High Desert Vengeance Chapter 1

Yes, despite launching a new series last month and all the associated work that’s gone into that, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5 – High Desert Vengeance is coming soon.  The preorder should be up shortly.

You might remember from Frozen Conflict that Gomez was having some troubles at home.  Well, they got worse…


Juan Gomez was elbow-deep in the old F-100’s wiring bus when a yell from the house startled him.  His head snapped up, cracking his skull on the underside of the hood.

He didn’t swear; it wasn’t his way.  None of his children had ever heard a word of profanity pass Juan Gomez’s lips, and even fully grown, they were often the targets of his dire glare when they indulged in his house.  Even Mario, Marine that he had been.

Rubbing his head, he glanced up toward the house.  Emilio was standing on the porch, shading his eyes as he stared south, pointing with the other hand.  “Dad!” he called again.  “Look!”

Juan almost didn’t have to.  Slowly, heavily, still rubbing the sore spot on the back of his head, he turned and looked.  Sure enough, there were three plumes of dust coming up the valley.  Coming from the south.

Nothing good ever came from the south, these days. Continue reading “High Desert Vengeance Chapter 1”

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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.

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”

It’s Release Day

Enemy Unidentified is live on Kindle and Paperback!  (Paperback edition doesn’t appear to be linked to the Kindle edition yet, so if you’re going for Kindle Matchbook, give it a day.)

Terror Out Of Nowhere

In a single, blood-soaked afternoon, hundreds are killed in a string of terrorist attacks across the Southwestern US and Northern Mexico. To top it off, the terrorists bomb an energy summit in Matamoros, taking hostages before fleeing to an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

They issue no demands. No known group has taken credit for the attack. All anyone knows is that VIPs from both North and South America are being held hostage. And the first wave of Mexican Marines has been repulsed by terrorists who are far more heavily armed and better prepared than anyone expected.

The Mexican government won’t ask for help. But there is a team that the US and Mexico can agree to send in, as they do not exist, as far as the public is concerned. Brannigan’s Blackhearts have another rescue mission. And it’s going to be the bloodiest yet.

Fury in the Gulf and Burmese Crossfire are also currently a Kindle Countdown deal for the next five days, as well, so if by chance you haven’t picked either of those up yet, now’s the time!

 

“Enemy Unidentified” Chapter 1

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #3 – Enemy Unidentified is up for Kindle pre-order, due out the 15th.  So, here’s the first preview chapter.


Officer Lou Hall had been on the San Diego PD for about a year.  He’d just gotten off night shift, and frankly wasn’t sure whether the tradeoff had been worth it.  Sure, he got to see the sun a lot more, and with the sun, in San Diego in the summertime—the winter tended to be pretty gray and damp—usually came the California girls, dressed in as little clothing as they could get away with.

But his partner, Fred Dobbs, was a surly, balding cynic, he wasn’t getting paid that much more, and most of those same attractive California girls turned up their noses as soon as they saw his badge.  He’d even gotten berated by one for, “just wanting to shoot minorities.”  He was half Mexican, himself, so he didn’t know where the hell that had come from.

Then he looked on social media, and didn’t have any more questions.

Dobbs was grumbling, as usual, and Hall had tuned him out after about the first five minutes, as usual.  It was always the same thing.  Dobbs was in the process of a nasty divorce, and couldn’t talk about anything besides what a bitch his soon-to-be ex-wife was.  So, Hall was scanning the sidewalks and trying not to think too hard about how much he hated his life, and really should have applied to El Cajon, or somewhere that actually paid their cops well.

Something caught his attention, and Dobbs’ incessant bitching faded even farther into the background noise.  At first he wasn’t sure why he was looking at the parked taxi so intently, then he saw that it was unoccupied.

Taxis parked in Horton Plaza were nothing new.  There was always far more traffic than there was available parking, and most people didn’t try to drive to Horton Plaza.  But an unattended cab?

Maybe the driver just went to take a piss.  Yeah, that was probably it.  He knew full well what a full day sitting in a car was like.

He didn’t notice the second cab parked just around the corner; there was no reason to.  It wasn’t out of place.  But the man sitting behind the wheel certainly noticed the San Diego PD car cruising past the abandoned taxi.  He toyed with waiting, but there was a crowd coming out of the Lyceum Theater at the same time.  Perfect.

The man ducked down below the dash and touched a remote.  The unoccupied taxi exploded, the detonation shattering every window within sight, including the windshield of his own cab.  He was showered with fragments of safety glass, as the vehicle rocked on its shocks.  He’d parked a little too close; the concussion hammered him into the floor of the cab, and he blacked out for a moment.

When he came to, he had to kick the door open.  The Plaza was a nightmare hellscape.  Where the taxi had been parked, only a crater filled with twisted, fiercely burning wreckage remained.  The cop car was burning, the windows shattered and the side panel crushed in and peppered with shrapnel, both men inside obviously dead.  The sidewalk was littered with bodies and parts of bodies.  People were screaming, the noise only then managing to register to his deadened hearing.  His ears were ringing from the explosion.  A young woman staggered away from the crater, bleeding, half of her face flayed away by the blast.

