Book Review: Cyberspace by Matthew Mather

 

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In this long-awaited sequel to the massive bestseller CyberStorm, Mike and his family are caught up in a new disaster as the Kessler Syndrome unfolds and all satellites in orbit are suddenly destroyed.

“Couldn’t put it down…CyberStorm series is not only a great thriller, but a wake up call.” Brent Watkins, FBI Cyber Investigations, Special Agent (retired)

Six years after the events of CyberStorm, Mike Mitchel is reunited with his old friends Damon Indigo and Chuck Mumford on a boys’ fishing trip in New Orleans. His brings his son Luke, now eight years old, while his wife Lauren attends a business meeting in Hong Kong.

As soon as they arrive, simmering tensions in Kashmir explode. India launches a weapon that destroys a Pakistani satellite. They retaliate and hit an Indian satellite. Russia and China threaten America not to intervene.

Suddenly, GPS signal goes out.

A debris field from dozens of shattered satellites spreads in orbit, destroying everything in its path. One by one, weather and communications and military satellites go offline. The Russian and American and Chinese armed forces are blinded, their armies and navies losing connections to each other. The world’s networks shut down. The United States ratchets up to global DEFON 2, threatening the brink of imminent war.

As America closes its borders, Mike discovers that his wife Lauren took an overnight flight from Hong Kong to Washington that morning. She is now somewhere over the Russian arctic. With satellites falling from the skies, mobile communications cut off, rolling power blackouts sweeping across the country and martial law declared, Mike and Chuck must race across America once again in a desperate race against the clock to save their families…

 

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When author Matthew Mather penned the first book, Cyberstorm in 2013 it was memorable, like the food that sticks to your ribs on Thanksgiving Day. Now the story continues in the much anticipated follow up, Cyberspace.  The story centers around Mike Mitchell’s family and friends as they witness the destruction of global communications networks. Consistent with things in the “cyber” realm, nothing is as it seems building suspense as the book moves along towards the climax. The ending leaves you panting for more, dripping with anticipation for the next in the series, Cyberwar.

 

 

Cyberwar Matthew Mather

 

 

The thrilling conclusion to the series, where the mysteries of CyberStorm will finally be revealed.

Terrorists unleashed an attack that destroy everything in orbit, but they’ve finally been stopped. Or have they?

Mike saves the life of his father-in-law Senator Seymour in Washington, when a wave of autonomous killer drones are unleashed in the capital. They flee the city with a secret service detail attached to the Vice-President, and peel off once they get into the countryside–but discover that the machines seem to be following them. Worse, the terrorists have kidnapped Chuck’s wife and children and are barricaded in his cottage in the hilltops of the Shenandoah mountains.

Mike and Lauren make a desperate decision to help their friend before escaping into the Kentucky foothills, chased by a mysterious military unit. With American armed forces almost completely disabled, police and emergency services gone and Washington burning…can Mike find a way to overcome the deadly intelligent machines hunting them, to save both his family and his country?

 

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Guest Post: By Robert B. McCaw Author of Fire and Vengeance

 

 

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(Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery #3)

 

Having killed his father’s nemesis and gotten away with it, Hilo, Hawai`i Chief Detective Koa Kane, is not your ordinary cop. Estranged from his younger brother who has been convicted of multiple crimes, he is not from a typical law enforcement family. Yet, Koa’s secret demons fuel his unwavering drive to pursue justice. Never has Koa’s motivation been greater than when he learns that an elementary school was placed atop a volcanic vent, which has now exploded. The subsequent murders of the school’s contractor and architect only add urgency to his search for the truth. As Koa’s investigation heats up, his brother collapses in jail from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Using his connections, Koa devises a risky plan to win his brother’s freedom. As Koa gradually unravels the obscure connections between multiple suspects, he uncovers a 40 year-old conspiracy. When he is about to apprehend the perpetrators, his investigation suddenly becomes entwined with his brother’s future, forcing Koa to choose between justice for the victims and his brother’s freedom.

 

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Guest  Post

By Robert B. McCaw

Themes of Fire and Vengeance

 

Fire and Vengeance is a murder mystery. First and foremost, I hope readers find it entertaining, especially in this coronavirus era, when we all need relief from the grim realities of life. This novel, like the others in the Koa Kāne mystery series, plays with several of my favorite literary themes. While they are not unique, I’ve woven these themes into my narratives and hope this blog post provides some insight into the development of the Koa Kāne mysteries.

