“Drawing the Line” Is Out!

The Beginning

The security situation on the Arizona-Mexico border has gotten bad…very bad. The Border Patrol is all but helpless, as narcos, terrorists, and common criminals cross the line with impunity.

One Arizona rancher has put up the money to hire a PMC to secure his land. He can’t afford much, or for long, but with work hard to come by, the former Special Operations contractors of Praetorian Security have jumped at the job.

It’s hot, boring, and uneventful at first. But when a bloodthirsty mob of cartel sicarios set their sights on taking over the ranch, the Praetorians have to dig in and fight.

It is a bloody, bullet-riddled siege in the desert hills. And it is Praetorian Security’s baptism by fire.

The novella that tells the story of just how Jeff and the boys got their hands on the cash they used on Socotra in Task Force Desperate is now out on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  (No plans for a paperback version for the moment; I might look at a collection of short work sometime in the future.)

Now, it might come to some people’s attention that it’s actually been out for a couple of days, and there was no pre-order.  This was by design.  I’ve been learning more about how to make independent publishing work lately (there will be a far more thorough post about that coming up soon).  Part of that has been learning how to “train” Amazon’s algorithm to better target a book.  This kind of cold launch has been an experiment in that learning.  Still got some bugs to iron out, but I might be getting the hang of it.

More to come.  In the meantime, go enjoy some more blood, bullets, and mayhem.

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Six Miles West of Nogales

If it hadn’t been for the earpiece, I never would have heard the radio over the snarl of the four-wheeler’s engine.

“Hillbilly, this is Plug,” Hank called.

I eased off the throttle and took one hand off the handlebars to key the radio.  “Send it, Plug.”

“Can you push up to the top of that ridgeline just to the east of you and take a look to the south?” he asked.  “Tell me what you see.”

“Sure thing,” I answered.  It wasn’t like we had a set patrol route, or even any particular need to be anywhere.  So far, this job had consisted of little more than long hours just hot-wheeling around the hills of southern Arizona on four-wheelers and the occasional pickup truck.

I gunned the engine and sent the sturdy little ATV surging up between the mesquites and the creosote bushes toward the ridge that Hank had indicated.  It wasn’t a long climb, but it was steep and rocky, with plenty more sagebrush and creosote bushes that I had to weave around.  But it still only took a couple of minutes to reach the top.

Halting my ATV, I stood on the running boards and pulled my binos out of the saddlebags.  As I lifted them to my eyes and scanned the open ground to the south, I quickly saw what Hank had been talking about.

There were four figures trotting through the grass and brush in the next draw over.  They were moving pretty quickly, and heading generally north.  Given that Hank and I were the only ones out on patrol at the time, and all of Manuel Lopez’s ranch hands were either working around the house and barns, or watching the herds to the east of us, that kind of narrowed things down.

“Plug, Hillbilly,” I sent, keeping the binos trained on the four.  “I do believe we have some uninvited visitors.”

“That’s what I saw, too,” he replied.  “Just wanted to corroborate it.  Meet you down below, and we’ll go say howdy?”

“Sure,” I answered.  I wasn’t going to complain about actually having some work to do.

The truth be told, even though we were all experienced warfighters, with years of work in the military and some in the contracting world, we had perhaps been a touch naïve when we’d started up our little company.  After all, we owned Praetorian Security, and we knew the score better than any of the soft-clothed financiers who owned most of the rest of the PMSCs out there.  We could determine our own equipment, pick our own jobs, and find the jobs that would keep us in the thick of it, in the shit.

We were finding out the hard way that those kinds of jobs were few and far between, and often involved a lot more shady business to get than we’d necessarily expected.  Most of the time, they were either outright illegal, or in some kind of gray area that tended to get all kinds of scrutiny, so the clients who had those sorts of jobs didn’t tend to be very forthcoming about them.  We’d set up our little private Special Operations company, only to find that we didn’t immediately have clients running to our doorstep. Continue reading “Six Miles West of Nogales”

Another Article, and Another Review

My latest is up on Breach-Bang-Clear, concerning weapons being, in the words of Sam in Ronin, “A toolbox.”  Knowing your tools means that firearms aren’t like the latest iPhone.  (Of course, the Facebook comments on B-B-C’s page have already gone off the rails…never read the FB comments!)

The NRA recently decided to disallow revolvers and 1911s from their “Carry Guard” classes. They have since reversed that decision, probably after millions of gun owners took to the internet to tell them it was stupid). This decision seems to have once again highlighted the differing opinions in the firearms community about what is and is not an “obsolete” firearm.

