Jake Wolfe Book 3
by Mark Nolan
Attorney by day, assassin by night.
Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer who leads a secret life. Trained by the CIA, he now wants peace and quiet, practicing law and living on a boat with his war dog. But when his city is shocked by a serial killer and he’s framed for the murder of a friend, Jake must race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.
Drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse; at every step Jake and his loved ones are being hunted by the clever, twisted madman. As the city is gripped in fear of the seemingly random shootings that could strike anybody, Jake investigates and uncovers ominous clues until a shocking reversal of fortune changes everything.
With the clock ticking and lives at stake, will Jake be able to find and stop the killer in time, or will he become the next victim?
Buckle up for a wild ride as Jake Wolfe and his exceptionally intelligent dog, Cody, return to action in this page-turning thriller in Mark Nolan’s bestselling series that has earned thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads.
At half-past midnight, newly licensed attorney Jake Wolfe lay in bed staring at the ceiling and waiting for orders.
Orders to kill.
He lay on top of the covers, fully dressed except for his boots, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Beneath him, he felt his sixtyfoot power yacht, the Far Niente, rock gently on the water, where it was berthed at his boat slip.
In the stillness, he listened as small waves lapped at the hull.
The boat creaked in a familiar way, the rigging from a nearby sailboat flapped in the breeze, and a passing seagull called to another. He knew every sound of the boat, as if she was an old friend with her own personality.
Closing his eyes, he wondered how it was possible that he’d become an assassin. After serving four years in the Marines and later doing secret black ops missions for the CIA’s Special Activities Division, he’d received an honorable discharge at his end of active service. He’d come home and studied law online, had passed the bar exam, and had started a solo law practice. The fighting should all be behind him now, but Uncle Sam had come calling again, in need of a patriot to help protect the homeland.
His girlfriend, Sarah Chance, should be in bed with him. But she’d accidentally witnessed Jake assassinate three terrorists, and now she was afraid to spend the night.
Jake cursed and thought about the liquor cabinet in the galley. A few drinks of Redbreast Irish whiskey could help him forget about life and get some sleep. It was only natural if you had Irish blood in your veins. No, not tonight. He shook his head and pushed that temptation out of his mind. He had to stay alert.
A light rain began to patter quietly against the boat. The buzzing of his encrypted black phone on the nightstand interrupted his thoughts.
Jake noticed his adopted war dog, Cody, wake up from where he’d been sleeping on the bed. The dog looked at him with wise brown eyes, quirking one eyebrow. Jake smiled at his faithful friend. Cody was a Golden Lab—a yellow Labrador retriever and Golden Retriever mix—with short, wavy hair.
“At ease, Marine,” Jake said, and scratched Cody behind his ears.
Sitting up, Jake grabbed the phone. It was a call from Shannon McKay. He thumbed the answer icon. “Wolfe.”
“We have a situation,” McKay said. “The one I warned you about.”
She spoke in a commanding voice, always serious and professional. In their working relationship she was the starched shirt and he was the loose cannon.
Jake saw her image on an encrypted program similar to Skype or FaceTime. She was wearing a charcoal-gray suit jacket over a white blouse, the telltale bulge of a pistol in a shoulder holster
under her left arm. Staring directly at the camera with a nononsense gaze, she projected the image of a powerful, capable, and dangerous person—someone who could give an order and you’d be dead, or soon wish you were.
Jake made light of the deadly situation with a dark humor they both shared. “I’ve got pants on and I’m about to drink some strong coffee.”
“So far, so good, but no whiskey in the coffee; I need you alert.”
Jake smiled ruefully. She knew him too well. They shared a complicated history, but they’d earned each other’s trust and respect, although they still traded barbs and challenges.
“The mission?” Jake asked as he walked to the galley with Cody following. He knew missions were often kept secret until the last minute, to protect operations security.
“A high value target I’ve been tracking. He’s a foreign banking executive who secretly helps terrorists launder their opium money and buy assault rifles and rocket launchers from arms dealers. Those weapons are fired at our troops, and some of them are smuggled into the U.S. and sold to criminal gangs.”
Opening the sliding door, Jake let Cody out onto the aft deck to do his business on a section of artificial grass. “Is this related to the drug gang I fought with recently?”
“Correct. You shut them down, but this guy was their money man.”
“Still conducting business as usual?”
