Dead Men Don't Bite (Jake Dillon Adventure Thriller Series)

BOOK: Dead Men Don't Bite (Jake Dillon Adventure Thriller Series)
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Andrew Towning

Andrew had his first Jake Dillon
adventure thriller, The Constantine
Legacy, published in 2006. His writing
is a reflection of his extensive travels
and inherent interest in national security
and covert operations. Andrew lives
with his family in Dorset, where many
of Dillon’s tours take him. Andrew is
currently completing yet another in
the Dillon series of adventure thrillers.

Dead Men Don’t Bite
---------------------------------Andrew Towning
Copyright Andrew Towning 2013

All rights reserved. There is no part of this book that may be reproduced
or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, by any means
without written permission of Andrew Towning, except by a reviewer who
may quote brief passages in their review to be printed or reproduced for
social media broadcast.

ISBN: 978-1482754667

First published in the United States in 2008
Second edition published in Great Britain in 2013
Published by Andrew Towning
www.andrewtowning.co.uk

Chapter One
FLORIDA, USA

Dillon pulled the Jeep over to the side of the road
and switched on the interior light to check his map. It was
just after four-thirty in the morning, outside the temperature
was still in the high seventies and uncomfortably humid.
Tampa was three hundred and eighty miles back up Florida
State Highway forty-one, which meant that Key Largo,
must be very close now. There was a crossroad about half
a mile away. Selecting drive, Dillon spun the all terrain
vehicle off the dirt and back onto the tarmac in a cloud of
dust. The signpost showed the small town of Homestead to
be no more than a couple of miles up ahead and Key Largo
ten miles further on from there. Taking a cigarette from the
open packet on the passenger seat, he lit it with a solid gold
lighter.

It was raining very heavily. The road stretched out
before him, a fork of lightning shot out of the low cloud to
his right and he selected a station on the radio listening to a
little night-time jazz music, occasionally humming the tune
until he came to gates on the right and slowed to read the
sign. Flaking paint and years of weathering made it difficult
to read, but the inscription was clear enough. Johnson’s
Field. He went through the gates and followed the dirt track
to the edge of the grass runway.

Switching off the lights he paused thinking what a
remote sort of place this was. A couple of wooden huts
to one side and a large 1940’s Nissen type hanger but no
control tower although there was a wind sock of sorts and
light streaming out of the partially opened hanger doorway
as well as from the window of the nearest hut. He gently
eased the Jeep forward and across to the far edge of the
field; keeping to the blind side of the buildings, he sat there
in the dark, taking stock of his surroundings for a moment
and then took the Glock from the holdall on the seat next
to him. He checked the black 10mm automatic and slipped
it into the shoulder holster then pulled up the collar of his
flying jacket as he started towards the hanger in the rain.

Johnson’s Field is a crop duster’s strip, the
overwhelming smell of Avgas drifted in the damp night air
across from an old hand operated bowzer. Two antiquated
aeroplanes stood to one side in the old run-down hanger
but the aircraft that stood on the other side in the dim
light looked well enough, a Cessna Skyhawk with a single
prop piston engine. A young Hispanic looking mechanic
in overalls had his head inside the open cowling. The
cabin door was open and another much older man with a
clipboard sat in the pilot’s seat.

The man inside the cabin climbed down and the
mechanic closed the engine cowling, and as they emerged
the older man called. “We’re finished over here, Mr Parker.”

A tall-distinguished looking man in his late fifties
emerged from an office doorway at the side of the hanger.
He wore a smart charcoal grey business suit and a white
shirt and dark tie loosened off around the neck. “All right,
you fellas can go.” As they walked away he said to the
young mechanic in Spanish, “Any problems, Fernandes?”

“No problems, Senor Parker, just a little fine tuning.”