One theme is that of place as character. The Big Island is a powerful force in the story, and its unique geology and weather take on anthropomorphic roles. The Island is a place of creation and destruction, often embodied in the myth of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fires. The opening pages of Fire and Vengeance feature the destructive powers of the Island as a volcanic vent, flooded with rainwater, explodes beneath an elementary school on Hualalai Mountain.

The earlier books in the series—Death of a Messenger and Off the Grid—similarly explore the unique volcanic powers that created and continue to shape the Big Island. Death of a Messenger takes the reader deep underground into Pele’s lava tubes. Off the Grid features the volcanic destruction of the Royal Gardens community on the slopes of Kīlauea. The explosive events in Fire and Vengeance continue to build on this premise.

The place-as-character theme is not limited to geologic forces but also extends to the history, culture, and language of the Island. Descriptions of the landscape, often employing Hawaiian words for places or features, like pu’us for cinder cones, help convey the island setting’s personality. The way the human characters in Fire and Vengeance interact with Hawaii’s geography helps define them, giving them depth within their unique island environment. For instance, the park service ceremony honoring Nālani for her public safety work in the wake of the May 2018 Kīlauea eruption and Koa’s control of the crowd around the disintegrating school building are windows into their lives as well as the world they inhabit.

Physicists like to say that for every action there is a reaction. That is also true in human behavior with one startling difference. Physicists can usually predict a precise reaction while life is rife with unintended consequences. Take Koa’s personal history, for example. What were the likely consequences of his reckless killing of his father’s nemesis? Maybe flight, maybe jail, but not that he should become a cop devoted to finding justice for murder victims.

The human compulsion to cover up one’s misdeeds only adds to our inability to predict consequences. Lawyers frequently warn that the cover-up is worse than the crime, and that is often true. Suppression prolongs the day of reckoning, sometimes for years or even decades, permitting unforeseen events to ensue that can impact the ultimate outcome. For example, a man who sexually harassed women in the 1990s had little expectation of dealing with the blowback arising from the #MeToo era. Readers will find unintended consequences throughout the Koa Kāne mystery series. It is one of my favorite themes.

The relationship between the past and present in the development of character fascinates me. I wonder whether we can ever truly escape our past. On the surface, the answer, of course, is yes. While traumatic events may leave scars, people have escaped poverty and abusive relationships. People do change. Redemption is a core theme in many religions, and there are legions of hypocritical politicians who have seen the light and renounced their various indiscretions. Our prison and parole systems rely in part on the belief in the rehabilitation. The blessing of forgiveness covers many sins, both large and small.

On a deeper level, however, the answer is not so obvious, especially when the past involves heinous acts like murder. Can Koa ever escape the fact that he killed a man? It haunts his days and invades his dreams. It drives his compulsion to seek justice and makes him good at his job. He seeks redemption, but can he ever find it? If not, at least his efforts result in some measure of personal catharsis and public service. Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case.

Fire and Vengeance features another set of relationships between past misdeeds and present actions. In this case, the participants acted in concert but then followed dramatically diverse paths. Their collective history governs their later lives in radically different ways. Because they joined together in criminal conduct, these players affect each other, if only because each knows that the others are aware of the sins they share. Adding to the drama, the passage of time alters their interactions as each one necessarily grows and changes. Can any of them escape what they have done? Is there a path to redemption? How do these relationships play out over time?

The passage of time obscures consciousness, a theme often captured in the admonition that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. There is no more vivid example than the current coronavirus plague. Humanity has suffered many pandemics, starting at least as early as 430 BC. The world nevertheless remained unprepared for COVID-19 because its leaders ignored the inevitability of another global health crisis. The Japanese built the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant where their ancestors had previously warned of massive tsunamis. Italians populate the slopes of Vesuvius, which is sure to erupt in the future. Collective obscured consciousness is a favorite theme with virtually unlimited potential.

The imagined tragedy at the heart of Fire and Vengeance happened only because the story’s fictional characters—like many modern-day Hawaiians—remain oblivious to the fact that Hualalai Mountain is an active volcano. The passage of more than 200 years since its last eruption should offer little solace that Hualalai will not erupt again. Yet, thousands live within its shadow, flying in and out from nearby Keāhole airport built on its flows, with little or no thought of the inherent risks. These residents are mostly indifferent to warnings by expert volcanologists and disregard the Hawaiian legends of past volcanic tragedies on the mountain.

For me, these themes make creative writing fun.