I almost said, “reignited the debate,” but who are we kidding? It’s never stopped.

Read the rest on Breach-Bang-Clear.

Also, a fellow denizen of the “Men’s Adventure Paperbacks of the ’70s and ’80s” Group on Facebook, Greg Hatcher, has read and reviewed Lex Talionis.  It is an excellent review.

“I’m not much of a joiner, usually, but I do belong to an online community that is devoted to reading and collecting the men’s adventure paperbacks that dominated drugstore spinner racks in the sixties and seventies.

It happens that many of us write the stuff as well, and one of our number, Peter Nealen, asked if any of us would be interested in reviewing his latest. Of course I lunged at it, despite the appalling size of my to-read pile.”

Read the rest here.  (You will have to scroll down a bit, Greg’s post is a bit of a grab-bag.  Not unlike this one.)

Now That Was Downright Poetic

Reader Samuel, on Goodreads, has posted his review of Lex Talionis.  What he wrote can only be described as, “high praise, indeed.”

TAPS

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.” – USMC General (Ret) James Mattis.

“Let’s roll”. – Todd Beamer.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”- Nathan Hale.

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out…you might as well appeal against the thunder-storm.”- US Army General William T Sherman.

I’ve always held that Orwell, creator of the most iconic dystopia was wrong about many things. Contrary to his writings, what we hate, will not destroy humanity. Kill some of us perhaps, but that hatred, will keep the embers of life, of defiance burning to let us endure such suffering. No, what will destroy us, as argued by Huxley, will be what we love, cherish, and take for granted. The delusion that the residents of a civilized society are owed freedom from speech and freedom from fear, from cradle to the grave, has led to such freedoms being used, irresponsibly, and some might argue, immaturely.

The freedoms that many claim to cherish, have been squandered, soiled and stained, since 2017 began, with odious, smug extremism corrupting millions around the world. Every idea, however wretched or ill thought out in this age, is just as valid, or even more so than the ideas that have worked and been the foundations of modern society. One is not owed freedom from beginning to end. But for those who demand freedom, there is an obligation to nurture and protect it with care, rather than let it be choked by the weeds of petty squabbling generated by the virus of self-righteousness that has infected all political discourse in the West.

One person who has more than lived up to his obligations in nurturing freedom is Peter Nealen. Mr Nealen is a veteran of the revered USMC Force Recon unit. Serving his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nealen has made a fruitful business as an indie thriller writer. He has written a series of urban fantasy novels and a contemporary military thriller novel, but the crown jewel, where he cut his teeth and made his name is the dystopian American Praetorian series. Characterized by cutting edge research, visceral violence that is in a class above half the NYT bestseller list of 2017, a cast of amoral but loveable consummate professionals and a haunting and horrifyingly recognizable fictional universe, the AP saga, is indie thriller writing at its very best.

Focusing on the life and times of Jeff Stone, a private military contractor who finds himself drawn into an epic, globe spanning war in the shadows, Nealen, surprised many fans by stating he would end things on the fifth book – and then actually going through with it. As someone who has grown to love the series, I must confess I was a little sad, and intrigued. With so much narrative potential in the AP setting, would such a conclusion be satisfying? I really should have not doubted the author as Mr Nealen went above and beyond all expectations.

Read the rest on Goodreads.

Revolutions and Civil Wars

One of the themes I tried to explore a little in Lex Talionis is civil strife and out-and-out civil war.  (The line between “revolution” and “civil war” is thin, murky, and often non-existent.  A “civil war” ends up, much of the time, being a “revolution” that didn’t succeed right away.)  Some of the reason for this was, admittedly, in reaction to not only some of the civil strife we’ve already seen on the streets of American cities (and out in the boonies, as well, with the Cliven Bundy bunch), but also some of the calls I’ve seen on the blogosphere and social media, on both sides of the political divide, for “revolution” or “let’s get the civil war over with already.” Continue reading “Revolutions and Civil Wars”

Best Review of “Lex Talionis” Yet

Lex Talionis is now up to eleven reviews on Amazon, and still hovering somewhere in the 300s-400s in its category.  This review in particular caught my eye.  This is the kind of thing authors like to hear; it means we did our job and put the reader into the middle of the action.

If you haven’t checked the book out yet, hopefully that will convince you to give it a shot.  And if you have, be sure to leave a review!