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The Covert Element: A James Becker Thriller: 3 Paperback – 28 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (28 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461084539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461084532
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,760,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amazon TOP 100 and Nook TOP 100 Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota.

Mr. Betcher has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first five are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, THE EXILED ELEMENT, and THE CRITICAL ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Bellingham on 4 Aug 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Exciting and well-written book which it is difficult to put down. Short chapters are always better than long ones if one's reading is spread over relatively short periods. My only criticism is that the book uses too many acronyms making it necessary to keep going back to recall what the initials stood for. Will watch out for this author again. Peter Morgan..oh and by the way PGR stands for "pretty good read"!
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By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have read about Beck and his friends although I understand that they are part of a series but I shall make a point of searching out others by this author.

This is a clever book which reveals its story in a series of threads following different characters and then weaves them together to help the reader understand the full picture about the events around a mass murder. There are a few twists thrown in to keep you alert.

The plot is good and the action well paced and not too violent but the best bit of this book is the wry and amusing writing style and the character of Beck himself. This helps to raise the book a little above the usual suspense thriller and to give the book its own unique voice. it is nice to see a happily married hero rather than the usual maverick and also to find that his wife is as accomplished as Beck.

Very enjoyable, well plotted and amusing. A good read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martha A. Cheves on 19 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
The Covert Element - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

`Whether drugs or not, it was hard for me to imagine that the scene I had observed this morning could possibly portend anything but headaches and misery for the residents of Ottawa County. "But twenty-three dead...When's the last time that sort of mass execution happened in the U.S.?" Beth stared into space. "Gotta be when that crazy Hennard guy drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Café in Texas way back in - what was it - '91? Long time ago, anyway." "This morning's atrocity looked like something out of Kosovo. Like an ethnic cleansing. Or like the mob sending someone a message. But we don't have `the mob' in Minnesota...just a few rag tag street and motorcycle gangs that shoot each other once in a while." I thought for a moment. I could see Beth was trying to make some sense of all this, too. "I s'pose Hells Angels is the closest we've got to any organized crime syndicate," I said. "But if it was a biker gang, the BCA should find evidence of motorcycles all over the place. I didn't see any tracks around that house this morning. Still...you never know." I was out of ideas. Maybe some solid police work would give me new options to consider soon. In the meantime, while ruthless killers roamed loose in or around Ottawa County, I would sleep very lightly indeed.'

James Becker, Attorney-at-law, called "Beck" for short, came back from a smoldering meth cooking lab where 23 men had been killed. Beck had been invited to go to the scene by his friend Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, also known as "Gunner.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Davies on 25 Aug 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some parts were OK but they were overlaid by some pretty mediocre renderings of characters and plot. Wholly unbelievable and somewhat sad state of affairs
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 56 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This series just gets better and better!!!!! 18 Jun 2011
By Lori Caswell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the third installment featuring James Becker (Beck), a former Military Intelligence Agent and his ex-CIA code cracking, computer expert wife, Beth. They are both retired from their stressful jobs, Beck does some work as an attorney now, but they just can't seem to stay out of trouble.

In this edition the Mexican Drug Wars come way too close to home, very near to their quiet Minnesota community, and they aren't just selling the drugs, they are manufacturing meth at a huge grain company. The organic grain elevator and small dairy is a great cover. The CEO doesn't even know what is happening right under his nose.

To add even more thrill to this thriller we find out about some of Beck's friend Bull's past. A friend from his time in the military shows up and he is on a mission and wants Bull's help to carry out his plan. He has set up his planned assault for many years and it is all coming to a head now in Minnesota.

Beth and Beck try to help their friend Bull accomplish his friend's mission in the most legal way possible because if they don't they could all end up in jail or dead.

I was privileged to be one of the first to read the first book in this series, The Missing Element and then The 19th Element which tied with Harlan Coben's CAUGHT for my selection of Best Suspense/Thriller for 2010. I was worried that after the last one John had set the bar too high for himself, but The Covert Element surpassed both of the previous novels.

I think that John is not only a brilliant writer but he takes huge current issues in the world and brings them alarmingly close to home. He had made Red Wing, Minnesota the hotbed of some critical world issues in a truly believable way. I just hope the wrong people don't read his books and get ideas.

The dialogue between Beck and Beth is so real. I know some critics have panned their romance and relationship taking too big of part in these stories, but to me it makes the stressful situations even more real. There is less of that in this installment but you still see and feel the calming effect Beth has on Beck. Without that he could develop quickly in a character out of control. She is a vital character and their strong relationship is a huge part of why these stories work.

You can see the author takes great pains in his research in every one of the books but this one took intense investigation to get the facts right to make this story credible.

It continues his "ripped from headlines" style. This is yet another book by John L. Betcher I recommend you click the link below and order today. You will be enthralled from the first page until the very last and you won't be able to wait and tell your friends they have to read it too!!!

Well done John!!! Now get to work on the next one!!! By hot little hands are waiting!!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Becker is Back - and better than ever! 1 July 2011
By BobbieK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John Becker, his wife Beth, his friend Bull, and even Becker's law-enforcement counterpart Gunner have all returned in a new novel, and they are better than ever.

It opens with a mass-murder and fire in what appears to be a just opening Meth-lab ... and the excitement takes off from there. Long-term plans are just coming to fruition ... and Becker has managed to stick his nose into some pretty dangerous stuff involving the plans of Los Cincos ... a drug cartel based in Mexico, now expanding facilities to the United States.

I always appreciate the important role Beth, whom Becker affectionately refers to as a "computer goddess" plays in all of his novels, and while he attempts to keep her out of the fray, she ends up filling a critical role as the danger increases.