“Let’s hope, Senor, that this Englishman Dillon turns
up on time or else I will have been wasting my time.”
As Parker turned, a bearded man in his mid thirties
came in, the baseball cap and waterproof bomber jacket he
wore beaded with rain.
“He’ll be here,” Parker told him. I’ve been reliably
informed that this is one party he’ll not want to miss.”
“An English thrill seeker” the young man said with a
sneer. “That’s what we’ve come down to. The kind of man
who is nothing more than an adventurer.”
“Listen up sonny, if you want to go instead of the
Englishman, then what are you waiting for? The plane’s
over there, be my guest. But the odds of you coming back
at all are pretty slim. The DA’s department is all over us on
this one and boy do they want a result. Hell; I’d deal with
the devil himself to get this one in the bag.”
“Which you’ll probably have to, Senor.”
“Now that’s not a very nice thing to say – is it?”
Dillon called in fluent Spanish. “Not nice at all,” and he
stepped out of the darkness from behind a stack of old rusty
fifty-gallon pesticide drums at the rear of the hanger.
The bearded man put a hand inside his jacket, and
Dillon’s gun appeared instantly. “Hands high above your
head, that’s it, nice and easy now.”
Dillon walked out into the middle of the hanger and
ordered the bearded man down onto his knees extracting a
Smith & Weston from his right hand jacket pocket. “Well
look at this, you really can’t trust anyone these days, can
you? Tut–tut, didn’t your mother tell you that you can
pinch your fingers in these nasty noisy things?”
Parker said, “Mr Dillon? Jake Dillon?”
“That’s what it says on my passport.” Dillon slipped
the Smith & Weston into his belt, took out a packet of
cigarettes from his inside pocket and managed to remove
one while keeping the Glock trained on the man with the
beard. “And you are?” His speech was clear with a very
English public school accent.
“I’m Dan Parker of the FBI, and the man you have
on his knees is Steve Rainer, head of our Miami office. He
arranged the plane and just about everything else around
here.”
“Did he now? Well that’s something to be said in his
favour.” Dillon took the Smith & Weston from his belt and
handed it back. “Perhaps, Mr Rainer here would feel far
happier behind a desk. Playing with guns is a mug’s game,
especially when you leave the safety on.”
The bearded man flushed deeply; took the Smith &
Weston and put it back in its holster as he stood up. Parker
said mildly, “Mr Rainer is far happier using a high velocity
sniper’s rifle, and he is an expert shot as well as a first rate
field operative. Who, I might add, has flown covertly into
Cuba many times over the last three years.”
“Then why isn’t he going this time?” Dillon asked,
slipping the Glock back into the shoulder holster.
“Because, I asked for you personally.” The accented
feminine voice came from the hanger entrance. Only her
silhouette could be seen in the powerful headlights of the
vehicle that she had just stepped out of. The tall ravenhaired young woman walked slowly into the building and
across to where Dillon was standing. With every confident
step, her well fitting stone washed denim jeans, showed off
long slender legs to full effect. “You - Mr Dillon are late,”
she said in Spanish.
Parker quickly stepped forward. “Let me introduce
you to Miss Catalina Romerez, Mr Dillon, our agent in
Havana and your guide.”
“Is she now?” Dillon said. “So, tell me Agent
Romerez, why choose me? Why not one of your own
people, here in Florida or Cuba?”
“Because, Mr Dillon, I’ve been reliably informed by
London that you are the best. I’ve also read your record
and I must say it’s very impressive; public school education,
university honours degree in psychology, and then from
there into Army Intelligence where you made quite a name
for yourself. Since resigning your commission you have
worked covertly on many assignments both in the UK as
well as overseas.”
Dillon walked over to the stack of rusty old drums,
and sat on one, he didn’t interrupt or make any comment,
he just let her talk.
“Speaking to Mr Levenson-Jones in London, he
informs me that you have been suspended from active
assignments with his department indefinitely, and that
your employers Ferran & Cardini have been advised by
the British Secret Service to terminate your contract with
immediate effect.” The twenty nine year old agent, with
the pussycat like eyes, paced slowly around the hanger in
a large circle while she demonstrated that she had done
her homework. “I would have thought, Mr Dillon. As it
was that unfortunate incident in Dorset which caused
your present predicament, that this unofficial assignment
would be just the kind of opportunity you’d be looking for?
