Thursday teaser: Trojan

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This week’s sample is from the bestselling action-thriller

By Alan McDermott

Abdul al-Aziz pulled up outside the building he’d been told to report to and saw Karim’s right-hand man, Javad Zarifa, waiting by the door. Half a dozen vehicles already dotted the area around the two-storey stone building, beyond which lay a vast expanse of desert.

Two German shepherds chained to a wall snarled as he approached the door. He’d never been invited here before. He hoped he’d have something worthwhile to report home afterwards.

After the usual greetings, Zarifa showed Abdul inside, where a dozen others were already gathered. They were lining the walls of the room, and on a long wooden table a video was playing on a laptop.

‘Ah, our guest of honour,’ Karim said, opening his arms wide and smiling. ‘Come, sit. You are just in time.’

Immediately, Abdul sensed something was wrong, but before he could react, two men grabbed his arms and forced him into a chair facing the old Dell.

He recognised the person on the screen, a man with an AK-47 standing over a kneeling figure. It was him.

‘I see you recognise yourself,’ Karim said. ‘This was taken shortly after you joined us, remember? It was your initiation, your way of showing me that you were one of us.’

Abdul nodded, trying to hide the panic invading every sinew of his body. He wanted to convince himself that his worst fear wasn’t about to come true, but one glance at Karim told him everything he needed to know. The smile was gone, replaced with a glare that could strip paint from walls. He remained silent, hoping that by playing dumb he could find a way out of the situation.

‘This film has never been released,’ Karim said. ‘No-one knows that you killed this man. That is all about to change.’

‘I don’t understand. It was a simple head shot. How will that instill fear in our enemies?’

‘It won’t,’ Karim told him, ‘but it should come as a shock to the British public when they discover that the man who pulled the trigger is one of their spies.’

Before Abdul could fashion a response, he was hoisted to his feet and the laptop was moved out of the way. The others in the room crowded in as he was picked up and thrown onto the table, where four men held his legs and two others pinned his shoulders to the wooden surface.

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

Abdul could see a video camera being set up on a tripod, and he began pleading with his captor. ‘Nabil, this is a mistake! Why are you doing this?’

‘I suspected a traitor among us for some time, and it was simply a case of finding him. That’s why I let you and certain others believe you were delivering explosives to England. Only one of those packages was intercepted. Yours.’

‘It’s not true!’ Abdul shouted. ‘Maybe the explosive was detected by customs.’

‘Unlikely,’ Karim said, drawing closer. ‘We switched packages before they were shipped out. The consignment that the police picked up contained normal shock absorbers. There was nothing in the box to raise any suspicion at all.’

Abdul realised there was little point in further protestation. It was now just a matter of how Karim chose to deal with him. Any hopes of a swift death with a bullet to the head were quickly dispelled when he heard the roar of a small engine starting up. The men around him started masking their faces, and it was obvious his demise was about to be filmed.

‘We are going to send a message to your masters,’ Karim said. ‘They can send as many spies as they like, but this will be the fate that awaits them.’

Karim stood aside to make way for the soldier wielding the chainsaw.

Trojan

When the British Security Service learns that a horrifying new weapon is in enemy hands, agent Andrew Harvey is called in to track it down before it reaches home soil.

The clock is ticking. Andrew and his girlfriend, Sarah, also a secret service operative, have only one lead: a beautiful refugee, desperate not to lose her son. But is she desperate enough to betray everything she believes in? And will she do it in time to help them prevent a terrifying attack?

As Andrew and Sarah race to unravel a convoluted web of subterfuge and exploitation, they discover there is more at stake than even they knew. And somewhere, at the heart of it, lurks a faceless enemy, who is prepared to use everything—and everyone—at his disposal.

Exclusively at Amazon.

Alan McDermott, action-thrillers

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies. His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher.

Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel, Run and Hide, introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll, and a new thriller series that includes Seek and Destroy and Fight to Survive.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page   |   Amazon Author page   |   Website   |   blog   |    Facebook    |   Twitter

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The Quisling Factor

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A Thursday preview of the forthcoming new novel

By J.L. Oakley

Photo by Kererra Williams on Unsplash

Downstairs at the French doors, there was a faint light from a new moon caressing the glass panes. Haugland heard nothing, but his eyes caught an irregularity with the doors and going over, he discovered that they had opened and shut, but not completely. Moving as softly as smoke, he gently opened the door and looked out.