“Yes. Recently, in Los Angeles, a gang of criminals robbed a bank while wearing body armor and carrying AKs sold through his pipeline. They injured several LEOs and one police officer died who had recently returned to duty after her maternity leave.”
Jake cursed and thought about when he’d served overseas as a military dog handler. Some of his best friends had been killed by AK-47s. And his good friend Stuart, Cody’s former handler, made it home alive but had died of a heroin overdose. The deaths of his friends had cut deep wounds in his soul. “This dirtbag gets rich by arming terrorists and cop killers?”
McKay pursed her lips. “He also helped fund the overseas terrorist cell that was beheading women who refused to be sex slaves.”
“The men I terminated.”
“The very same.”
“Was he aware of the beheadings?”
“He knew exactly who he was aiding and abetting. Now, he’s funding a shipment of Stingers that are on their way to the United States.”
Jake almost cringed thinking about the FIM-92 Stinger, a shoulder-launched heat-seeking missile. “We can’t let those weapons fall into the wrong hands.”
“Agreed. One of the Stingers from a shipment to Europe was used to shoot down an airliner over the Baltic Sea. Another supply is now on its way to California. We need to put a stop to that. You could help us do so tonight if you’re willing to serve your country again and shut down the money supply.”
Jake felt his sense of duty weighing on his shoulders. “Did you say the banker is designated as a high-value target?”
“Yes. My orders are to eliminate this HVT from the chessboard.”
“I’m willing, but why me? You must have plenty of wild-eyed former Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, and infantry Marine veterans who’d love to kick ass.”
“Three reasons. First, you agreed to twelve missions and this is one of them. Second, you’re closest to his location. Third, this man funded the reward money when terrorists put a bounty on you and Duke.” Duke. Jake was quiet for a moment, taking a deep breath and letting it out. When he spoke, his voice was low and menacing.
“He’s the dirtbag who paid them to kill my dog when we were deployed?”
She nodded. “Yes. The reward was twenty thousand U.S. dollars for any war dog’s tattooed ear.”
Jake’s temper flared and he began pacing back and forth, clenching his right hand into a fist, righteous anger rising to the surface. “Who is he? Where is he?”
“I’m sorry to bring up painful memories, but I thought you’d want to be the one who dealt with this … person.”
“Show me his face and location. I’ll go there right now and break his neck with my bare hands.”
Jake Wolfe Book 2
Every marriage has a secret, but this one is deadly.
Lauren Stephens wakes up to find her husband, Gene, has vanished during the night. His phone is dead. Desperate, she hires Jake Wolfe and his war dog, Cody. They search the house and discover something so disturbing that Jake won’t allow Lauren near it. “No, if you see this, there is no unseeing it.”
Lauren thought she had it all: a loving partner, two great kids, a successful business, and a beautiful home in the San Francisco hills. But all of that is about to come crashing down, due to a missing husband, a hidden past, and a frightening secret that will shock a trusting wife to the core. Gene has enemies, and now they want something from Lauren.
Jake Wolfe is a flawed man who has a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wants to leave his secret, violent past behind him, but when Lauren and her children are threatened, his protective instinct takes command. Jake soon finds himself involved in a dangerous conspiracy, targeted for death, and engaged in battle with a powerful, unseen group who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
Jake’s going to have to think fast and fight hard to protect Cody, Lauren and her kids.
Vigilante Assassin is “Jake Wolfe book two” in the ongoing series. It can be read as a stand-alone, or you can start with book one, titled: Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie.
Both of these Kindle Unlimited books in the Jake Wolfe mystery thriller novel series are available to read for free with your subscription to Kindle Unlimited.
Lauren Stephens awoke before dawn with a sense of deep foreboding. She reached out to her husband, but Gene wasn’t beside her.
She went to the kitchen and saw that he’d brewed a pot of coffee. She poured two cups and carried them to Gene’s study, thinking he might be in there trading stock options online. It would be good to have coffee and a few minutes of conversation alone with her man before they both went to work.
Gene wasn’t in the study, though the lights were on. Lauren smelled something unusual—something vaguely disturbing. She wasn’t sure what it could be or where it was coming from.
Had he already left for work? No, he usually ate breakfast with the kids—and anyway he would have sent her a text message if he’d needed to leave the house without saying goodbye. She checked her phone; no new texts from him. Where was he?
She walked down the hallway, and opened the door to the garage. His SUV was still there.
