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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Peter Romero Mysteries
  • Series Number:2
  • Pages:212
  • Paperback ISBN:9781944244538

Poisoned By God's Flesh

A Peter Romero Mystery

by David Knop

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Cochiti Police Officer Peter Romero finds the teen daughter of his former love poisoned by psilocybe mexicana known as God’s flesh. Against mounting demands from his wife and stern warnings by the FBI, he alone pursues the case. Suddenly, a troubling series of unrelated events begin to happen around him—a drug sting gone bad, the brutal murders of innocents, and the mysterious disappearance of his wife. Facing the most violent confrontation of his career, Romero’s quest–– now it’s personal–– leads him into the realm of the supernatural. Enter a quirky Navajo shaman who goads Romero into pushing beyond his physical limits and taunts him for his unwillingness to die. Romero hunts for a stolen nuclear weapons transporter and blazes a trail through mystical Navajo sorcery and the depths of White Man’s avarice.
Cochiti Pueblo Police Officer Peter Romero’s discovers teen Rachel Quintana’s decaying body in an abandoned trailer in a desolate corner of the reservation. By law, he relinquishes his investigation to FBI Special Agent Jean Reel, but despite her warnings to stay away, he is drawn deep into the case. Rachel’s father, Vicente sets out to kill Rachel’s boyfriend. Adelina, Rachel’s mother and Romero’s former love, pleads for help. Against the warnings of his wife, Costancia, Romero searches, but John Michael Ellis, a cartel hit man, wants Vicente more. He abducts Romero and commands Vicente’s delivery while holding Adelina hostage. Romero must inform the FBI, but he can’t risk it. Romero enlists his brother-in-law, Taos police officer Joseph Cordero, to guard Costancia at the family homestead on the Navajo reservation. Joseph gives Romero twenty-four hours to track down Ellis and his captive. A pueblo elder warns that Ellis is not the real problem. The FBI arrests Romero for obstruction. Jailed, he convinces them he can track down Ellis. The mission fails and Romero is nearly killed, but a bizarre re-enactor named Kit Carson rescues him. Romero watches a nuclear weapons Safeguard Transporter pass. He learns that Ellis knows Vicente once worked with Safeguard Transporters and wants one opened. Romero knows he must stop Ellis alone and in secret because of the risk to Adelina. A mysterious Navajo shaman befriends Romero and introduces him to a strange spirit world. He then transports a stunned Romero to an abandoned Army ammunition depot. There, an invisible Romero sees Ellis conspiring with representatives of Al Qaeda. Romero tells Reel everything but she charges him under national security laws, then frees him when Ellis hijacks the transporter. Romero finds the transporter hidden near the family homestead, but Costancia and her brother are missing. Carson confronts Romero and says he has been hired by the cartel to kill Ellis for going renegade. Romero has no choice but to ally with the hit man, his only hope for finding his wife and Adelina and dupes Carson to believe he knows how to open the Safeguard Transporter. The two men assault the transporter, but their plans are aborted. The transporter disappears. To his horror, Romero discovers his brother-in-law may be in collusion with Carson and the cartel. Demanding to know where he is keeping Costancia, Romero beats Joseph until he reveals he is scamming the hoods and knows where the transporter is now hidden. The plan goes bad and Ellis mortally wounds Romero. The shaman takes Romero to another world and shows where Adelina and Costancia are held captive. Romero watches Joseph kill Carson and sees Ellis try to break into the transporter. Romero cannot decide if he is alive, then he understands he is transformed, not dead. When Ellis tries to open the transporter, Romero charges and kills him. At the family homestead, Joseph confesses his association with the cartel and commits suicide. Back home, Romero, on the verge of divorce, is fired by the pueblo, and charged by the FBI. Despite the profound lack of appreciation, Romero realizes that what he did was right, and the spirit world is where he belongs.
About the author
David E. Knop is a retired Marine officer with twenty years of service. He saw two tours in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer and naval gunfire support officer. As a staff officer, he wrote and edited numerous military operations plans. Dave also authored feature articles for the Field Artillery Journal and Marine Corps Gazette. In civilian life, Dave became a technical writer and produced many electronic and automotive manuals for industry leaders such as SAIC and Computer Sciences Corporation. Dave’s work for the Eighth Air Force received an award of excellence in a Northern California Society of Technical Communications competition. Dave’s first novel, The Smoked Mirror, a supernatural thriller featuring former Marine, Cochiti Pueblo police officer Peter Romero, placed honorable mention in both the Maryland Writers' Association and Reading Writers contests. The manuscript also qualified top ten in the Wahmpreneur Books Fiction contest. Dave’s second mystery, Mining Sacred Ground, brings the role of spirit warrior to the subgenre of Native American detectives. This novel was a semi-finalist in a recent Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Contest and placed top ten in the Killer Nashville contest. Dave’s third novel, Poisoned by God’s Flesh was awarded a bronze medal by the Military Writers Society of America, and received Honorable Mention in the 2014 Eric Hofer writing contest. An alumnus of Book Passage Mystery Writer’s workshops, Taos Institute of the Arts, Maui Writer’s Retreats. Dave is a lifelong student of Native American mythology.