Barnes & Noble.com
Suppose for a moment that someone found a simple cure for cancer: one pill taken over a few months that could destroy the plague currently killing 6.9 million people yearly around the world and costing consumers trillions of dollars in medical expenses. Aside from the incalculable benefit for people suffering from the dreaded disease, what would be the economic impact of such a discovery? Would everyone embrace a simple cure for cancer with opened arms? Or would there be those that see it as destructive to their personal interests? Consider the disruption, if not the destruction, of public or private companies that have millions of dollars invested in cancer ventures such as hospitals, research centers, cancer drugs, or medical equipment sales and manufacturing? What about the millions of people that would lose their jobs?
Follow Jefferson Stewart III, a former Washington D.C. homicide detective, and now fledgling private investigator as he stumbles into the fray and teams up with an unlikely partner, Tyrone Adams, a small time street drug dealer, to investigate the mysterious death of a research scientist. Stewart discovers that the dead scientist and his missing partner had found a cure for cancer. As the investigation rapidly unfolds, Stewart realizes that there are powerful and sinister forces that will do anything to keep the cure off the market. When an attempt on Stewart’s life fails and people around him start dying, he calls on friends from his military past to help sort it out. The story is fast paced with non-stop action and a surprise ending.
(Stewart) was stopped at a red light a few blocks from his apartment when he glanced over at a Mercedes S600 waiting at the light next to him. It was black, with darkly tinted windows hiding the occupants. As he watched, the window slid slowly down. It took him a second to recognize Reggie, the petty drug dealer he had manhandled on the street in front of his office the previous day. Wearing the same red bandanna the thug flashed him a devious smile, clearly showing the gaudy gold-capped tooth with a star in the center.
Reggie’s arm rested casually on the door, an expensive diamond Rolex on his wrist. Before Stewart had a chance to wonder where the small time drug dealer found the money for a Rolex watch he saw the automatic weapon pointed at him. He hit the gas, spinning the tires of his old Buick, and leaving smoking black streaks of rubber on the street. From behind he heard the rapid fire of the automatic weapon and then the clank of the bullets hitting the back door and rear quarter panel of his car. His quick action had given him a slight head start on his pursuer, but he knew it wouldn’t last. He sped down the narrow street to the next intersection where he swung left onto a four-lane road, running a red light in the process.
The powerful $130,000 Mercedes with 12 cylinders was right behind him. Since he knew he had no chance to outrun the powerful vehicle, when he reached the next intersection, he hit the brakes, turning the steering wheel sharply, and throwing the car into a violent left turn. He watched in the mirror as the Mercedes went halfway into the intersection before it turned and headed after him.
With the gas pedal now pressed to the floor, Stewart sped down the street, weaving in and out of traffic at eighty miles an hour. Suddenly, an unsuspecting driver pulled from a parking space, swinging into his lane. Again Stewart turned the wheel violently, forcing his car over the curb and toward a pyramid of trashcans. The now out of control automobile plowed into the cans causing an explosion of discarded food and debris, splattering a soppy mess onto the windshield.
Barely able to see through the garbage, Stewart swerved to miss what appeared to be a dog as he tried desperately to regain control. The car careened from the sidewalk and flew back into the street with the bottom smashing onto the asphalt and spraying sparks from the undercarriage like a Fourth of July celebration. The thirteen-year-old car’s already weak suspension groaned under the impact and the left rear leaf spring snapped.
The vehicle swerved several more times; barely missing other cars and panicking pedestrians in the crosswalk, before Stewart finally regained control. Unfortunately, the big Mercedes was still behind him and gaining rapidly. Within seconds it was close enough to pull into the lane beside him.
Stewart hit the brakes hard and swerved, causing the rear of his car to slip sideways into the front fender of the Mercedes. The impact barely made a difference to the much larger vehicle. Again Stewart heard the blast of an automatic weapon as a second gang member leaned out the passenger side and opened up. The bullets strafed the back of the car, breaking the taillights and the rear window.
When all of his evasive maneuvers had failed, Stewart realized his only hope was to attract the attention of a cop. He made a sharp right turn and went the wrong way down a one-way street. On-coming cars swerved to both sides of the road; drivers reacted by throwing their hands out the window and giving him the finger.
The big Mercedes was still behind him, a half block back, as he sped in and out of traffic, running red lights and stop signs, hoping to be spotted by a patrol car. On one sharp turn, the rear end of the car spun out, smashing into a light pole and bringing it down onto the street with an explosion of metal and glass. The downed pole momentarily blocked the path of the Mercedes, allowing Stewart a slight lead.
Suddenly, with relief, Stewart saw the flashing blue and red lights of a patrol car, stopped at the end of an alleyway to his left. He locked up the brakes and skidded to an abrupt stop. Then he backed up quickly and turned down the alley. An instant later, the Mercedes came to a stop. It started to turn down the alley as well. However, when the would-be assassins saw the flashing lights, they came to a halt and slowly backed up and sped away.
Stewart stopped at the corner. The now totally wrecked car was making strange noises and there was a pungent smell of gasoline in the air. Smoke was coming from underneath, swirling around the vehicle. The left rear bumper had sunken until it was almost touching the asphalt. He shut off the engine and climbed out to assess the damage. The trunk lid was filled with bullet holes and the back window and rear passenger’s side windows were shattered. There was a large dent in the left rear fender, matching the one decorating the front of the beat-up vehicle. A sloppy mess of caramelized food was splattered across the windshield.
On the corner, two officers stood questioning a teenage white boy. One officer had his hand on the boy's belt in the back, and the other officer was in screaming in his face. Both cops paused and turned to look at Stewart. Their eyes opened wide when they saw the bullet holes and the condition of the car. Smoke was now coming from several of the holes and gasoline was dripping under the car.
The cops recognized Stewart. "What the fuck’s going on, Lieutenant?" one of the cops asked.
"Hi, Jackson, Handy,” he said. “You mean the car?”
“Yes,” said the second officer. “If you call that thing a car.”
Stewart glanced back at his vehicle and then said, “Well, several days ago, I took it to one of those quick oil change places. You know, in and out in ten minutes or less. Some guy named Bonzo or Bozo worked on it, and it hasn’t been right since. I’m thinking he didn’t know what he was doing.” Then he added with a straight face, “I don’t know much about cars, but do you think he really need to drill holes in the side to replace the oil?”
The two cops looked at him like they believed him at first. Then, when they saw him smile, they broke into laughter.