Perhaps the best part of this novel for me is that it doesn't answer all of the questions, but rather leaves the door open to the possibility of a future encounter ... which would really be enjoyable.

As always, this is a novel that I can recommend to my friends. Real without being graphic and without using extraneous bad language.

Since I reviewed his first book, John Betcher has provided me with a complimentary PDF copy of each of his following novels, and I am grateful to be able to report that this one is the best of all! If you haven't read the earlier James Becker novels, don't worry, this one stands on its own - but once you read it, you might want to go back and try some of his earlier writings.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Probably more truth than fiction 19 Aug 2011
By Martha A. Cheves - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
`Whether drugs or not, it was hard for me to imagine that the scene I had observed this morning could possibly portend anything but headaches and misery for the residents of Ottawa County. "But twenty-three dead...When's the last time that sort of mass execution happened in the U.S.?" Beth stared into space. "Gotta be when that crazy Hennard guy drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Café in Texas way back in - what was it - '91? Long time ago, anyway." "This morning's atrocity looked like something out of Kosovo. Like an ethnic cleansing. Or like the mob sending someone a message. But we don't have `the mob' in Minnesota...just a few rag tag street and motorcycle gangs that shoot each other once in a while." I thought for a moment. I could see Beth was trying to make some sense of all this, too. "I s'pose Hells Angels is the closest we've got to any organized crime syndicate," I said. "But if it was a biker gang, the BCA should find evidence of motorcycles all over the place. I didn't see any tracks around that house this morning. Still...you never know." I was out of ideas. Maybe some solid police work would give me new options to consider soon. In the meantime, while ruthless killers roamed loose in or around Ottawa County, I would sleep very lightly indeed.'

James Becker, Attorney-at-law, called "Beck" for short, came back from a smoldering meth cooking lab where 23 men had been killed. Beck had been invited to go to the scene by his friend Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, also known as "Gunner." The biggest problem was, how were 23 men talked into lying down on the ground while each one was individually shot in the head with the same gun? But that is exactly how they were found outside the lab as it burned. Beck believes there has to be more to the story but after the BCA appeared on the scene, he and Gunner are left out of the loop. So what do they do? They create their own "loop."

After Beck is contacted by another friend Terry "Bull" Red Feather, an American Indian who served his country as an Army Ranger, he becomes convinced that this "little" meth lab is just the beginning of something even bigger. And after a conversation between Bull, Beck and Bull's military comrade Master Sergeant Fuentes, they know that the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Cinco, is involved.

Following Beck, Bull, Gunner and Beck's wife Beth, as they take on one of the largest cartels in existence, keeps you on the edge of your seat. And then there is Ralphael Santos who has worked his way up from the ground floor to become the head man and leader of Los Cinco. He will have you quickly turning the pages just to see what evil he will inflict on his next victim. But wait until you see who his victims really are.

I've read several books written by Author John L. Betcher. He has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you're on the sidelines watching the events take place. His knowledge of the topic he is writing about educates to happenings that you only read bits and pieces of in the local papers. He brings out the full truth as to how things are toned down and released on a need to know basis only. The Covert Element is a perfect example of his great style of writing.

2011
264 Pages
ISBN# 978-1461084532

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com Stir, Laugh, Repeat Stir, Laugh, Repeat: 0
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Totally suspenseful and clean (language and sex) 2 Feb 2013
By James Todd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Covert Element: A James Becker ThrillerTo say I love this series is an understatement, it is a real thriller and suspenseful, contrary to many authors that think they must have explicit sex and cursing to sell their product, this author relies on real talent to tell a story. I enjoyed this one as well as the other 3, I am happy to know that a fifth is suppose to be released in future. I do wish a Hollywood producer would make movies out of the series, but I know in my heart they will not. No explicit sex or cursing to make a sell. Beck as the character is called is very realistic and believable. His wife Beth as well. A good read and not one that leaves you wondering what if when it ends.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Gripping & Intense 24 May 2012
By Marilou George "Confessions Of A Reader" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book that I have read by John L. Betcher and I was totally enthralled throughout the whole story. It was very evident from the onset that the author did his homework to get the accurate facts and details to make this story enticing and believable.

The characters of James Becker a semi-retired lawyer, his wife Beth, the "computer goddess" Terry "Bull" Red Feather an American Indian and Doug Gunderson (Gunner), Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff successfully bring richness and flavor to this story. They each have a story of their own which is woven together in a complex yet charming way.

The story begins with a mass-murder and fire at a Meth-lab in Red Wing, Minnesota. Becker and his wife become deeply involved with Bull and Gunner as they attempt to uncover the truth about the massacre and find themselves dealing with the Mexican drug cartel Los Cincos. I was immediately swept away into the deadly world of drug cartels and the horror and reality of their destruction.

This is a very complex story, focusing not only on the present time but also depicting the history and background of the existence of drug cartels. The author brings to the surface a great understanding of the subject which is a huge contributor it making this story a memorable and engrossing read.

I loved the interplay between Becker and his wife Beth and the ability to portray them both as strong characters in their own right. They are believable and likeable and the understanding and mutual respect between them is palpable.

I appreciated the viewpoint of the character(s) of Fuentes/Santos, whose dedication to elimination of the Drug Cartels due to the ravages faced by his family and his country. We are given a glimpse into the heart of many Mexicans who become innocent victims of the drug cartels and witness the unspeakable horrors and tragedies that befall them and their families.

I think that the writing is this book is vivid and realistic and interwoven with the issues of drugs and drug wars bring this to a personal level that is relatable to the reader.

I highly recommend this book and I will definitely be reading more from John L. Betcher.
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