gave him a long hug, a quick kiss, and blessed his journey with the sign of the cross.
With a final wave, Murci straddled the black machine, fired it up, and gave the throttle an aggressive twist. The nimble two-wheeler leapt forward and carried him away, roaring and snarling through the night, matching his own fury as he made the long trip north. Whoever did this is going to hell, he vowed. And I’m going to send them there.