Spotlight on Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy
Join Michael Ruddy, author of the insurance scam novel, Conflicts with Interest (Rodeo Publishing, 2009) as he virtually tours the blogosphere in June on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
About Michael Ruddy
Michael Ruddy is a graduate of the University of Denver with a degree in engineering administration.
He has spent the last forty years associated with both the commercial and residential disciplines of the construction industry, which inspired many of the events in his novel, Conflicts with Interest. Currently, he resides in Boulder, CO with his wife, five children, dog and cutting horses.
While the author has been published in short-story format, Conflicts with Interest is his debut novel.
You can find Michael online at http://www.rodeopublishing.com/
About Conflicts with Interest
T.R. Morgan, a seasoned building professional, finds himself entangled in the combined corruption of the high profile law firm that is attacking him and the insurance companies that are supposed to defend him. Still enduring the painful memories brought on by the tragic death of his wife, he soon finds out, nothing involving lawyers and insurance companies happens quickly. Instead of resolution, T.R., unwittingly enters a world of human trafficking, drugs, and illicit sex taking place behind the scenes. And his story comes forward to an explosive climax that no one could possibly foresee, least of all T.R. himself. This suspenseful tale of contemporary fiction is packed with enlightenment and high-stakes characters; provoking thought on a new subject in a new light.
Read an Excerpt!
If not for a man named Martine Segarz, Perua Bufete’s decapitated head would have been found washed ashore on one of Mexico’s pristine beaches.
Martine Segarz lived in San Ysidro, California, just the other side of the Otay Gate at the Tijuana border. The friendship was now it its tenth year, but it didn’t start out like normal friendships do. It started out in a jam for Perua, back when Martine was a new border agent for the U.S.—before the Homeland Security consolidation that changed the name to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or “CBP.”
Martine had signaled Perua over for a routine inspection when he found eight “undocumented” men wrapped in oriental rugs and stacked on the van’s floor. As Martine reached for his Berretta, Perua reached for his satchel and opened it quickly, pretending to produce documentation. Martine took his hand off his sidearm when he saw the stacks of sandwich bags, each marked “10k” in red felt marker, packed with twenty-dollar bills. There were eight bags in the fake leather man-purse that Martine had removed, along with Perua’s cell phone number.
Ordinarily, this would be surprising, having occurred on the U.S. side of the border. But things were changing rapidly with the drug Cartel’s control of Tijuana and the fear of retribution. It was a known fact that eighty percent of Tijuana law enforcement and government officials were on the payroll of the Cartel. More than a few of the U.S. agents were on the payroll as well.
Perua made his day-job wage in an armored car factory owned by the Cartel. The smuggling was his own private enterprise and no one knew of his relationship with Martine, which made it so easy it almost seemed legal.
Perua’s reasoning was that his efforts were small tortillas compared to the drugs and sex-slaves that were flowing across the border daily. The sex-slaves, as an example, were bringing $20 thousand each as a standard rate and they were being delivered all over the U.S. and Canada. As fast as the tall, blue-eyed blondes flew into Mexico from the eastern block countries, they were moved “Norte.” After, of course, a short period of orientation, or maybe better said, reorientation. No, they weren’t going to be models after all.
So, who really cared about a few undocumented workers who just wanted a farm or ranch job and some money to send home? Perua and Martine were just meeting a small niche demand outside of the Cartel business. But, Perua knew that his head would go if the Cartel found out.
Martine had to share his take with a few other agents and it was no big deal. He was careful and the U.S. agents new how to split a take, equally divided by those involved, sometimes as many as ten agents for an evening, split like waiters pooling tips. They would stay away from the drug trafficking though; you had to draw the line of morality somewhere, a small piece wouldn’t hurt anyone. Perua, on the other hand, received $12 thousand per worker, netting him two for expenses after the U.S. toll charge.
Perua’s call reached Martine in San Diego, where he was shopping for groceries at the local Costco. Martine was standing in front of a Sony big screen TV, eating a free pizza roll, when he answered his phone. “Hola.”
The call ended and both knew what to do, simple as playground thought. Perua would drive to Gate Six of the Otay POE with six undocumented workers at 6:00 p.m. that night—with six sandwich bags. Martine would make sure he was at Gate Six at the correct time. Then, Iowa’s work force would grow by six new employees, all ready to work at the Sanderson Ranch. The ounce of cocaine in Perua’s pocket would merely be an oversight on Martine’s part. Perua was amazed at how much product was moving through the POE as he maneuvered in line toward gate six. He suspected it all around him, looking at the strange vehicles and passengers that were visible—a steady stream of fearful faces. He wondered who would ever drive alone across the border, looking over to the oncoming traffic headed into Mexico. Didn’t they know American women were being raped in the Mexican police stations while their spouses were at the ATMs withdrawing bribe money?
Everyone seemed to be focused on the poor bastards making the five-day trek over the mountains to sneak under a fence in Cochise County, Arizona. Perua’s clients rode in air-conditioned style to their appointed destinations. Perua smiled to himself while thinking, what were these so-called “Minutemen” doing? Volunteering with their silly digital cameras, monitoring the two billion dollar fence with wireless technology. Were they just looking the other way, or were they that stupid—just tracking the decoys?
Martine halted the Ford van to a stop at the driver’s window and reached in, taking the wrinkled lunch bag from Perua, who offered a gaping, split-toothed smile. Martine made a big sweeping movement with his left arm, waving the Ford on like a Matador. He tucked the lunch bag into his uniform jacket.
Mother America had six new dependants.
Read the Reviews!
“If you have ever built a new home, bought a new home, or tangled with insurance companies, Conflicts with Interest will be of interest to you. It provides a window into what happens behind doors that are normally closed.”
“A must read. It’s intriguing and fun. Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. This new author’s writing style, fits right up there with the best of the well know mystery writers. If you’ve been in the housing industry, I am sure you’ll be able relate to the story line.”
––Jerry Rouleau, BuilderRadio.com
“This book edifies, entertains, and angers all at once. Ruddy uses engaging fictional characters to accurately portray a system run awry.”