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The Catalina Cabal
Bill Thesken, author
A peaceful sail around Catalina Island takes an ugly turn as a professional bodyguard gets dragged into the middle of a violent human smuggling ring.
Thesken’s suspenseful second thriller starring private security agent Badger Thompson (after 2016’s Edge of the Pit) involves him in the horrors of human trafficking, after a grim discovery off the coast of Catalina. Following a relatively simple bodyguard job for a “top of the pop charts singer” whom he previously rescued from “her wanna-be rap star billionaire boyfriend,” Badger’s post-assignment relaxation proves short-lived. While sailing off the island’s coast, he spots a woman’s body floating in the water wearing a wetsuit and a life vest. He retrieves it and finds a driver’s license identifying the corpse as that of Mei Young Lee, a “local girl” from Long Beach. Badger’s curiosity is piqued further when the police tell him that no one reported her missing, and that two years earlier a similarly garbed “oriental man” was found under similar circumstances and never identified. The operative is later shocked to learn that Mei was probably the victim of a widespread and highly profitable smuggling operation. Thesken heightens the tension of Badger’s pursuit of the truth by adroitly interjecting chapters from the bad guys’ perspective. Readers will look forward to Badger’s next outing. (BookLife)