Release Day

Frozen Conflict went live on Kindle at midnight.  It’s also been available in paperback for a few days now; I approved the proof a little early.  The plus side of that is that the Kindle and Paperback pages were linked by yesterday, so I don’t have to pester KDP about it, like I had to with the last two Brannigan’s Blackhearts books.

Manhunt In A Post-Soviet Hellhole

Transnistria.  A breakaway republic on the eastern border of Moldova, and a bolt-hole for notorious black-market arms dealer Eugen Codreanu.  Except that it’s suddenly turned from safe haven to prison for the man who was once rumored to be dealing in ex-Soviet backpack nukes.

A shadow facilitator reaches out to John Brannigan, former Marine Colonel turned mercenary.  The job: get Codreanu out of Transnistria, out from under the noses of the thousands of Russian peacekeepers swarming around the breakaway republic.  The hook: Codreanu might have information about the terrorist operation in the Gulf of Mexico a few months before.  The catch: there might be someone else trying to beat them to the punch.  The terrorists who seized the Tourmaline-Delta platform in the Gulf of Mexico might be trying to tie up loose ends.  And firefights in Transnistria could have wide-ranging consequences.

It’s a race against time in Eastern Europe.  And Brannigan’s Blackhearts might be going up against the Russian Bear to accomplish this mission.

This one was fun to write.  It certainly follows on from the events of Enemy Unidentified, while mixing things up quite a bit in terms of setting and bad guys.  I hadn’t really had a chance to tell a story in Eastern Europe (and in the winter) before.

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Overtaken By Events

“Timeliness” is a temptation that I think most military/spy fiction writers have to deal with.  “Ripped from the headlines!” and “Prophetic!” are compliments that reviewers have used for works in the genre going back to Tom Clancy, at least.  Those same phrases have been applied to some of my own work, and I’ll admit that it can be somewhat affirming (though often in a grim sort of way) to see events move in a generally similar direction to that predicted in one of your novels.  It shows you that you read the situation fairly accurately. Continue reading “Overtaken By Events”

Frozen Conflict Chapter 1

“You’re imagining things, Eugen,” Cezar Lungu said.  He was leaning back in an overstuffed easy chair with a massy, polished wooden frame, a blond, vacant-eyed Ukrainian hooker on his lap.  He was fully clothed; she was in her underwear.  He picked up the shot of Kvint and tossed it back with a grimace and a loud, “Pah!”  “We have an arrangement!  And with what we’re paying the Russians and the Transnistrians both, we should at least get a warning if anything has changed!”

Eugen Codreanu did not turn away from the window, but continued peering into the night.  He wasn’t looking out toward the Dnieper River below the dacha, either.  He was looking back toward the wrought-iron gates and the guard posts, through the trees.  He was looking back toward the city of Ribnitza, which was throwing its glow against the near-perpetual pall of smoke and steam coming from the steelworks.

When Codreanu still hadn’t replied while he poured more Kvint, Lungu tried again.  “You’ve been jumping at shadows for four months, Eugen,” he ventured. Continue reading “Frozen Conflict Chapter 1”

Soldiers of Barrabas – Gulag War

It’s been a while for one of these, but I’ve slowed down a bit, since I have yet to get my hands on #7, River of Flesh, and #8, Eye of the Fire.  I’ve admittedly been a bit reluctant to continue with #7, given that Robin Hardy wrote it, and my last outing with Hardy, Show No Mercy was…less than thrilling.  But Michael Mercy, over on the SOBs Fan group on Facebook, assures me that the problems with Show No Mercy were corrected with River of Flesh, so I’ll be getting back in the swing of things soon(ish). Continue reading “Soldiers of Barrabas – Gulag War”

The Guns of “Frozen Conflict”

With Brannigan’s Blackhearts #4 – Frozen Conflict coming soon, it’s time for the regular gun porn post!

This one turned out to be a bit more of an irregular operation, moving through the Eastern European underworld and relying on that underworld–not to mention a bit of “tactical acquisition”–for supplies.  As such, there’s a bit more variety in the weaponry used in Frozen Conflict, though it’s still almost entirely Eastern Bloc.

Eugen Codreanu is a Romanian gangster, but as an arms dealer he moves freely through multiple countries.  He’s done business in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.  But most of his men carry what they’re comfortable with.  His right hand, Cezar Lungu, carries a Beretta PX4 Storm.

Continue reading “The Guns of “Frozen Conflict””

Little Bit of Research

Doing research for the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series can get interesting.  Since most of my experience has been in the Middle East, sometimes I’ve got to dig to figure stuff out for other regions.  As I point out at one point in Frozen Conflict, much of combat tactics boil down to common sense, and therefore there are certain common factors in good tactics.

But sometimes, groups and nations don’t necessarily teach good tactics.  So, trying to figure out what Transnistrian Army soldiers would do when trying to clear a structure, I had to dig for some regular Russian Army footage (not the carefully tailored, backflipping hatchet attack Spetsnaz stuff; these are regular grunts).  It’s still going to be an approximation, but I found a bit of urban warfare footage in the above video, mostly starting at about 2:20.

It’s a doozy, too.  Lets just say that we’d have had the snot bubbles thrashed out of us at Bn for the kind of fire discipline (or lack thereof) these guys show…

Sucks to be a hostage…

On Gun Porn

No, this isn’t about InRangeTV opening an account on PornHub.  (Yes, apparently that’s a thing.  No, I haven’t gone looking for it, nor will I.)  This is about the facet of much Action Adventure writing known colloquially as “Gun Porn,” wherein the author includes (and often lovingly describes) various cool and interesting firearms in the story.

This isn’t particularly new; a lot of Louis L’Amour westerns describe interesting (and sometimes obscure) weapons that aren’t commonly found in the run-of-the-mill western (particularly on screen).  But as with any element of storytelling, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Continue reading “On Gun Porn”