 

 

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Robert McCaw is the author of Fire and Vengeance, Off the Grid, and Death of a Messenger. McCaw grew up in a military family, traveling the world. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, served as a U.S. Army lieutenant, and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. He was a partner in a major international law firm in Washington, D.C. and New York City, representing major Wall Street clients in complex civil and criminal cases. Having lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, McCaw imbues his writing of the Islands with his more than 2-year love affair with this Pacific paradise. He now lives in New York City with his wife, Calli.

 

 

 

Book Review: Texas Ranger by James Patterson & Andrew Bourelle

 

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  • Rory Yates Book 1
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1538713802
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (August 13, 2018)
  • Publication Date: August 13, 2018
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group

 

Officer Rory Yates is called home to settle deadly scores.

Rory Yates’s skill and commitment to the badge have seen him rise through the ranks in the Texas Ranger division, but it came at a cost – his marriage.

When he receives a worrying phone call from his ex-wife, Anne, Rory speeds to what used to be their marital home. He arrives to a horrifying crime scene and a scathing accusation: he is named a suspect in Anne’s murder.

Rory’s only choice is to find the killer himself. He risks his job, his pride, his reputation among everyone he loves to pursue the truth.

Yates follows the Ranger creed – never to surrender. That code just might bring him out alive.

AmazonGoodreads | B&NAudible

 

 

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This was the best Patterson book yet. I’m totally loving the Texas Ranger Rory Yates in his gun-blazing glory. It has that old wild, wild, west flavor to it. And, if you take the audiobook route, narrator Christopher Ryan Grant does an excellent job ushering you into the full Texas experience. LOVED IT. Felt like I was in the old south. Ranger Rory Yates is drawn back into his hometown where he finds his ex-wife brutally murdered. What’s even worse, he’d been on the phone with her while going to her—but found out she was dead on arrival. In the most horrific way. That’s the hook and premise for the entire story. He has to deal with much more than just the murder investigation though. Family turmoil, past relationships, and conflict with law enforcement just to name a few. Wonderful beginning to a promising series. The follow up Texas Outlaw just came out and I’m looking forward to diving in headfirst.

 

 

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Texas Ranger

Series: Rory Yates, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins

 

“An effective mystery . . . Patterson and Bourelle’s rapid-fire chapters squeeze in plenty of dishy small-town drama on top of the murder case [and] the story is picking up speed like a semi barreling down the Interstate.” -Houston Chronicle

 

 

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Texas Outlaw

Series: Rory Yates, Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins

A Texas Ranger is justice. Until he sidesteps the law.

Texas Ranger Rory Yates is not keen for hero status. But it’s unavoidable once his girlfriend, country singer Willow Dawes, writes a song about his bravery. Rory escapes his newfound fame when he’s sent to the remote West Texas town of Rio Lobo, a municipality with two stoplights. And now, according to the Chief of Police, it has one too many Texas Rangers. 

Rio Lobo Detective Ariana Delgado is the one who requested Rory, and the only person who believes a local councilwoman’s seemingly accidental death is a murder. Then Rory begins to uncover a tangle of small-town secrets, favors, and lies as crooked as Texas law is straight.

To get to the truth before more people die, Rory is forced to take liberties with the investigation. The next ballad of Rory Yates may not be about a hero, but rather an outlaw song.

©2020 James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle (P)2020 Little, Brown & Company

Book Review: Hard Target by J.B. Turner

 

 

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A threat inside the government. A whistleblower’s life on the line. It’s up to Jon Reznick to bring justice.

When hacker Trevelle Williams discovers documents that threaten national security and put his life in jeopardy, there’s only one person he can turn to—Jon Reznick. Williams has learned that Rosalind Dyer, a key congressional witness, is about to be killed in order to stop her testimony. She has stumbled into the middle of a cover-up that goes deep into the United States government. Dyer knows her days are numbered, but that won’t stop her from doing what she has to do.

Trevelle Williams has helped Jon out of many a scrape in the past. Now, Jon is the only person he can turn to for help saving Rosalind’s life, as well as his own, and protecting national security in the process.

With enemies on all sides, including within the United States government, can Jon and Trevelle get to Rosalind in time? They’re her only hope to escape her pursuers and bring these secrets to light.

 

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Big Number One

 

 

~Hard Target is #1 in Assassination & Terrorism Thrillers ~

 

HARD TARGET

 

  • Jon Reznick Thriller Book 8
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542014433
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 21, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 21, 2020
  • Available in all formats

 

An Explosive Thriller!