The man staggered out of the cab and joined the mass of screaming, panicking humanity fleeing the blast zone.  Wounded were being trampled.  The panicked mob was going to seriously impede the first responders; it was just too cramped in downtown San Diego.

The man felt no particular satisfaction in what he’d done.  He’d been well paid for it.  It had been a job, nothing more.  He blended into the crowd and disappeared.

*** Continue reading ““Enemy Unidentified” Chapter 1″

It is Go Time

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #2 – Burmese Crossfire is now live!  And it’s still $0.99 for a few more days (going up to $3.99 on the 20th).  I approved the proof for the paperback on Saturday, so it’s available too (though still not linked to the Kindle page for some reason).

A Search And Destroy Mission…Deep In Hostile Territory

The Golden Triangle. One of the biggest heroin-producing regions in the world is also home to squabbling ethnic groups, clashing militarist paramilitaries, and Communist rebels.
Drugs are a means to an end. Drugs sell for money. Money buys guns and ammo. It’s how many of the small armies of the region have stayed afloat for so long. And now, another player is getting their hand in. Intelligence suggests that North Korea’s Bureau 39 is hiring out the Light Infantry Guide Bureau as advisors in return for heroin to sell on the black market.
It’s an unacceptable situation, but northern Burma is a long way from support. And the powers that be don’t want the signature on the ground that a full-scale operation might need. So, they’re turning to a man who can get it done on a shoestring, and have a hope of getting back out.

Brannigan’s Blackhearts are going in.

Burmese Crossfire Chapter 3

Well, there’s less than a week until Burmese Crossfire comes out.  One last peek before it’s go time.


Joe Flanagan was not a man given to many words or noticeable outbursts of emotion.  He was often best described as “laconic,” and he took some pride in that fact.  He was a quiet man, often a gray man, passing unnoticed through the crowd, and he liked it that way.  He and Brannigan were of similar temperaments in that respect, as both preferred the wilderness to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Right at the moment, though, Flanagan’s eyes were smoldering, and his jaw was tight under his thick, black beard.  He was not a happy man.

He checked his watch again.  He knew he was in the right place.  The Vegas apartment complex hadn’t been hard to find.  It had been a long drive to get there, and now Curtis was late.  He would have let the man make his own way, but he’d been hiking in Utah, so he’d been close enough to swing through Vegas and pick the other man up on the way up to Colonel Brannigan’s place in Idaho.  But they still had a long way to go, and here he was, sitting at the curb, and there was no sign of the little man.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket.  “Where the hell are you?” he typed.

Joe!  Just in time!  I need extract!  I’m in the Blue Lagoon!  Hurry!

“Son of a…”  Flanagan had to fight the temptation to punch the steering wheel.  “Leave it to him to go to a damned bar and get into trouble now of all times,” he muttered, as he put the truck in gear and headed down the street.  Only having something of a working knowledge of Curtis’ favorite hangouts in Las Vegas gave him a general idea of where he was going, without looking at a map.

Ordinarily, it would seem to be too early for anyone to be in a bar, but it was Vegas, it was mid-afternoon, it was a weekend, and it was Curtis.  The man had never seen a bar that he hadn’t wanted to go into, and Flanagan was pretty sure he knew just why the little man was in trouble, too.

He was fuming and ready for a fight when he stalked through the doors of the Blue Lagoon.

The place was dim, lit by blue neon lights set above the bar and in abstract patterns on the ceiling.  The walls, ceiling, and most of the floor were black, except for the mirrors behind the bar, which just reflected the blue light even more.  The atmosphere was somewhat relieved by the Nevada sunlight coming in the tinted windows at the front, but not by much.

It was easy enough to pick out where Curtis was, even though he couldn’t see the little man behind the knot of belligerents gathered around him.  He could hear the gambler and erstwhile machinegunner’s slightly high-pitched voice clearly enough.

Say what he will about Kevin Curtis’ judgement, he could never accuse his old friend of being a coward.

“Oh, look at you, big man!” Curtis was saying.  “Bow up all you want, it don’t matter to me.  Or to her, apparently!”

The other man said something, probably intended to sound threatening.

“Oh, look at me, I’m so tough, in my Hard Rock Café t-shirt with the sleeves cut off,” Curtis mocked.  Even without seeing him, Flanagan could picture Curtis puffing his chest out and pulling his chin in to ridicule the man.  “Man, get outta here with that noise!  If you were half the tough guy you think you are, she wouldn’t have needed to get to know me, now would she?’

Flanagan was halfway across the floor when the man raised a fist.  “Try it, bitch!” Curtis called.  “See what happens!”

The man let the punch fly.  At the same moment, his half-dozen buddies also converged, fists flying.

Flanagan waded in. Continue reading “Burmese Crossfire Chapter 3”