Maybe he’d gone for a walk in the dark before breakfast. He’d never done that before, but there was a first time for everything. She checked the alarm system, but the digital screen showed that the alarm had stayed on all night, just like always. She blew out a breath. Gene had to be inside the house—but where?
She called his phone and it went to voicemail. Anxiety rising, she took deep breaths the way she’d been told to by her therapist. Her fears might be irrational, but ever since she’d become what some people called “rich and famous,” due to her successful clothing company, she’d been getting hate email and online death threats from stalkers and trolls. It had made her paranoid, afraid to be in her own home, and she’d insisted on having an alarm system installed.
After the calming breaths, she called him again. This time she left a voicemail. “Gene, where are you? I’m getting worried.” She wanted to raise her voice, but the kids were still sleeping.
Fear coursing through her veins, she ran down the hallway and threw open the door to her nine-year-old daughter’s room. She found Chrissy in bed sound asleep, snuggled up with her softball glove instead of the teddy bear she’d favored for so long. Lauren closed the door with a sigh of relief and went to the next room. She watched her son, Ben, her six-year-old, turn over in bed and mumble something in his sleep. He was a sensitive child with an active imagination and was probably dreaming about the bedtime story she’d read to him the night before.
Maybe Gene had been sleepwalking, and had fallen down and hit his head. Or maybe he’d had a heart attack or a stroke. He might be on a bathroom floor in need of medical help. She wrung her hands and wondered for the umpteenth time why they had bought this mansion. Who needed all these extra rooms they never used?
She searched the house. First, their bedroom. Gene’s favorite shoes were still in his closet, but his house slippers were not. She didn’t find his wallet or car keys on the dresser. Next, the exercise room—plenty of spouses had dropped dead on treadmills. He wasn’t there. She then checked all the
bathrooms, and the spare bedrooms. There was no sign of him. Every time she called his phone, she got no answer.
In the living room, Gene’s overcoat hung in the coat closet.
She checked the pockets. No phone. The coat smelled familiar, with a trace of his cologne, and she ached for him to hug her and say everything was okay.
Headlights cut across the room, and Lauren turned to see a car driving up the long driveway that divided the acre of front lawn. That would be Isabel, the nanny, coming to make breakfast for the kids and get them ready for school. Or, at least, it should be the nanny. Who else could it be at this early hour?
Lauren wondered if she should go to the master bedroom and get her pistol. She was somewhat afraid of guns, even though she owned one for protection.
Get a grip. With her palms sweating, she called Todd, the head of security at the high-rise building where Gene leased an office for his real estate firm.
“Todd, this is Lauren Stephens. I’ve been trying to call Gene, but I think his phone battery is dead. Have you seen him this morning?”
“No, ma’am, he hasn’t entered the building.”
“I’m worried about him. When I woke up he was gone, but his car is still in the garage and the alarm system has been on all night without interruption.”
There was a pause, then Todd said, “Would you like me to send one of my guys to your house?”
“Yes. Thank you.” Lauren ended the call.
She turned off the alarm, opened the front door to let Isabel inside, then closed and locked the door behind her. She explained the situation to Isabel, who then went to the kitchen and began preparing breakfast for the kids.
Lauren paced back and forth in the living room until another set of headlights approached the house. The new vehicle, a white SUV, had a bar of yellow lights on top, but they weren’t flashing.
She was grateful that at least the neighbors wouldn’t see anything out of the ordinary to gossip about.
To her surprise, Todd got out of the car. He looked like a college football player and was dressed in a security uniform of a light blue shirt, navy slacks and a windbreaker. Lauren unlocked the door and let him inside.
“I decided to come over myself,” Todd said.
“Where have you looked so far?”
“In the bedrooms, bathrooms, and the garage,” Lauren said.
“Does this house have an attic or basement?”
“An attic, no basement.”
Todd checked the attic and found nothing. In the garage, he looked inside the cars and opened their trunks. Then, retracing the steps Lauren had already taken, he searched the house, looking in closets and under the beds.
Finally, he went outside and walked the perimeter of the mansion, shining his flashlight in the dark.
Back inside, he told her, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’ve looked everywhere except your kids’ rooms. You should check those, and if he’s not there, contact the police and ask for the Missing Persons Unit.”
Lauren felt a chill run down her spine. The reliable man who was the father of her children and her partner in life, a missing person?
