Jeff Lelek has lived on five continents and traveled in over a hundred countries. During his college years at Dartmouth and the University of Montana, he worked as a geologist hunting gold and silver in Colorado and New Mexico. After several years mapping ‘hard rocks’ both on the surface and underground, he switched to petroleum, finding and producing the oil and gas that enabled modern society to flourish. Initially based in Denver, he led exploration efforts throughout the Rockies and the Mid Continent before moving overseas. An avid reader of all genres, but especially fiction, he wondered why so many novels featured lawyers and cops, but few geologists. The life of a geologist can be more interesting than most lawyers. Seven years working and living with his wife and two young daughters in Egypt inspired “Sinai Prospect”, which took until retirement to get published. Responding to positive reviews, that effort grew into a trilogy, with “Sinai Gold” published at the peak of the pandemic, and “Sinai Surrender” expected in early 2023. Living and working in Canada, Scotland, England, Russia, Egypt, and Australia provided material for the trilogy. Jeff hopes these three books hold the readers’ interest while spinning some geology and painting vivid pictures of the diverse geographic spaces they span. Since retiring, in addition to writing, Jeff loves traveling, biking, hiking, golfing, fishing, and spending time with family. He resides in the mountains of Colorado and the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.
Excerpt from Sinai Gold
THROUGH the peephole, Jake saw the face of Viktor Popov. He had to open the door but was understandably reluctant. Taking the metal security chain off the guard, he turned the doorknob and let the killer into his hotel room. It was the middle of the night.
“Change plan. Must leave now,” said Popov in heavily accented English. Jake had grown to dislike this huge, barrel-chested man with gorilla-like arms, pudgy face, and Brezhnev-like eyebrows.
“I thought we were to act normal. My flight isn’t until later.”
“Flight change. Come now. Bring things,” replied the Russian.
“I should bring everything??
“Yes. No more time Mr. Tillard. Plane take off, forty minutes.”
Jake didn’t have much to pack. In five minutes the two men walked through the lobby of the Metropol Hotel to a waiting black limousine. Jake assumed they would check him out of the hotel at some point. From the back seat, Popov spoke to the driver in Russian, and they sped down Teatral’nyy Proyezd past the Bolshoi theater, past the onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, and crossed the Moskva River with a view of the Kremlin fading in the rear. Gazing out the limo window, Jake deciphered Cyrillic signs as they raced southwest on Leninskiy Prospekt. He had never been down this road and did not know he was heading to Vnukovo International Airport, which handled much of the private business jet traffic.
“Will Boris be on the plane?” asked Jake.
“I don’t know,” said Popov, who turned and looked out his window.
Jake gave up on Popov and settled back in his seat. A half hour later the car passed through a security checkpoint and cruised along airport taxiways towards a waiting Gulfstream IV. Jake climbed the airplane steps as Popov put his bag in the hold. Boris Oblonsky was waiting.
“What the hell, Boris?”
“I am sorry to be rude Mr. Tillard, but the authorities are looking for you. If you don’t get out of Russia now you will be in Lubyanka by the end of the day. You’re wanted by the FSB, as well as the Border Guard Service and the local Moscow police.”
“They are all looking for me? Why?”
Jake was shocked and dropped down into the leather seat.
“It’s unfortunate, but you are wanted for murder,” replied Oblonsky.