The pine forest beyond the grounds was dark and impenetrable. There was no wind, no call of night animals. He cocked his head again, straining, then heard a sound to his right. Easing back the hammer on his gun, he went forward stealthily, then stopped. A cat emerged from a bush close to the house and came out to serenade him. It was Tomsin, his mother’s cat.

Disgusted, Haugland drew back and returned to the door to the study. At the patio’s edge, he turned the flashlight on and shined it on the flagstones. There in the light’s yellow pool, he found two partial prints. Looking closer, he saw that they had been made by wet boots, possibly a man’s. He straightened up and pushing the doors into the room, looked for signs inside on the wood floor, but found none. They only appeared to be outside going in. He knelt down and closer for any depressions in the Oriental rug in the center of the study, but he could only see his own feet in passing. Further investigation in the hallway revealed nothing more. It was as though a ghost had come and drifted into the house, dissipating through the roof. He went back and closed the door. He was positive that something had been moving in the house, possibly outside his door upstairs, but whatever it was, it was gone. 

The Phoenix and Mission hotels, Trondheim, Norway, wartime headquarters of the Norwegian Gestapo.

Upstairs, he paused outside the children’s door, then on impulse went in. Lisel was still sleeping in the same position he had seen her last, her mouth slightly open as she slept. He pulled the summer blankets higher up on her, then gave her a kiss. Next he checked on Nils in his crib, remembering that he had not actually seen him the first time he had looked in. Shining the light near the baby’s face, Haugland was relieved to see that he was alright. The sweet blonde face was quiet, his thumb stuck into his mouth and from time to time he sucked as he slept on his stomach with his little fanny sticking up into the air. Haugland chuckled and wondered if the position was normal. He reached over and tried to unplug the thumb and discovered that the hand was grasping something.

Haugland put a hand on his tightening chest. The baby’s little fingers were gripping tightly onto what appeared to be a piece of newsprint. Gently, Haugland unrolled the fingers and slipped the paper out. It had been folded several times. It opened out into an eight by nine inch scrap. On one side there was text from several news items. On the other side—

Nazi paraphernalia from the occupation of Norway, Trondheim.

Haugland gasped. The noise in the house had been real. As he turned the paper around, he stared into a newswire photo of a scene from the Cloister. It had only been published yesterday, but it was old news to him. He did not look at the men demonstrating some torture method for the press. He only saw the poster of the skeleton on the wall. Above its bony frame in vaguely familiar printing were the words:

“I’M COMING.”

The Quisling Factor

Ex-Norwegian intelligence agent, Tore Haugland, is a survivor. In post-WWII Norway, he adjusts to life in his newly freed county with the woman he loves, German-American Anna Fromme.

A demonstration of torture from the trial of Henry Oliver Rinnan in 1946.

But first he must keep his promise to testify against one of the greatest monsters of the German occupation, Henry Oliver Rinnan. When mysterious notes threaten Haugland and his family, he must choose between protecting them or bringing to justice the man who captured and tortured him and destroyed the village that hid him.

The Quisling Factor, the sequel to J.L. Oakley’s bestselling World War II-set novel, The Jossing Affair, is coming soon.

J.L. Oakley

writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her characters come from all walks of life, but all stand up for something in their own time and place.

Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

When not writing, Janet demonstrates 19th century folkways, including churning some pretty mean butter.

Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017. It is set in 1860 on San Juan Island in Pacific NW during a time with the British Royal Marines and US Army jointly occupied the island—peacefully.

Visit her on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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Thursday teaser: Rainy Night to Die

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Read on to see how your could WIN a free e-copy of this week’s featured novel, the brand-new espionage thriller

By Caleb Pirtle III

PAULINE SAT IN silence on the sofa as the hours dragged slowly from morning to late afternoon.

The clock might as well have stopped.

It no longer had any meaning.

Just a tick.