You also know Harry Caplin; what he looks like, how he
operates and in particular his weaknesses. In fact I believe it
was you, whom he, what is it you say in England? Ah yes,
led up the garden path. Is that not correct?”
“Well now, listen to the little lady from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. It’s plain to see that you know very
little if anything about Harry Caplin, and even less about
actually flying into Cuban airspace without getting blown
out of the sky. Let me tell you something about dear old
Harry, Agent Romerez. I do know what he’s capable of, and
he really isn’t a very nice drug trafficker. As for the rest, well
let’s just say that he’s extremely well practised in the art of
lying.” He saw that the mechanic who was leant against the
wing of one of the crop dusters was smiling.
“Ah, so you do speak English then?”
“A little Senor.”
“Fernandes is Cuban,” Dan Parker said.
Dillon looked up. “What do you think?”
Fernandes said, “I was in the air force for eight
years. I know the airstrip that you will be flying to. It was
abandoned by the military in the sixties during the Russian
missile crisis. It’s only ever used as an emergency strip now,
but the runway is sound enough though.”
“What about the flight?” Dillon asked Steve Rainer.
“It’s one hundred and forty miles of low altitude
flying to the abandoned strip on the North East Coast of
Cuba, very close to the infamous ‘Bay of Pigs’ Mr Dillon.
But, if you’re just some weekend private pilot out here
seeking revenge I’m afraid you won’t last more than forty
miles.”
Dillon looked at the bearded man and speaking
softly said. “Let’s just say, Mr Rainer that I’m not interested
in taking revenge, that’s not my style, and I’m not that kind
of pilot. So what can I expect along the way?”
“Water, lots of water, you’ve got the Atlantic on
one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. There are
a few small islands along the way but nothing much until
you reach Cuba. By the way, the twenty four hour weather
forecast stinks, I checked it myself earlier but that’s not
your only problem, it’s the air force, they patrol the whole
area regularly.”
“Russian built Mi-8 helis – right?”
“Right first time, Senor.” It was the Cuban who
answered in Spanish. He slapped the wing of the Skyhawk
with one hand. “This is a first rate aeroplane, but no match
for the heliii - copters, they are very fast.” He looked Dillon
in the eye. “But maybe you have a death wish, Senor?”
“That is enough Fernandes,” Parker said angrily.
“Oh it’s been said many times before, goes with the
job, old son.” Dillon laughed as he picked up his holdall off
the floor. “Now then Miss Romerez, why don’t you and I
go and take a look at the charts.”
As they moved towards the office Parker said, “Our
people did make it clear? If the Cubans catch you, my
orders are to deny all knowledge of this operation. You’ll
be on your own.”
“Understood,” Dillon said over his shoulder.
They went into the office where a number of charts
were spread across a large makeshift table in the middle
of the room. Dillon took two and started to study them in
detail pushing the rest out of the way.
“When would we leave?” Romerez asked.
“Eighteen hundred hours,” Dillon told her. “Best
time of all, we’ll arrive just before sunset. I really do hope
that this rain keeps up though.”
Romerez, genuinely curious, said, “Why did you
agree to do this? Why risk your life? It’s certainly not for the
pay and you don’t seem the type to have to prove yourself.”
She seemed suddenly embarrassed. “What I mean is. I know
something of your past, but…”
“Is that so?” Dillon said. “Well as Parker said, this is
one party that I wouldn’t miss. I owe dear old Harry a very
long time in the State Penitentiary.”
“That doesn’t answer my question, why risk your
life? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing, you know?”
“Oh, I’m forgetting.” Dillon looked up and gave her
a lop sided smile, his face took on warmth and immense
charm. “I should tell you Romerez, that I’m the last of a
long line of great British adventurers. Now let’s see exactly
where it is we’re going, and by the look of these charts, we
have a lot to get through today. So we’d better make the
most of the time we’ve got.” Leaning over the charts he
began to study them, and her, more closely.
It was 17.45hrs, the rain was much heavier now,
the clouds staying low and menacing as Dillon stood in
the doorway of the wooden hut, and peered out across the
field. Every now and then a fork of lightening would appear
somewhere in the distance. Dan Parker and Steve Rainer
came out of the hanger and walked toward him.
The tall-distinguished looking man in the suit said,