She wondered who she might lean on for help. Her parents were both gone. She’d been an only child. Many of her friends had fallen away when she’d become financially successful. Most of the people she met these days wanted something from her. As she caught another faint whiff of that strangely disturbing smell, she felt alone, afraid, and vulnerable to … something.
Dead Lawyers Don't Lie
Jake Wolfe Book 1
A mysterious killer who calls himself The Artist is assassinating wealthy lawyers in San Francisco. When war veteran Jake Wolfe accidentally takes his picture during a murder, The Artist adds Jake to his kill list and he becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse that only one of them can survive. How far would you go to protect your loved ones from a killer? Jake wants to leave his top secret, violent past life behind him. But the reluctant, flawed hero can't ignore his duty and his personal moral compass.
This gripping thriller is full of suspense, plot twists and surprises. It features a cast of interesting characters, including several strong-willed women, two wise-cracking San Francisco Police Homicide Inspectors, one highly intelligent dog, and a philosophical killer who shares Jake's admiration for Van Gogh paintings but still plans to kill him anyway. As Jake gets closer to unraveling a merciless conspiracy, his life gets turned upside down and the danger level increases, adding to the growing suspense. This entertaining page-turner starts out as a murder mystery and then shifts gears into a high-speed action thriller that takes you on a roller-coaster ride to the riveting ending. A good read for those who enjoy mysteries, suspense, action and adventure, vigilante justice, unique characters, witty dialogue and a little romance too. Now on sale in over a dozen countries around the world. Be the first among your friends to read it.
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San Francisco Superior Court Building Criminal Courtroom Number 8
On the morning before attorney Richard Caxton was shot, he spent an hour in court doing what he did best—lying to the jury.
This time around, Caxton’s client was the son of a wealthy mortgage banker. Brice Riabraun had “allegedly” been driving under the influence of alcohol when he’d crashed his luxury SUV into the Tate family’s economy car. In court, Caxton claimed that the police had mishandled the case.
In Caxton’s successful cases, he often found a loophole in the law, or a small procedural error by the police, or a semibelievable alibi that would hold up just long enough to bamboozle a jury. He exploited these opportunities with the smooth-talking technique of a used car salesman. Other attorneys in the city marveled at—and envied—the creatively dishonest con man.
After arguing relentlessly for his version of the truth, Caxton listened to the court clerk read the jury’s verdict aloud and pronounce Riabraun not guilty.
Judge Emerson frowned. Caxton had to make an effort not to laugh.
Brian Tate bolted from his chair and railed at the jury. “How could you find him innocent when he was driving with a 0.15 blood alcohol level? Witnesses said he drank seven beers before he crashed into our car and almost killed my wife and kids!”
Tate’s wife, Judy, sat next to him with her arm in a plaster cast. The twelve jurors seated in the jury box averted their eyes and didn’t reply to him. Tate turned and stared at Caxton and his client with the righteous fury of someone who had been cheated out of justice.
Judge Emerson slammed his gavel down. “Order! Sit down, Mr. Tate.”
Caxton and his client just sat there gloating, and trying not to laugh at Tate, the working man in his department store suit and tie.
Tate curled his lip and ignored Judge Emerson’s warning and jabbed his finger at Caxton. “Anyone else would be going to prison now, but your client had the cash to hire the best lying lawyer that money can buy. Somebody ought to teach you two a lesson—the hard way.”
“Mr. Tate, that is enough!” Judge Emerson said as he banged his gavel again. “Do not test my patience, or you will find yourself held in contempt of court.”
Tate took a deep breath and let it out, struggling for control.
“Yes, Your Honor.” He sat down, but continued to glare at Caxton.
Caxton shrugged and maintained his cool and professional appearance. He had perfect teeth, a year-round tan, manicured fingernails, and the latest hairstyle. His suits, shirts, and ties were all custom-made by the finest tailors in the Financial District.
Caxton was used to having that level of helpless anger leveled at him by now. He couldn’t have cared less about it. He’d earned a reputation in San Francisco as the lawyer you loved to hate. But as he often said, being hated sure did pay well.
Caxton’s favorite story was about a client who had asked him if he could seek justice. He’d answered, “Yes, and how much justice can you afford to buy today?”
“You are now free to go, Mr. Riabraun,” Judge Emerson announced.
