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Lighter HSB 3D web

Patrick Weill

The Mazatlan Showdown
Book 1
The Mazatlan Showdown
A tough beach lifeguard. His father’s killer. Only one will walk away from the showdown.

Jeff Walker is furious! His father was murdered before he was born, and his mother died of a broken heart. Longing to confront the killer, he moves to the United States, but can’t find the man. Then, when he sees a shooting on a yacht and swims out to the rescue, he finds himself up against a ruthless gang of smugglers that wants him dead.

With the help of his best friend, former Navy SEAL Tony Park, Walker works with law enforcement to investigate the smugglers, but the case takes a personal turn when he’s captured by an enemy from the past.

Can Walker, Park, and the police stop the crooks before it’s too late, or will a slick and heartless killer send Walker to the same fate as his father?

This is the first novel in The Park and Walker Action Thriller Series. If you like muscle cars, brawny bikes, explosive action, compelling prose, and spectacular oceanfront settings, then look no further. This is your kind of book.

What readers are saying:

“What a rollercoaster of a read! Action-packed throughout. The scenes and characters are amazing, and I hardly stopped to breathe. Everything that I want in a cars, even better bikes, highs and lows with some great baddies in tow!”

~ Allison Valentine

“The Mazatlan Showdown is a thrilling ride that fans of action and adventure novels won't want to miss. The book sets the stage for what promises to be an exciting and action-packed series, and readers will be eagerly anticipating the next installment. Highly recommended for fans of the genre!”

~ Marjan Glavac

“With a richly detailed and diverse cast of characters, fast-paced action, and a setting to die for, The Mazatlan Showdown draws you in immediately. The twists and turns had me flipping pages as fast as I could, and the ending leaves you wanting more but doesn’t leave you hanging. I can’t wait to continue the series!”

~ AK Weller


Thirty Years Before Present Day

Lieutenant Thomas Walker’s eyes shot open in the predawn darkness with no need for the alarm he’d set the night before. He scooted toward his wife and snuggled up against her for the last time.
“Morning,” he said.
Walker slid his hand over Christine’s pregnant belly, kissed her neck, and breathed with her, savoring the heavenly warmth of their shared bed for just one more minute, but the big day ahead set him in motion like a giant fist that snatched him up and pushed him roughly into the shower.
He went through the battle plan as he bathed: he and Christine were slated to testify in the court-martial of Lieutenant Trent Bolton, a fellow naval aviator. Not for long, Walker grumbled inwardly as he turned the water off. His guess was that Bolton would be dishonorably discharged, and hopefully put in prison.
Lt. Walker donned his white dress uniform and went to fill up the Mustang while Chris was still getting ready. Scanning the neighborhood for anything unusual, he marched across the driveway to his black GT convertible. The sky was light enough to give him a good view of the cars parked on the street. The only vehicle he didn’t recognize was a red crew-cab pickup, but he didn’t see anyone inside, so he slid into his street-legal race car, brought the massive engine to life, and backed out of the driveway. Without coming to a full stop, he shifted into first and pressed lightly on the pedal. The speed machine leapt forward. He put it into second and picked up speed as the cold morning air hit him like a slap through the open window. Walker wished it were a warmer breeze like the one at Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he and Chris were planning to take Jeffrey on his first vacation once he was born and big enough to enjoy it.
A hundred yards from the stop sign at the corner, he glanced into his rear-view mirror. His heart sank: the big red pickup was approaching quickly from behind. As it came alongside, the driver cranked the wheel right, colliding with Walker’s Mustang, forcing him to choose between crashing into his neighbor’s living room or braking to a stop.
