Raining Cats, Dogs and Bullets
When writing thrillers, the weather can be vital in helping to set the pace and tone of the story. Moods can be set, and every action and reaction can be a direct result of the outside weather conditions.
When writing one of the major action scenes in Dead Man's Hand, I had to focus on creating a mood for the reader, to help him/her feel what was about to take place. And I used the weather to my advantage.
That’s why the scene starts off with “The weather was going along with the last-chance showdown. Clouds dark and heavy with rain poured down on Vegas that evening.”
I thought that adding a RARE Vegas downpour would set the mood for the reader, gearing up for the last-chance showdown.
I hope you enjoy this scene.
Baxter had circled the house, rejected the back exit as too obvious and then taken a position on the roof of a building down the street. He had a view of the front right side of Watters' hideout, where he had a shot at anyone emerging from about three quarters of the house. This was his third position in the last forty-five minutes and he wasn't moving again.
He had a 7.62 x 51mm M40 resting on a tripod and was blacked out against the tar and gravel of the roof. He would be hard to spot from another rooftop, and with the steady, rare desert downpour a helicopter had no chance of seeing him. A military black-camouflage tarp covered him but was little help against the increasing rain, the drops smacking loudly against the vinyl.
The intensity of the moment took him back to his days in Afghanistan.
As he waited, he replayed the last conversation with his employer. Sanders had nerve. Baxter thought about just killing Sanders for a moment, but decided that was a bad option. Someone else might talk. No, that would ruin his rep.
He put on the thermal-imaging nightscope, which might be little help in the deluge, and was chambering a new round when he heard the first faint wails from police sirens through the clamor of the thunder. A row of patrol cars approached Watters' house from both directions and stopped. With the road barricaded by the diagonally parked cars, six officers stood behind the vehicles with their weapons drawn, shielding themselves from the pelting rain and any kind of assault Watters could muster.
Had Sanders decided to use the cops and double-cross him?
If Watters slowed the cops down, or even somehow managed to get away, Baxter would attempt a head shot. Most likely he'd get another one when the cops led Watters out in cuffs.
The shooting started. Glass shattered in the house and cops ducked behind their open cruiser doors as Watters returned fire. As two cops approached the house, a series of bombs detonated. Concrete and metal flew around the neighborhood, joining the rainfall. The explosions sent the cops scurrying for cover.
Perfect—with this much happening, and the ever-increasing precipitation, he could take Watters out and then vanish, unnoticed.
Then he saw something that gave him pause.
A group of cops circled the back of the building and disappeared. More gunfire ensued. Then quiet. Either Watters was in cuffs or dead.
Baxter couldn't believe when four cops ran from the building, got into cars and rocketed away. They were already gone before Baxter realized that only three cops had gone in.
He had to move. The police had underestimated Watters' security and he didn't have much time before the LVMPD would return with a much larger force, perhaps even SWAT.
He couldn't allow a second raid to happen and Watters get caught.
Baxter's job was to kill Watters, period.
That time had come.
Luke Murphy was born in Shawville, a small rural community in Western Quebec, where he now lives with his wife and two daughters. He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His road to novelist began in the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury.