Thursday, February 27, 2014

On The Pineapple Express by H. L. Wegley

In one of the most beautiful places on earth, the ugliest of crimes holds young innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, that a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene.

With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled ...permanently?


Olympic Peninsula, Saturday, November 2, 11: 00 AM 

Jennifer Akihara’s SUV slid sideways on Highway 101 when she turned in at the Lake Quinault store. She jerked the wheel left, tapped the brakes, and coaxed the vehicle into a parking spot. Huge raindrops assaulted the windshield like bullets trying to blow holes in the safety glass. The wipers slapped out their liveliest rhythm, but her heart thumped even faster as she hit Special Agent Peterson’s speed dial number on her cell.

Lee Brandt, her fiancé, sat silently in the passenger seat, but his foot tapped out a tempo somewhere between andante and presto.

She pushed the speakerphone.

Lee needed to take his fair share of the coming abuse.

 “Peterson, this is Jennifer Akihara.”

 “How is my favorite NSA sleuth on this miserable day?”

 “I stumbled across something near my research site on the peninsula… something you should know about.”

 “Is there a little smuggling going on along the coast?”

 “You could say that. Drugs smuggled in, young girls smuggled out.”

Peterson’s end went silent.

"This morning I analyzed the data downloaded from my wireless scanner near Forks. Nearly thirteen days ago, it recorded an encrypted cell-phone conversation."

"Cell-phone conversation? You chose that location for your testing because there’s no cell service. But you need to—"

"You mean no legal cell service. When I had a colleague from Fort Meade decrypt the call, I heard traffickers selling girls.‛

Silence again.

"Can you get the unencrypted conversation to me today?" His usual booming voice of authority had softened.

"I’ll e-mail it from my cell when we’re finished talking. But, Petersen, the next exchange of girls is set for tomorrow night. Can you move quickly enough to stop it?‛

"You intercepted a private call. That raises some legal issues we—"

"Legal issues? There’s nothing legal about that call, and what they’re doing is worse than illegal."

"You’re not thinking like a defense attorney. First, I need to analyze the conversation. If we have enough to go on, I can form a team by late tonight or tomorrow. But without specific information, no, I can’t guarantee we can stop the exchange. If we botch things, we might never get a conviction."

"Lee is forecasting the Pineapple Express rainstorm to transition to a strong windstorm by tomorrow. The message indicated they don’t do exchanges if there’s even a small craft advisory. So the storm may delay the exchange and buy us a little more time, but we can’t count on that. We do know they’re holding the girls at an abandoned mill site on the peninsula."

"Where’s the mill?"

"We haven’t located it yet." She had lit the fuse on her bomb.

Lee plugged his ears.

She waited for the FBI agent to explode.

"We? Yet? Where are you, Jennifer?"

"At Lake Quinault. Lee’s with me, and we have five possible sites to check out."

"Far enough so I can’t stop you." Peterson mumbled. "So…you don’t know where the girls are, but you’re driving around to abandoned mill sites?"

"Something like that."

"Jennifer, you need to back off. If you’re right, these people will kill anyone who is a perceived threat. You could get the girls killed by charging in."

"Look, Petersen, Lee and I have collected some information. We’ve planned well, and we won’t do anything stupid. But there’s no way I’m going to stand by and let a group of girls be sold into a living hell. So you get your team out here as fast as you can. We’ll call you when we find the girls. But for now, Lee and I are proceeding."

"You can’t do that! It’s too dangerous. At least wait until we can get out there."

"There’s not enough time. I’m going to terminate the call now so I can send you the intercepted message. And, Peterson, ten days ago one of the girls hanged herself with her own shoelaces rather than let these guys sell her. Lee and I are going forward. I suggest you do the same. Good-bye."

About The Author

H. L. Wegley served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who, while working as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published one non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the '50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.

Purchase On The Pineapple Express at:

(This book releases to other sources on 2/28)

H. L. Wegley is giving away a copy of On The Pineapple Express. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Sharon A Lavy said...

I love the cover of this book!

cjajsmommy said...

What a tough topic to engage. I am interested in reading this book and learning more about this issue. cjajsmommy (at) gmail (dot) com

Rebecca Maney said...

This sounds exactly like my kind of book! I would love to win a copy!

Jackie McNutt said...

The Pineapple Express looks like an interesting read. Thank you for featuring it

H L Wegley said...

Thanks, Sharon! Nicola Martinez, Pelican Book Group EIC, did all 4 covers for this series. I like this cover (book 2) but my favorite is the next book, coming in June, Moon over Maalaea Bay. I think it will be featured on The Barn Door Book Loft later this year.

H L Wegley said...

As Cjajsmommy said, this was a tough topic to research and write about. But, I have a philosophy for approaching dark subject matter that, I believe, makes it an exciting, non-graphic, uplifting read so the very people most at risk for trafficking, our teenage daughters and granddaughters, can read the story, be entertained, and yet be appropriately warned.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a to be read book for sure! I am intrigued! Great cover! mandn(at)wisper(dash)wireless(dot)com

sam said...

We've been to the Olympic Peninsula and it helps me imagine places that might be mentioned in your story of saving trafficked girls. San Diego is a big area for trafficking, so we hear about it. Love to read your book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

H L Wegley said...

Sam, Another child trafficking story was set in San Diego, Deliver Me from Evil by Kathi Macias. I chose the area around the Olympic National Park to highlight the contrast between the beauty of God's creation and the ugliness of this crime. Also, the location gave me a means of smuggling people out of the country using a remote area of the coast. I used some pictures of the Peninsula in my book trailer. You can see them at On the Pineapple Express Trailer.

Anonymous said...

Hello Harry. I tho't for sure I had put my comment on here, but if so it has gotten deleted. I am very interested in reading this book. I have always heard of this happening and my first tho't when I hear of a missing child tat I always pray it isn't these people who have them, but I feel so many of ones who are never found are. It became even more horrid when I read the book by Kathi Macias. Now I know even more hoe horrible these children's lives are. I pray somehow we will find a way to rescue more of them. This is my prayer. Now I want to read yours. Hoping to win.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Melissa Oldaker said...

Sounds intriguing! Thanks!

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