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Also by James D. Best

The Steve Dancy Tales

The Shopkeeper


Murder at Thumb Butte

The Return

Jenny’s Revenge

Crossing the Animas

No Peace

The Best Thrillers

The Shut Mouth Society


The Templar Reprisals

Other Novels

Tempest at Dawn


Principled Action

The Digital Organization

Collaborative Works

Wanted, A Western Story Collection

Wanted II, A Western Story Collection

Miracles and Massacres

Being George Washington

Praise for James D. Best Books

“James D. Best has written at least six books. I enjoyed them immensely.” —Gary Clothier, Star Democrat

The Shut Mouth Society

"The Shut Mouth Society is a fast-moving, well-written novel." David M. Kinchen, Huntington News

"The author has done an excellent job of building the story. I wanted to know more about the secret societies, more about the Sherman family, and more about the resolution." Book Advice

"The novel has everything from intrigue and murder to romance." Faith Friese Nelson, A Writer’s Journal

The Steve Dancy Tales

“The James Best books … are about the best new western series to come along since Larry McMurtry.” Larry Winget, True West Magazine

“You’ll find yourself lost in the book—the fast pace keeps it interesting.” —Maritza Barone, Woman’s Day

“This is a fast-paced tale with an interesting hero.” Western Writers of America, Roundup Magazine

“Best paces his stories so well readers will find it difficult to put down.” Diane Scearce, Nashville Examiner

“A great book; I do hope that The Shopkeeper gets the readership it richly deserves.” —Simon Barrett, Blogger News Network

"Great stories, interesting and diverse characters and plenty of action! I can't wait for the next one and hope it comes soon!" "—Larry Winget, six-time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author

Tempest at Dawn

"The best novel EVER on the U.S. Constitution." Larry Schweikart,author of A Patriot’s History of the United States and over a dozen other books.

"If you want to know the truth about the character of those gentlemen and you want to learn about one of the greatest documents ever created by man---the Constitution of the United States---relax in your bed, favorite chair or recliner, and enjoy."—Allen Ball, Beaufort Observer

"Read it for its historical value. Read it for its dramatic value. But read it!"—Alan Caruba, Bookviews


The Best Thillers

James D. Best

Queen Beach Publishers


Copyright © 2018 James D. Best

All rights reserved

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.


ISBN-10 : 1983125954

ISBN-13 : 978-1983125959

Cover design by: Wayne Best

Cover Photograph by: danielo

Printed in the United States of America

For Charlotte and Kelly

Our beautiful granddaughters


Also by James D. Best

Praise for James D. Best Books

Title Page



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52



Sample Chapter

Thank You

Chapter 1

Despite Rincon’s reputation as the best surf spot along the Santa Barbara coast, other surfers gave Greg Evarts a wide berth. He didn’t flaunt being a cop, but the locals knew his profession. The teens and young adults in the water were normally highly territorial, but they didn’t want trouble with the local gendarmerie. Evarts purposely acted standoffish. He had no desire to compete or socialize with this younger crowd, but they’d be surprised to learn why. He wanted to avoid arresting them for beach misdemeanors or inland petty crimes. He knew what was going on. He had grown up on this same beach but had left behind his own minor delinquencies. Most of these kids would as well. He wanted to give them a break, but he didn’t want to be taken advantage of because he was a fellow surfer. That would lead to sorrow—for them and for him.

Evarts seldom surfed in stormy weather. He didn’t fear lightning. Electrical storms almost never accompanied rain in Southern California. Here, it drizzled, often for days. Nebraska might get an inch of rain in less than an hour, but clouds over the Golden State politely sprinkled moisture so sparingly that a full-inch accumulation could take days. No, Evarts didn’t surf in the rain because he was getting old. Older, at any rate. He preferred to ignore having turned forty a couple of years before, but his aching joints reminded him daily. The young might surf during nasty weather, but Evarts preferred clear skies, no wind, and waves that didn’t block out the entire sky.

None of these desirable elements were present today. The sideshore wind caused choppy water, heavy clouds hung low overhead, and the waves were thick and ranged from six to ten feet, with occasional sets more than twice his height. Bigger than Evarts preferred. He had gone in the water because he had given up waiting for a calm, sunny day. An endless line of storms had battered California, and ominous clouds had hung over Santa Barbara for nearly three weeks. Inland areas of the state had become saturated with rainfall, but Santa Barbara had received only a constant drizzle that irritated locals addicted to sunshine.

Evarts examined the sky. He could discern not even a dull glow where the sun would be at this hour. He swiped water from his eyes.  The rain was bad enough, but the wind made the ocean surface bumpy, and the nose of his board kept splashing salt water in his face as he paddled. He wanted to keep a clear eye out to sea, so it presented more than an annoyance. The larger, outside waves could be brutal, and he didn’t want to

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