Sample the three thrillers in one volume
By Caleb Pirtle III
ROLAND SAND AWOKE on a park bench as the first rays of an early sunrise crept through a patch of dark clouds wet with rain.
A hot wind caressed his bald head, and he felt slender threads of perspiration rolling down the serrated scars on his face.
The air was thick.
Sand found it hard to breathe.
The humidity had wrapped its long and unforgiving fingers around his neck and felt as if was choking him.
Sand took a deep breath and winced.
A burning sensation bore through the left side of his rib cage.
The little bastard had thrown his ball peen hammer away and was doing his damndest to rip a bone out of his sternum with a crowbar.
The park bench, once green, now rusted by time and rain, sat back among a stand of weeping cedar trees that encircled a goldfish pond rimmed with brick and rocks and amber splinters from broken bottles.
The water was green and thick with algae.
A black inner tube floated against the far edge.
The goldfish were gone.
Maybe the stagnant water had devoured them all.
An old saying wandered through Sand’s mind as he narrowed his focus from a telescope to a microscope, as a gray day turned bright, then dark, and he tried to remember where he was and why he had arrived in the middle of the night with a bullet tearing up his insides.
We travelers never seek the easy way but always find the lonelier way, and we never begin a new day in the same bed where we ended the day that could have been our last.
Sundown leaves us behind.
Sunrise catches us somewhere else in unfamiliar places in the midst of unfamiliar faces.
But not everyone who wanders is lost.
The miles are never predictable.
Just because I have a map doesn’t mean I know where I am.
Just because I have a name doesn’t mean I know who I am.
And the only companion who travels with me travels in a hearse.
Who wrote that?
The Prophet Kahlil Gibran?
They would have written it better.
Maybe the words had merely spilled from a hurting and demented mind.
Sand’s turtleneck sweater had become saturated with sweat beneath his woolen long coat.
His shoulders ached, his stomach growled, and he wondered when the little bastard standing next to his left ear would quit pounding the back of his head with a ball peen hammer.
His skin itched.
His face felt as raw as a brisket grilled rare.
Sand rubbed the palm of his hand against the ridge of his jawline.
Patches of whiskers had cropped up around the scars.
They were thick and as course as the metal bristles on a harlot’s scrub brush.
He looked around him for a familiar landmark.
There was none.
He was simply a curiosity in a curious place.
Who had taken him from the train?
Who had left him?
Who had left him to die?
The list was long.
The numbers were legion.
The girl sitting beside him wore her long frosted blonde hair in braids, and a silver pendant with an eagle stamped in gold hung around her neck.
Her dress was long, black, and satin.
She looked like a refugee from some fairy tale who had escaped the holiday ball before a witch or wicked stepmother could turn her carriage into a pumpkin.
She might be thirty years old, but he doubted it, and she would have been the most striking woman he had ever seen if her thin, oval face had not been blemished with blood and a bullet hole embedded just below her hairline.
Her head lay on his shoulder.
His coat was thick with clotted blood.
He had no idea.
Her dead eyes were open and staring up at him.
He didn’t know why.
It was as if she had died with a question on her lips and thought he might provide the answer.
Lonely Night to Die
is a collection of three noir thriller novellas in a single volume. The stories follow the exploits of Roland Sand, the Quiet Assassin, who has broken away from a rogue agency within the CIA. His missions 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.
Lovely Night to Die: Why should she fall in love with a man she defended in court? Does she know he’s a CIA assassin? Does she know he has orders to kill the President? Does she know she will die if he fails? What else doesn’t she know?
Sand can’t afford to fail. He doesn’t want to lose the girl he loves.But can he save the President and her both? He has a second to make up his mind.
“Great characters, superb pacing, intriguing storytelling. Recommended for fans of solid action thrillers everywhere.” — Review by Enrico Graffiti
Rainy Night to Die: 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, she dies.
It’s a frantic race to a waiting ship off the coast of Ukraine. Death waits around every bend in the road.
“With numerous clever twists and turns to the story, it will keep you reading until the unexpected surprise at the end.” —Review by Jackie Taylor Zortman
Lonely Night to Die: Sand awakens on a park bench in town he’s never seen before.
How did he get there? He doesn’t know. Who is the beautiful girl on the bench beside him? He doesn’t know. But she’s quite dead, and he has no idea who killed her. Or why.
But he’ll find out if it’s the last thing he ever does.
It might well be.
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.
He is the author of more than 65 published books, including the new noir suspense thrillers, Golgotha Connection, Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies and Night Side of Dark. His other novels include Back Side of a Blue Moon and Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever.
He has written such award winners as “XIT: The American Cowboy,” “Callaway Gardens: the Unending Season,” “The Grandest Day,” “Echoes from Forgotten Streets,” and “Spirit of a Winner.” His nonfiction works include Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk and No Experience Required.
Caleb earned a journalism degree from The University of Texas and became the first student at the university to win the national William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. As a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he received both the Texas Headliner’s and Associated Press Awards.
He served as travel editor for Southern Living Magazine, and his travel writing was given the National Discover America Award three times. For more than two decades, Pirtle was editorial director for a custom publishing company in Dallas.
He has also written teleplays for network television.
Find more about Caleb at his: