The debut of the "Hawkman Series", introducing a fascinating detective known as Hawkman, a former Agency operative under an assumed identity, Tom Casey. Jennifer Morgan, the beautiful heroine, a young widow, lives across the lake. Together, with an aggressive falcon, they take on the dangerous double agent, Dirk Hinderson, a vicious murderer who hates Hawkman and has vowed to extinguish him from the face of the earth. He uses Jennifer as his means to get to his target. The action takes place in a secluded lakeside community in the Northwest where even the eccentric secondary characters have unique appeal.
Dirk Henderson punched the intercom on his desk. "Krubes, hold my calls." "Yes sir."
Assuring himself privacy, he locked the office door from the inside, then paced the room. His fists clenched, he stopped at his desk and glanced down at the black and white photograph of a man releasing a hawk. "You bastard! The Agency tried to convince everyone you were dead, but I didn't buy it. That beard and long hair don't fool me. I'd recognize you with a sack over your head." A cynical chuckle escaped his lips. "How about that eye-patch? Is it for real, Casey?" he sneered.
Dirk's face turned crimson, clashing with his mop of thick red hair. "How the hell did that idiot miss you at such close range? They ought to call you Catman. You got more than nine lives and always land on your goddamn feet!"
He yanked out the desk chair, sat down and rummaged through the drawers for the voice changer. Placing it over the receiver, he keyed in a number and drummed his fingers on his thigh. When a male voice answered, he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk. "Interested in a heavy job? You'll have only one chance. I'll leave instructions at the usual place."
He dropped the phone back on the cradle and flopped back in his chair. A muscle twitched in his neck while his fingers formed a pyramid atop his chest. After a few moments, he picked up the photo and flipped it with his finger. "Well, Hawk Man, as you now call yourself, your bird-lovin' days are numbered."
Hawkman, chewing on a toothpick, leaned against the fender of his truck and folded his arms across his chest. His gaze stretched out over the flat piece of land, surrounded by tree covered hills. It soothed his soul. He inhaled deeply and smelled the clean crisp air that penetrated his lungs. Not many places left like this, he thought, savoring every inch of the open space.
The noise of chopper blades suddenly broke the silence and he cocked his head toward the distinct sound. Searching the horizon, he caught a glimpse of an unmarked helicopter passing high over Copco Lake. He spit out the toothpick, hooked his thumbs into the front pockets of his Levis and strolled down the dirt road watching the aircraft. Strange, he thought. Why this area? What's going on?
Stopping, with legs apart, he rocked back and forth on the heels of his cowboy boots while watching the chopper disappear over a distant hill, memories flooding his mind. A few he'd just as soon forget. But, over years of Agency service many of the experiences jolted his adrenaline. After the injury that forced him to wear an eye patch, the Agency denied him field work but offered him a desk job which he couldn't accept, so he took the disability retirement. Now, he missed the challenges.
He stared at the ground, sliding the toe of his boot back and forth in the dirt making half circles. Once he gets his life in order, he'll start a private investigation business. Well, one of these days soon. Maybe that would bring some excitement back into his life. He kicked a rock, and sent it skipping across the dirt road.
He exhaled loudly, pushed his cowboy hat back on his head, then plodded back to the pick-up where he reached through the open window and dragged out a long leather glove. Pulling it over his arm up to his elbow, he scanned the sky and let out a long, loud whistle that resonated through the air.
A few minutes later, he heard the falcon's cry. A smile etched his lips as he watched the hawk circle high above his head. God only knew how many times he'd given that bird a chance to go back to the wild, but he'd always chosen to return. He held the gloved arm high. "Come on boy."
The majestic bird set his wings, then gracefully soared downward, landing lightly on the outstretched arm. Hawkman spoke in soft cooing tones while walking back to the truck. Inside the cab, he placed the falcon on a portable perch where he fluffed his wings and settled for the ride home. Leaving a trail of dust behind, Hawkman headed for his cabin on the south side of Copco Lake.