“Romerez tells me that you’re going to fly, can you really
expect to take off in this weather?”
“The problem is not taking off, it’s the landing,
now that will be fun.” Dillon called over to Fernandes, “Is
everything set?”
Fernandes sauntered as far as the hanger entrance
wiping his hands on an oily rag, he looked out, standing
just inside and keeping well out of the rain. He called over
to where the three men stood under the canopy of the
hut. “Yes Senor, both fuel tanks are full and everything is
working perfectly.”
“And what about this?” Dillon asked Steve Rainer,
pointing up to the dark sky.
Looking up towards the thick black clouds the
bearded man said gloomily. “As of thirty minutes ago, the
short range weather forecast for this region is the same as
was earlier today. This is here to stay for at least the next
twelve to twenty four hours and it’s going to get far worse
before it gets better, have no doubts about that.”
“Excellent news, then let’s get this show on the
road shall we?” Dillon said cheerfully and walked over to
the hanger entrance, Fernandes gave him a sullen look of
contempt as he passed by towards the Skyhawk.
He climbed into the interior and started to go
through a series of pre-flight checks. Looking around the
cabin everything appeared to be in order. Stepping out of the
small aircraft, Dillon checked that both fuel tanks were full,
and did the same with the engine oil. Walking once around
the Skyhawk he inspected the condition of the airframe,
wings, rudder, and ailerons. This done he climbed back into
the cabin to find Romerez already sat in the co-pilot’s seat
running through the instrument checklist.
Dan Parker came over as Dillon settled into the
pilot’s seat. “Good luck Agent Romerez and may God go
with you, Mr Dillon.”
“I very much doubt that Agent Parker, but I suppose
that there’s always a slim chance that he may.” And he
closed the door and clamped it in place.
He turned the starter switch, and the engine coughed,
roaring into life. Romerez set the GPS navigation system,
while Dillon checked that the oil pressure was correct, and
that both magnetos were ok, with a quick pull back on
the controls to make sure they were full and free moving.
Dillon then set the channel frequency to the one Dan Parker
had given him to monitor the Cuban Air Force, and then
switched the radio off. He checked the brakes and then
throttled up gently, easing the small aircraft forward.
Outside the hanger he paused to strap himself
in. Rain streamed off his windscreen, as he did one last
instrument check, and then taxied to the other end of the
runway to turn the aircraft’s nose into the wind. He glanced
across at Romerez, and then pushed the throttle lever fully
forward. The single engine roar deepening as he boosted the
power. Thundering down the bumpy grass strip, he checked
his speed, sixty and seventy, eighty knots. Rotate, he said
to himself, and then gently pulled back the stick, within
seconds the Cessna had disappeared in a southerly direction
into the stormy Florida sky, the sound of the engine already
fading.
Parker ran a hand over his cropped silver coloured
hair. “God, what a crap job this is sometimes.” He turned
to Rainer. “What do you think? Has he got any chance at
all of bringing this guy Caplin back?”
Steve Rainer shrugged. “He’ll be all right, that one
is like a fox, cunning and resilient. But then who knows, he
may get his British head blown off?”
Parker said, “We’ve got a long wait ahead of us, let’s
get some coffee.”
Fernandes said sullenly, “I’m going back to the
hanger to clear my tools away.”
Parker and Rainer walked the short distance towards
one of the huts. He watched the pair of them go up the steps
and inside the timber building before taking out his mobile
phone and dialling a series of numbers. When a voice
answered he spoke rapidly in Spanish. “This is Fernandes,
get me Colonel Serra.”
The clipped reply came almost immediately. “Serra.”
“This is Fernandes, I’ve got something for you
Colonel. A Cessna Skyhawk has just left Johnson’s Field,
two occupants, one FBI, heading for the abandoned military
strip on the northeast coast. The aircraft radio has been set
to your own frequency, but I’ve no doubt the Englishman
will have it switched off until the very last minute.”
“Who is this Englishman, anyone we know?”
“His name Colonel, is Dillon – Jake Dillon. He’s sixtwo tall, messy dark hair, difficult to put an age on, but I’d
say somewhere around forty. Very suave and charming, but
the eyes they are as cold as gun metal.”

BOOK: Dead Men Don't Bite (Jake Dillon Adventure Thriller Series)
9.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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