Best Crime and Thrillers Weekend Reads

Each weekend, we’ll highlight crime and thriller authors–and related genres like mystery–so you get that spinal chill, goosebumps or the intrigue you’re seeking in fiction that’s written well. Indie authors will typically get the highlight and you can discover new authors, even if you’re looking for authors like James Patterson, Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline or others.

Photo by kat wilcox from Pexels

Authors: Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby

Today’s excerpt is from Tom Stone: Subterfuge, Book 5 in the series (each one can be read as a standalone) Available on Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited and our Crime Fiction Books page.

Topics covered in the novel and the series include smuggling, human trafficking and narco-subs, plus the power of family and friends.

Available on Amazon


A mysterious man has washed ashore on a Malibu beach, just north of Santa Monica, so Detective Tom Stone and Detective Jake Sharpe make their way to question him while he’s recovering in the hospital.


The man’s moustache twitched while lying helpless and his eyes appeared flooded with the question of, Why did this happen?

Stone and Jake waited while he struggled to hold himself together.

“We need to know what happened to you and your son,” said Stone.

Delgado nodded in agreement. “We were cleaning my son’s boat when four men approached us. We were told we were being hired on a fishing boat and that we would be paid well.” Pain creased his eyes. “They gave us no choice. I was scared. Shocked. They just showed up.”

“Did you try to get help?” asked Jake.

When the interpreter relayed the question, the man scoffed and responded. The interpreter looked at Jake. “He says it’s a stupid question. No one was around. There were no police anywhere and the men were pointing a gun at him.”

“What kind of gun?” Stone studied Delgado as the question was relayed.

The answer was simple. “He says it was a big one.”

“Okay, I get it,” Jake said.

Delgado asked for water, Jake handed him a cup, and he took a few sips. He then described through the interpreter how he lived in a village in Baja, below Ensenada. He and his son trapped lobsters and crabs to sell to the local restaurants. It was enough to survive on.

“What happened when they took you?” asked Jake.

“A boat was anchored in the harbor, we got on and noticed there were other men like us who looked nervous and scared. We were told not to speak to each other. We sailed for about a half hour to the open ocean.” His words were strangled in his throat as he fought the memory.

The interpreter listened to what was said next, had Delgado pause, and told Stone, “He’s saying there was a boat waiting under the water. I think he means a submarine.” The interpreter confirmed with Delgado. “Submarino?”

“Si.” He became animated. “Submarino, submarino.”

“A submarine?” asked Stone.

Delgado continued through the interpreter. “We were forced to

get on board. Men pointed rifles at us and made us go down a ladder.”

“How many were like you?”

“Me and my son. Four others.”

“How many had guns?”

“There were four men on the submarine with guns. Inside was narrow, dark, and we had to squeeze together. There were no benches or chairs. It was totally empty except there were a lot of containers piled on the floor.”

“Containers? Do you know what was in them?” asked Jake.


“Did anyone tell you what you would be doing?” pressed Jake.

“Who were these people?” Stone cut in.

“I don’t know. They didn’t give names to people like me. I just wanted to stay alive and get home. We sailed. Hours and hours. We pulled up to another boat and were ordered to move the containers. It looked like a big fancy yacht.”

“Did you know where you were?” asked Jake.

Delgado looked frustrated and then tired. “How could I know?

I’ve only sailed around my village. I heard the gunmen say, ‘Los Angeles’, but I don’t know.”

“Anything else?”

“It was hard work. It took us a while to move everything. My knees were aching from the ladder. We got back in. I was so damned hungry. They gave us water and pan dulce, sweet bread.”

“Sounds worse than prison,” said Jake.

Delgado winced and took a breath. “I thought we were done and we’d go back home. I was happy.” He stopped as the translator spoke and then urged him to continue. “But we started sailing again and I knew that we were trapped. We stopped again, it was nighttime and raining.”

“Where was this?”

“It was storming and hard to see. It looked like there was land nearby.” He was thoughtful. “I saw some arch. Like a rock arch.”

“Where’d you get the canisters?”

The interpreter asked Delgado the question and then communicated the answer.

“A little boat was hauling nets full of the containers and we had to pull them up and take them below deck. We finished, the gunmen closed the hatch, we sailed, and then—”

Delgado paused while he was reliving the moment.

“Then what?” asked Jake.

“We got hit. I grabbed my son to cover him but the whole place shook from an explosion. We heard gunfire everywhere. The hatch was blown open.”

RECENT REVIEW — via Damp Pebbles


One aspect of Subterfuge that shone through was the character of Luis Delgado. Delgado is the lone survivor from a failed drugs run. His life has been destroyed and he’s scared of going home in case the cartels find him. He becomes the unpredictable element in a story filled with drama. Casler Bixby and Simkovich have written a story that can be seen from 4 sides.

Every time I opened this book I was desperate to see whether the characters would survive. Who would be gaining the upper hand and who would be taking a one way ticket on the next submarine smuggling drugs across the oceans. The authors do a wonderful job of making the readers feel empathy for some of the victims of the cartels. You want to protect them, you want them to win out, but you know they are up against all the odds and the chances of them being double crossed are high. The authors keep the action high throughout the book, luring the reader on for one more page in expert fashion.

Read the full review here.



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