Riabraun grinned and shook hands with Caxton, then exited through a side door. He was already sliding into a waiting limousine when Emerson dismissed the jury.
Caxton headed toward the front entrance of the court building with his head held high. He went outside and faced the news reporters and gave a brief but well-rehearsed speech. “Today, justice was served. My client was found not guilty by a jury in a court of law. Thank goodness we live in a country where lawyers can protect honest, hardworking people such as my client from false accusations.”
Reporters began yelling questions at Caxton, but he walked away, looking pious. His publicist would issue a statement to the press any minute now. As he strolled toward the parking lot and his brand-new BMW, he didn’t notice someone sitting in a car watching him.
Mark Nolan is the author of Dead Lawyers Don't Lie, the sequel titled Vigilante Assassin, and book 3 in the series: Killer Lawyer. He's currently writing book 4. Mark also tries to make time every day to answer emails from readers. You can reach him and subscribe to his newsletter at marknolan.com
Mark Nolan rarely ventures out of his writing den to do interviews, and seldom talks about himself on social media, but he’s always happy to answer emails from readers. We managed to talk him into giving us some fun facts about his latest book.
What is Killer Lawyer about?
Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer with a secret past that keeps catching up with him. He served as an infantry Marine, and briefly as a CIA covert operative who took out high-value targets overseas. Now he wants to live in peace, build his solo law practice and try to hang onto the rocky relationship with his girlfriend, Sarah Chance (who is keeping a secret from him). But when a serial killer frames him for the murder of a friend, Jake feels he has no choice but to find and stop the killer before he strikes again, close to home. He and his adopted war dog, Cody, search for clues, and hunt down the mysterious criminal in a deadly race against time.
What do readers like about the book?
Killer Lawyer includes a mystery investigation, surprising twists and turns, enjoyable character development, and a few scenes where readers get to see the point of view (POV) of the highly intelligent and well-trained dog. Many readers say Cody is their favorite character. A few other
people are outraged though, and ask, “How dare you show the POV of a dog?” Oh, the controversy! Your mileage may vary, but if you’re open-minded you’ll probably enjoy Cody’s amusing antics and simple view of the world. Some other bestselling books that show a dog’s point of view include: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Watchers by Dean Koontz, One Good Dog by Susan Wilson, the Chet and Bernie Mysteries by Spencer Quinn, and the other two Jake Wolfe novels titled Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie (Book 1), and Vigilante Assassin (Book 2).
What kind of research went into the novel?
This story required quite a lot of research, so much that the book includes a “Dear Reader” section at the end to explain what is real and what is not (most of it is frighteningly real). Readers are surprised at all of the amazing-buttrue parts of the story. Truth is often stranger than fiction. That end note contains spoilers, however, so be sure to read the book first, before reading the Dear Reader section at the end.
Is that the Golden Gate Bridge on the book cover?
Yes, the story is set in San Francisco, and Jake lives on the other side of the bridge in Sausalito, on a boat at a yacht harbor. He often drives across the bridge, or cruises his power yacht underneath it. His best friend, Terrell Hayes is a detective with SFPD Homicide. The two of them served in the Marines, and while deployed in the desert, Terrell saved Jake’s life with a blood transfusion. Now they are blood brothers and best friends forever. If Jake had his way, he’d just go boating and fishing every day. He
sometimes feels San Francisco is too expensive and crowded, and he threatens to cruise away to
Fiji, but so far he has remained in the the Bay Area because of friends and family.
Is this book part of a series? Can it be read as a stand-alone?
Killer Lawyer is book number three in the Jake Wolfe thriller series. It can be read as a standalone,
but some folks prefer to read the books in order. Many people say it should be called the
Jake and Cody series, because the war dog is always at Jake’s side and has saved his life in the past. In one of the books, a character tells Jake, “Cody is so loyal he’d follow you into Hell and fight the devil.” Jake is highly protective of his four-footed best friend, and as a former war dog handler, he works together with him so well it’s almost as if they can read each other’s minds up and down the leash. For
those who are interested in war dogs and their handlers, a good book on the subject is Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog, by Mike
Dowling, US Marine Sergeant and military war dog (MWD) handler.
What does the future hold for Jake and Cody?
Book number four is coming soon. In that story, Jake and Cody go on a trip and cruise the Far Niente to distant harbors. Along the way they have all kinds of adventures and get into plenty of trouble. Of course! Readers wouldn’t have it any other way.
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