I came across an old African quote that goes, “The child that isn’t embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

It’s not Biblical. It’s not logical. But it’s often true.

So it is with the the bad guy starting in Book 4, On a Pale Horse. Tomas Diaz is Will’s cousin. Will has met him a grand total of three times. Once when Tomas was 5, and again in the Gulf.

Tomas was a Marine, a trained sniper. He’d heard Will was over there, and he and his team kept an eye open for him. Every time they saw an Army MP, they’d ask about Will. Well, it worked out. Will is already in his thirties and Tomas is a mere twenty two years old. but he’s one seriously hard charging Marine when they finally meet in Kuwait.

While doing the route recon to move 1st Armored Division back from Iraq, they encounter Marines manning a checkpoint near the so called “Highway of Death” in Kuwait. They ask about Sgt. Diaz, and Will is introduced to a cousin he never knew. They spend an hour together, eating lunch and getting to know one another. When they part, Tomas asks if Will has anything to read that he can spare. Will gives up a Star Trek novel.

The final time he meets him is at a VA hospital. Tomas is there visiting his First Sgt. who had stepped on a mine after Will and he first met each other. The man is being fitted for a foot. Tomas is out of the corp and says he’s just running around America, seeing everything before going home.

Tomas is about to become a big part of Will’s life.

Tomas, according to Will, is covered under the “Milkman theory.” His parents are of typical Hispanic heritage. And while he has some of his mother’s traits, Tomas is blonde headed and blue eyed. He certainly doesn’t match his name.

When Tomas’s father turns up dead, it isn’t long before Tomas becomes a suspect. His mother is missing and evidence yurns up that tells Will and RJ that they have just stepped into something deep.

Now for the burning village part. When children are subjected to extreme cruelty, they often times react by either being totally submissive or they come back fighting. Tomas had escaped from those who treated him badly and has learned to fight back.

But revenge is only a small part of the story.

He’s also gunning for justice. He knows things that have happened, things done by people who might as well be ghosts. In his thinking, it takes a ghost to catch a ghost.

Will hunts him to bring him to justice. Oddly, Will is one of the few people Tomas trusts with his life. And he doesn’t view himself as Will’s enemy, but rather an ally unfettered by legal shackles. In  short, he’s a vigilante and on a ride for justice.

He has given Will a very cryptic message, telling him that this isn’t revenge. This is war. Because Will is bound by the law, he can’t fight it as effectively as Tomas can.

Against his desires, Will is about to be sucked into events he had nothing to do with making.