||Apr 28, 2004
In this prequel to Blood and Bone and Collateral Damage, Hannibal Jones meets his woman and we learn why he lives in Southeast DC.
Hannibal Jones Mysteries
A high powered Washington attorney learns there are some problems he can’t solve in court. Dan Balor buys an apartment building in the heart of the city, hoping to create low income housing for good families. Instead he finds the building occupied by squatters: drug dealers, winos, hookers and professional criminals intent on staying in place.
Police and private investigators are unable to empty the building for use by paying residents. No one seems willing or able to take on this challenge until Balor meets an intense young man dressed in black named Hannibal Jones.
He calls himself a troubleshooter, but he finds more trouble in Southeast Washington than he expected. The people holding crack pipes are backed up by people holding guns, and Hannibal soon finds himself up against a local crime boss and his powerful mob connected father. The conflict spreads until Hannibal realizes that his stand against the mob could explode into a full-fledged riot unless he can somehow end it all, without surrendering the building and the neighborhood to the criminals.
Raul thought he had seen it all before. The white Volvo 850 GLT slid precisely over to the curb. The thin guy getting out had honey colored skin, but not from the sun. He had on wraparound dark glasses. Black suede jacket. Sharp creased black slacks. Black driving gloves. And Raul knew that smile. A pimp, a high roller, or maybe one of those high class con men. It all fit, except for the walk.
He walked like a cop.
"I need to see Adolfo." The black guy, barely six feet tall, had to look up into Raul's eyes. Raul didn't wear shoulder pads under his gray suit coat, but his body made it look like he did. When he pulled himself to his full height, the other man was lost entirely in his shadow.
"Who the hell are you?"
"Jones," the newcomer replied. "Hannibal Jones. Got a message for Adolfo."
"Adolfo ain't seeing nobody today." Raul was stone faced, the very model of the professional tough guy. He was pleased with his image.
"He'll see me." The black guy started past. Raul laid a hand on his shoulder, covering it completely. He figured he could toss this guy all the way to the gutter with one arm.
Jones did not so much pull or toss Raul as simply fold under him. The bigger man rolled forward, landing hard and awkwardly, face up on the cement. By the time he lifted his head, Jones was jogging down the four steps to the door.
Hannibal stepped into the small office, staring through a haze of acrid cigar smoke. He smiled as he walked toward the desk at the back, past two more fullback types sitting on either side of the room. Both guards drew pistols and aimed at his back, but Jones kept his eyes on the short, round man at the rear desk.
"No guns, please, Adolfo, I just want to talk."
"Well, before the boys break something you might need, just who the hell are you?" Adolfo Espino tapped ash from his cigar. "I ain't seen you on the force, and I don't know you from the street."
Jones perched a hip on Espino's desk. "Look, I ain't a cop, I'm just here to help somebody avoid some trouble." He ran a gloved hand back through short, dark brown hair that was more wavy than kinky. "One of your customers wants to renegotiate his loan contract."
"Uh-huh." Espino's swivel chair creaked as he leaned back grinning. "Eddy. Nicky. Throw this asshole out."
The one called Eddy grabbed Hannibal's left arm with both hands, while his partner took the back of Hannibal's collar. Hannibal glanced left. Poor guy, he thought. He's had his nose broken too many times already.
"Hey, can't we talk about this?" Hannibal's training fed responses to this situation directly to his limbs without the need for conscious thought. His right fist snapped around, smashing Eddy's already flat nose. Hannibal's left arm swung around and forward, dragging Eddy with it. As Eddy's head crashed down into the desk, Hannibal's right foot lashed back at an angle, dislocating Nicky's right knee. The big man howled. Before Nicky hit the floor, Hannibal had Espino out of his chair by his collar.
John Goodspeed, Book critic - The Star Democrat
Austin Camacho, the author of this tale of derring-do, unfolds the story line at the pace of an action movie. He also uses cinematic tricks to establish characters quickly.
Kevin Tipple, Readers Room
Like the others in this series, this very enjoyable novel features tight writing, plenty of action, and intriguing characters. Hannibal is fast becoming an old friend that this reader regularly looks forward to every time a new novel is released. This author and his three mystery novels to date are well worth the read and worthy of a place on your bookshelf.
Angela Etheridge, The Romance Reader's Connection
Forget about the flashy political glamour of Washington, D.C. Instead, think of the urban, "forgotten" parts of the city. Envision an apartment building overrun with drug dealers, winos, prostitutes, and thieves. Now imagine you have purchased the building with the intent to provide low-income housing to the less fortunate. The dregs of society will not move from the building, which is known in the neighborhood as a crack house. The police don't have the time or manpower necessary to permanently remove the bad element from your property, and you are ready to give up all hope of ever taking control of the building. Dan Balor, high-powered attorney, finds a way of assuming control over his building with the help of Hannibal Jones, THE TROUBLESHOOTER.
Hannibal Jones, both a former policeman and secret service agent, calls himself a troubleshooter because he takes on problems most people don't know how to handle. The novel starts off with a bang when Hannibal arrives at the private office of Adolfo Espino, loan shark and probable crime boss, with the purpose of establishing a repayment schedule for a gambler's debt. Hannibal easily outmaneuvers Espino's security team, establishes the payment plan, and leaves without causing or receiving too much physical damage. Hannibal meets up with Ray Santiago's home, meets Ray's lovely attorney daughter, Cindy, and witnesses, via live news, the destruction of his apartment building by fire. Cindy persuades Hannibal to meet with her boss, Dan Balor, in order to help keep his business going.
Because Dan Balor has asked the police and two other detectives for assistance in clearing out his apartment building in the heart of the city and thus for seen no success, he is skeptical of Hannibal's ability to take over the situation. Hannibal explains clearly: he'll do whatever it takes to clear out the building, and he won't stop until the job is done. Dan hires Hannibal without too much hope of success. At first, Hannibal is not overly successful. He is able to clear out the apartment of the various squatters who have taken up residence, but he finds himself battling Sal Ronzini, a small time crime lord and drug-dealer unwilling to release the crack house. When Hannibal realizes that Sal is not going to give up that apartment building without a fight, he calls in six men to help maintain control over the building. The heart-pounding climax at the end of the novel will keep you reading late into the night!
Without a doubt, THE TROUBLESHOOTER is one of the most exciting and entertaining pieces of literature I have read in an extremely long time. Painful and heart-racing fight scenes are written with attention to detail without being gratuitous, and Mr. Camacho's characters are gritty, realistic, and fascinating. While a tiny bit of Hannibal's earlier life and upbringing are mentioned, he is by nature an enigma. For example, Hannibal's multi-racial ethnicity allows Hannibal to cross back and forth between Afro-American and Anglo-American barriers, but he maintains his privacy until people ask about or refer to his ethnicity. He wears black sunglasses and black gloves at most times, so people are taken by surprise when they are allowed to see his hazel eyes. Hannibal is anything but subtle in his dealings with criminals: he is willing to fight dirty, but he doesn't want to cross the line. Hannibal Jones walks to the beat of his own drummer, and most readers will love Hannibal for doing what he does best--eliminating problems that most people are unwilling to solve. THE TROUBLESHOOTER is the third in the Hannibal Jones Mystery Series, and I cannot wait to read the other two!
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