Then a tock.

And time, which would outlive them all, stepped off the edge of the earth and would never be recovered again.

It fell into yesterday.

It would never see tomorrow.

It was lost, gone on a one-way street that ran forever and might run into a dead end before dark, and time had taken Pauline with it.

She had the guilt of murder hanging heavy on her conscience.

She had watched his face as he moved toward her, a red mask of rage, his veins pulsating on the side of his head, his pupils dilating, eyes turning from dark to a deeper shade of black.

His hands were huge, his fingernails torn ragged, packed with blood and dirt.

His naked and bloated body was awash with sweat.

Pauline could not forget the grin that tore across his face as though it had been scarred by a hacksaw.

His pale lips wrapped themselves around a mouthful of yellowed teeth, each filed sharply to a point.

On more than one occasion, Petrov had bragged about biting the nipples off a woman’s breast before throwing her broken body back out on the street.

Pauline did not doubt his story for a moment.

The first bullet had staggered him.

He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet.

Maybe if the slug had only erased that sick and wicked grin off his face, she would not have fired again.

Petrov’s death was self-defense, she told herself.

She had no choice.

It was a law as old as the first light to touch a barren earth.

Kill.

Or be killed.

She had borne the brunt of Nikolay’s anger for the final time.

He would never touch her again.

She would no longer bear the bruises delivered by his fists.

But did it really matter?

Who would believe her?

A judge?

Pauline knew she would never see a judge.

Her trial would take place in either a back alley some night while a splinter of moonlight touched her face or on the cold, winter shores of the Ukraine River while a bitter rain tried to wash the demons from her tortured soul.

One bullet.

Her skull would crack.

Would she see death before death found her?

Spies did not die with honor.

They just died.

Were buried.

And soon forgotten.

It was as if they had never left their footprints upon the same dirt that would hold their graves.

Pauline felt isolated.

She was alone.

She couldn’t run.

There was no place to go.

They would find her.

The Russians had eyes in every corner of the city.

They were watching.

Always watching.

They were watching her.

Her life began in one flicker of firelight and would end in another.

About Rainy Night to Die

Roland Sand is the quiet assassin. His missions for intelligence agencies are those no one else wants to tackle. The reason is simple. Sand is expendable. If he doesn’t return, he won’t be missed. His name is erased. It’s as though he never existed.

Sand is sent to Ukraine to smuggle out a beautiful lounge jazz singer who, for years, has been smuggling Russian secrets back to MI-6’s home office in Great Britain. Her contact in London has been compromised. He is found floating in the Thames River. Sand must extricate Pauline Bellerose before the Russians trace the stolen secrets back to her and place a noose around her neck.

He has twenty-four hours to find the singer and remove her to safety. If she is caught, he dies.

A ship is waiting in the fog off the coast of Odessa. Time is running out. He must reach the ship at the appointed hour, or it will leave without them. In the secret world of espionage, the window of escape is narrow and closing all the time. The midnight storm is the only place to hide.

The Russians are waiting on the road to sea. Sand can’t outrun them. He can’t outfight them. He must outwit them. Otherwise, he’s trapped, and it’s a rainy night to die.

Find it on Amazon.

Win a free copy

Caleb Pirtle will give a free e-copy of Rainy Night to Die to one person who can identify Roland Sand’s identifying feature. Leave your answer in the Comments below.

Caleb Pirtle III

began his career writing about history and travel. He learned quickly, however, that what happens is never as important as those who make it happen. Many of those people have made their way into his novels.

Pirtle is the author of more than 80 published books, including the noir suspense thrillers, Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Place of Skulls, and Night Side of Dark. He has also written two noir thrillers, Lovely Night to Die and Rainy Night to Die.

Other historical novels include Back Side of a Blue Moon, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award and Best of Texas Book Award, and Bad Side of a Wicked Moon. He has written such nonfiction award winners as XIT: The American Cowboy, Callaway Gardens: the Unending Season, The Grandest Day, Echoes from Forgotten Streets, Spirit of a Winner, and Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk.

Pirtle lives at Hideaway Lake in East Texas with his wife, Linda, who is the author of three cozy mysteries.

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