Walker stopped, but not before popping open the glove compartment to grab his Glock 17. He hit the pavement running, sprinting zigzag to the street corner, then cut a hard right. His legs pumping, he looked around for a safe place where he could call his wife. He had to warn her in case his attackers went back for her. Knowing that the gas station across the street had a restroom with a thick steel door and a heavy sliding bolt, he sprinted on and glanced back as he ran. Three men flew around the corner, firing their pistols.
Despite the bullets snapping past his head, Walker made it across the street into the restroom. He secured the dark-green steel door even as heavy slugs slammed into it, then hustled to the most defensible corner and flipped open his cell phone.
“I’m calling the police,” Christine said, after hearing the short version.
“Won’t do any good.” Walker spat out the words with the urgent clip of a radio operator on the battlefield. “This is going to be over in two minutes. Get out of the house right now. Rent a room where we spent our honeymoon and I’ll meet you there.” If I can, he thought.
A fist pounded on the metal door, echoing in the smelly restroom. “Let us in, Walker, or we’ll make it worse for you!” a familiar voice bellowed.
Time was up. Fighting to keep his emotions in check, Walker managed, “You’re the love of my life, Chris.”
She didn’t reply, but she didn’t need to. Her muffled sobs told him more than words could have.
Walker ended the call and prepared for a fight to the death. The pounding on the door had ceased. Seconds became hours. Then he heard a large vehicle charging toward his position. He ran into a stall, jumped onto the toilet seat, whirled around, and aimed his pistol at the door just as the dark-green portal was smashed in with a squealing of twisted metal. The hinges and the bolt had held, but now there was a gap between the door and the frame. As the red pickup backed away, Walker estimated its width at a foot and a half. His assailants would have to squeeze themselves through to enter, so that’s where he aimed his gun. Still standing on the commode, he heard the pickup’s doors open and shut. As he lined up his sights on the gap, three small cylinders came clattering onto the tile floor, stopping just below him in the stall.
He closed his eyes and covered his ears with his hands, turning to face the wall. Even so, the chain of deafening blasts knocked him onto the floor, and the accompanying flashes of brilliant light robbed him of his vision. A sharp ringing in his ears drowned out all other sounds. He felt rather than heard heavy boots clomping around him. Then a pair of hands hauled him out of the stall and up to his feet. Three blurry figures stood before him. Blinking his vision back into sharper focus, Walker recognized Trent Bolton standing between two other men he didn’t know. His fellow naval aviator, the man he was slated to testify against, was leveling a pistol at his head.
“Any last words?” Bolton asked, his tone matter-of-fact. His hair was clipped in military fashion, and his features showed neither pleasure nor disgust.
Walker knew better than to waste the last seconds of his life conversing with a two-faced, drug-addicted criminal. Instead, he closed his eyes and focused on all the years he’d spent with Christine, casting his mind back to their courtship in Kentucky and the ten wonderful years they’d had in sunny San Diego. He thought of Jeffrey, the son he’d never get to meet: they’d call him Jeff, or maybe “Walker” like him. He wished his son a long life of good deeds and close friends. The final image that crossed his mind was that of Christine smiling sweetly, holding baby Jeffrey. Swaddled in a blue blanket with only his tiny face exposed, the infant cooed and grinned at his daddy. Walker took the baby boy from his lovely wife and cradled him in his arms for a moment, but a moment was all he had. He kissed the baby boy on the cheek with every ounce of love he had, then handed him back and gazed into Chris’s beautiful brown eyes. The shot pierced his brain before he heard it.


