Thirty years ago in a distant country a war raged. At home it tore families apart and split generations. The wounds and repercussions have since faded, but the secrets live on. This is what a newspaper reporter discovers when he stumbles on a story that threatens to unearth demons long buried and to unmask a new evil.
Johnny Rose is a successful columnist at a Los Angeles paper owned by a business tycoon with strong political ambitions. In many ways, Johnny has one of the cushiest jobs in the business. No walking the mean streets--often stories come to him.
Currently Johnny is trying to get a lead on an unidentified man found dead in the desert north of the city. But that story gets temporarily sidelined when a Vietnamese immigrant friend calls Johnny with a strange tale. Pham Lich claims he has recently seen an American pilot, reported missing during the Vietnam War, in a local restaurant. A skeptical Johnny agrees to meet Pham but arrives too late. His source has been attacked and killed, and the cops think Johnny did it.
So begins Johnny's urgent search for a murderer. Suddenly, the mysterious body in the desert gains new meaning'-the first trace of a dark, chilling conspiracy. Johnny's deadline keeps getting tighter, and the more he digs, the closer he gets to enemies of incredible power.
Chuck Freadhoff's Blue Rain is a stunning thriller about survival, scarred hopes, innocence undone, and the horrifying battlefield of absolute ambition.
At the scene in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Johnny Rose sensed something odd but wasn't sure what. His glance drifted from the base of the yucca tree over the rocks and sand and back to the body. He felt a small nagging at the back of his skull. He looked at the body again, and the nagging grew more insistent.
"What was he doing out here? Where was he going?" Johnny asked Detective Martinez but didn't expect an answer. "Is there anything near here? Any towns, mines, settlements, anything?"
Martinez shook his head slowly.
"So you're telling me this guy just dropped out of the sky, is that it?" Johnny asked.
Martinez nodded. "Sure looks that way, doesn't it?"
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Chuck Freadhoof lives and writes in California. A graduate of the University of La Verne, he has worked as a journalist and radio commentator for financial issues on NPR. Currently he is a "senior writer" for a research and management company. In addition, he and his wife volunteer for My Friend's Place, a drop-in center for street kids in Hollywood. His first book, Codename: Cipher was published in 1991.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
In the distance Johnny could see the flashing lights atop a sheriff's car at the edge of the two-lane dirt road. Filtered through the heat waves rising off the desert floor, the alternating red and white flashes seemed to waver and had none of the urgency they command in the city's penned-in concrete streets. Out here miles from the nearest paved road, the lights seemed languid, almost lazy. He could make out a few people, too, although they were little more than blurry outlines standing in a cluster at the side of a van out of the direct sun.
Inside Johnny's aging 240Z the temperature was rising as the air conditioner struggled against the desert heat. Last spring his mechanic had said something about the Freon needing to be recharged, but Johnny hadn't done it, and now he cursed himself for ignoring the advice. Sweat trickled from his armpits down the sides of his body, and even with the AC on high his back stuck to the seat. He drove slowly, but the car still jolted over the ruts and the tires slipped on the rocks and sand. Johnny eased off the accelerator for a moment, then drove on, keeping the Z in first gear.
It was a strange place to find a body. Over the years, Johnny had seen bodies in many places: sprawled in garbage-strewn alleys behind working-class bars; locked in the twisted wreckage of cars as firemen worked methodically to cut away the steel tomb; in body bags being loaded on gurneys and wheeled out of the charred remains of houses; and once he'd even been there when the cops popped the trunk of a car and found a mob enforcer who had been missing for ten days. But he'd never been to the desert to cover a story like this.
The road crested a small rise, and he could see the yellow police tape flapping in the breeze perhaps fifty yards or so off the dirt road. He could see the van better. It was a white television vehicle with a small disk antenna mounted on the top. He also saw a black-and-white patrol car and a copper-colored Chevy Caprice, all parked at the edge of the road. He eased his car down an incline and a few minutes later pulled to a stop behind the last car in the line. The heat and wind hit him as he stepped from the car. He blinked and turned his head for a moment, turned back and walked slowly up to the group of three men and a woman standing beside the TV news van.
The woman was dressed in a V-necked white blouse and black slacks. Johnny recognized her as a reporter for one of L.A.'s independent television stations. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Her cameraman, dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and floppy hat, stood at her side. The other two men wore deputy sheriff's uniforms. The van blocked the wind, and Johnny understood why they were clustered together at its side.
He looked at the taller of the two deputy sheriffs. "Hi, I'm Johnny Rose. I'm with the Chronicle."
"Hi." The deputy nodded back. He was taller even than Johnny, and thin with a long face and a small black mustache. Half-moons of sweat had soaked through his uniform at the armpits and his face glistened. Johnny guessed he was about thirty, no older.
"I'm surprised you guys are still here. I figured by the time I drove out from L.A. you'd be long gone."
"Coroner's wagon broke down. It'll be here soon. At least they keep telling us that."
"You catch the call?" Johnny asked.
"Who found the body?"
"Couple of guys in a dune buggy. Just out banging around the desert. Almost ran over the guy."
"So who's running the show?"
"Sergeant Martinez." The deputy cocked his head toward the waving yellow plastic tape. Johnny looked and saw two men in street clothes, one standing behind the yellow tape watching a second man who was kneeling in the dirt inside the roped-off area.
Johnny stepped out from the van's protected side and was hit with a sudden gust of wind. A moment later the wind died to a steady breeze and the heat seemed to jump immediately. In mid-September, while the rest of the nation was raking autumn leaves, enjoying Indian summer and thinking of putting on snow tires, nothing much changed in the desert north and east of Los Angeles. The heat could top 100 degrees and rain was as rare as meteors.
The yellow police tape was strung in a loose triangle between two yucca trees and a pile of rocks. Johnny recognized the man standing at one point of the triangle even before he turned around. It was Steve Hounds, an AP reporter. In his mid-fifties, he had a barrel chest and thinning reddish-gray hair. They'd covered the same stories and shared beers after deadlines off and on for more than twenty years. He glanced over his shoulder as Johnny walked up.
"Who'd you piss off?" Hounds asked.
"No one drives out to the Mojave in the middle of the day this time of year unless they have to."
Johnny shook his head. "No. It was my idea." He looked past Hounds to where the other man was kneeling in the sand, then looked back at the AP reporter. "Thought this might turn out to be Billy Osborne. Could make a good column."
"Osborne? That missing stockbroker?"
"Well, I hate to break this to you, Johnny, but Osborne took off with his clients' money and his wife's best friend and I can pretty much guaran-damn-tee you he didn't come out here. As I remember it, you did a couple of columns on it yourself."
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. First edition. Dust jacket new. We have 1.5 million books to choose from -- Ship within 48 hours -- Satisfaction Guaranteed!. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000592032
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060192178
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800601921741.0
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060192178