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Iraqi veteran, Mark Tonnick, is a wisecracking, sarcastic, sorry excuse for a self-employed private detective whose specialty is tracking cheating spouses and running skip traces for the local bookies. Down on his luck and about to be thrown out of his dismal office for non-payment of rent he’s ready to take just about any job that comes his way.
Then, in an unexpected stroke of luck, he finds himself recruited to solve a missing persons case by Delinda Djinn, executive assistant to the reclusive Bruce Ashton, CEO of AC&C, the largest communications conglomerate in the world. After managing to resolve that case in record time he’s handed a more complicated and challenging assignment. It’s one that stretches his credulity almost to the breaking point, but there’s little choice for him.
Desperate for cash he accepts the job, which comes with only a single condition. As a provision of his employment he must agree to work with Delinda Djinn. Together they must recover and either contain or destroy the elusive Orb of Apophis.
The Orb, according to Djinn, is a monstrous gem that predates modern civilization, attached to a history of bringing disaster and death to whomever possesses it. Like a frog being slowly brought to boil in pot of warm water, Tonnick soon finds himself up to his chin in magic, immortal beings, mayhem and murder. He doesn’t really believe in any of it, but then again, it becomes more and more difficult for him not to. Soon he finds that he is in a race to find the deadly jewel before it ends up in the wrong hands. Even though it’s a struggle for him to take this assignment at more than face value, the increasing body count convinces him that whatever the real explanation, his life and perhaps that of countless others rests with him finding the Orb first.
His quest takes him from the mean streets of Los Angeles and the privileged estates of Bel Air to the desolate and isolated reaches of Death Valley. His resources are limited; he must rely only on his wits, experiences and occasional help from ex-clients and friends. He has no forensic skills, no lab and no political hookups. The only connection he has to law enforcement is not one he’s proud of and actually his PI license is expired. Thankfully, he reluctantly comes to depend on the surprising insights of his new, and not entirely welcome partner, Delinda Djinn.
As Tonnick works against the clock to uncover the mystery of the Orb, he also comes to discover the unlikely bond that both he and Djinn share. The source of her power, and the answer to many other mysteries lie with him. Hopefully he can live with the explanation.