Present Day


Surfing before work at Windansea Beach, Jeff Walker sat up on his board, rising and falling with the swell. As he waited for the next set to roll in, dark clouds gathered and increasingly high winds made for choppy conditions. Even so, the waves were uncommonly good: double overhead and still breaking cleanly. When he saw the wave he wanted, he paddled into position, charging hard. The wall of water towered over him from behind. As he felt the surge rise up below him, he sprang to his feet and tipped his board over such that he was looking straight down. He free-fell for a second, then slapped down and raced toward the trough. The moment he hit the bottom of the wave, he drove his back foot hard, carving a whopping bottom turn that sprayed a fifteen-foot rooster tail. Time slowed as the gathering mass pitched over his head to form a swirling blue cylinder. He careened through the spinning tube, his senses exploding. Up ahead, the eye of the barrel threatened to close up on him, so he braced himself for a painful wipeout, but his good speed and position proved crucial, blowing him out of the tube in a mist as if from a whale’s blowhole. What a way to start the day! Walker thought as he rode the wave all the way in to the beach.
In short order he found himself perched on a giant, flat rock on the sand, sitting in a beach chair under a wide blue umbrella marked with the word “LIFEGUARD” in white. He drew a slow breath while scanning his area of responsibility. By that time, all the surfers and swimmers had been deterred by the impending storm, so there was no one out in the water. An older couple stood on the sand, holding hands as they gazed out at the angry chop. Squeezing in a walk before the rain hits, Walker guessed as he ran his fingers through his long blond hair. They gave him a smiling wave and he did the same.
Walker hadn’t seen clouds this thick and dark for several seasons, and the sea was getting rougher every second. Still he took comfort in the sights, smells, and sounds of the coast, as his earliest and most treasured memory was building sand forts with his mom at Rosarito Beach. He must have been two or three. As the tide rose, the waves toppled the castles they’d made. Mother and son splashed each other, beaming and giggling in the comfort of the sun, reveling in the presence of their favorite person in the world.
Booming thunder snapped him out of his trance. Out on the horizon line, bolts of lightning flashed down from the clouds, and rain began to pelt the umbrella and dapple the sand all around him. When drizzle became deluge, he hopped off the rock and stored everything in the shed, pulling out the “Beach Closed” sign.
He was up in the parking area, ready to swing a leg over his motorcycle when a small white yacht sped around the bend at Big Rock, veering much too close to the rocks at full throttle. Seconds after its skipper tossed a bag overboard, a blue ski boat pulled up alongside it. Two of the ski boat’s occupants stormed aboard, both carrying rifles. They bounded up the stairs to the white yacht’s helm station, where the skipper dropped to his knees and put his hands on his head. Shots cracked and the skipper fell forward, clutching his stomach. The two attackers grabbed the man by his arms and legs and heaved him off the upper deck into the ocean. Then the blue ski boat took off up the coast and the small yacht followed, leaving its skipper behind.
Walker raced back to the shed, snatched up his radio and barked, “Main tower, this is Walker at Windansea! I’ve got a gunshot victim five hundred yards out. The scene is safe and I’m on my way out.”
“Copy, Walker. I’ll send the rescue boat out,” replied fellow lifeguard Paul Johanssen.
Walker grabbed his rescue buoy and fins and sprinted into the shore wash. After strapping on the fins, he dove into a wave, his powerful flutter kick and big, reaching arms taking him past the surf line despite the force of the waves pushing him back. If there was to be any possibility of saving the patient’s life, he had to hustle. Walker craned his neck up and out, treading water for a moment, finding a reference point. Then he put his face down again and gave it everything he had. As he swam, the driving rain on his back pelted him like hundreds of foot-long needles. He found the patient floating face down in a scarlet cloud. Walker turned the body over and looked into vacant eyes, then down at three stringy holes in the stomach leaking wisps of blood and other multicolored fluids. The patient wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.
Walker was about to initiate rescue breathing when his ears picked up the approaching rumble of an outboard motor. Tony Park and Mark Thompson were heading his way in the surf rescue boat. Park was a giant Asian man and one of Walker’s two best friends; Thompson, a rookie lifeguard, was also tall but leaner. Both wore red shorts and windbreakers emblazoned with the words “San Diego Lifeguard,” but they were just as wet as Walker from all the rain. Park cut the engine and coasted up so Thompson and Walker could bring the patient aboard. Walker started CPR as Park throttled forward.
“He’s gone!” Park yelled over the engine noise. “Plus it’s not safe. Just hang on.”
Walker grabbed a handrail. He and Thompson held the corpse down so it didn’t roll overboard while Park sped the red rescue boat back to Mission Bay. Heavy spray stung their faces as the boat bounced from crest to crest in the driving rain.
Walker and many others stood at the docks at lifeguard headquarters under a covered walkway as the EMTs pulled a sheet over the corpse, which they then turned over to the police. For a moment, Walker locked eyes with one of the paramedics, who shot him a brief but dazzling smile. He watched her climb into her ambulance and expertly maneuver it out of a tight spot, then cut through the flooded parking area as she drove away.
Tony Park turned to Walker and Thompson. “Lieutenant Molloy won’t be back for another couple of hours. Do y’all want to swim to the main tower?”
It was a terrible idea. The wind and rain hadn’t abated in the slightest, and they were already at lifeguard headquarters, where they were required to be in order to debrief with their supervisor shortly. They could just wait for Molloy there, with plenty of towels—hot showers even—and gallons of steaming coffee within easy reach. No. These guys were competitive to a fault. Walker and Thompson exchanged a glance and dove off the dock, pulling and kicking through the choppy water with rain on their backs and Park tight on their heels. It was half a mile across the bay to Mission Point Beach, and from there a two-hundred-yard sprint over the peninsula to the ocean side, where touching the main tower meant crossing the finish line.
Walker was a legendary surfer and a champion swimmer. He’d been rookie of the year in his first year as a lifeguard, and this season Thompson was a shoo-in for the same award. Neck and neck, they flew across the sand in the final sprint to the tower, touching at arguably the same time. Sopping wet and heaving for air, they high-fived each other, then peered through the window and spotted Park. The former Navy SEAL was dry and dressed, cradling a steaming mug in his hands. He greeted them with a wave of his massive hand, feigning surprise as though it had taken them so long to get there that he’d forgotten they were coming.

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