I love this series and Hard Target is the best one yet. Can’t recommend it enough. What a blazing page turner! Full of action, tension, conflict; and dilemmas, OH DILEMMAS galore. That’s the normal world for ex-special forces hard nose Jon Reznick. Usually it’s Jon, that enlists the help of ex-NSA hacker specialist Trevelle Williams; but the tables are turned in this one. Now it’s Trevelle, who needs immediate protection from some very powerful people. Like, Pentagon type big-wigs with resources at their disposal. One hallmark with J.B. Turner books is the always the ticking clock. That, with the pacing, running for your life narrative makes his books dynamic thrillers. Don’t miss this one!

 

 

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JB Turner Author photo

 

J.B. Turner – a former journalist – is an Amazon #1 bestselling thriller writer. He is best known for the Jon Reznick® series. His latest book, HARD TARGET (Thomas & Mercer), was published on 21 May 2020.

His influences and favorite authors include: Lee Child, Richard Stark, Hunter S. Thompson, James Ellroy, James Lee Burke, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Henry James, Harlan Coben, Thomas H. Cook, John Grisham, James Patterson, John Buchan, and Michael Connelly. He wrote the American Ghost® series of action thrillers. The series features protagonist Nathan Stone, a former CIA covert operative who had been critically wounded, and everyone thought was dead. But behind closed doors, he was rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission, given a new identity and appearance, and remoulded into a lethal assassin. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. The Commission owns him, but Stone knows one wrong move could turn him from loyal asset to hunted man. He also wrote the Jon Reznick novella, Gone Bad (No Way Back Press), and the Deborah Jones® crime thrillers, Miami Requiem (No Way Back Press) and Dark Waters (No Way Back Press). His books have conspiratorial elements and themes throughout them. His work can often be described as thrillers; his books cover sub-genre categories including assassination thriller, suspense thriller, political thriller, crime fiction, military thriller, and, in the case of the Deborah Jones books, mysteries.

He has a keen interest in geo-politics. He loves music. He occasionally blogs. He listens to everything from Beethoven to The Beatles, The Cure to Bach. And everything in between. Occasionally writes. Loves films. Well, good ones. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Heat, The Godfather, The Offence, The French Connection, Payback, It’s a Wonderful Life, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hell or High Water, Sideways, The Fighter, Ladybird, As Good As It Gets, Wonder Boys, The Deer Hunter, All the President’s Men, Joker, Babette’s Feast, and a personal fave, Animal House (what’s not to like?).

He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is married with two children.

Literary Agent: Mitch Hoffman, The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency, New York.

Film/TV Rights: Rich Green, The Gotham Group, West Hollywood, California.

www.JBTurnerauthor.com

 

**A donation of any amount is appreciated at the following link via Paypal: Mystery Thriller Week. Thank you for supporting bloggers!**

Check out my new site for Sci-fi lovers! The SciFi Blend

 

 

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Book Review: One Minute Out by Mark Greaney

 

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While on a mission to Croatia, Court Gentry uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood.

Court is determined to shut it down, but his CIA handlers have other plans. The criminal ringleader has actionable intelligence about a potentially devastating terrorist attack on the US. The CIA won’t move until they have that intel. It’s a moral balancing act with Court at the pivot point.

 

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There’s military, or assassination thrillers and then….there’s Mark Greaney’s Gray Man. His latest, One Minute Out is absolutely the cream of the crop. It has everything you’d ask for in a thriller. Depth of character, riveting plot, break-neck action, killer suspense, and a international criminal organization. From the Balkans, Italian mafia, to L.A. this one has it all. Told from first person narrative you get a good look into Court Gentry’s mindset. Very entertaining and hilarious.

One of the things that surprises me the most; is the personal sacrifice that Gentry is willing to endure to stop a global human trafficking ring. Like a dog with a bone–He won’t let go until the mission is completed. Sacrifice, after sacrifice, after sacrifice. I’m thrilled to have all the books and can’t wait to read them before the next Gray man comes out. RELENTLESS ( Gray Man Book 10) Feb. 16, 2021. Don’t miss it.

 

 

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“I LOVE THE GRAY MAN.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

“BOURNE FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM.”—New York Times bestselling author James Rollins

PRAISE FOR ONE MINUTE OUT

“[One Minute Out] cements Mark Greaney’s status as a preeminent storyteller whose thrillers continue to resound on multiple levels…Court Gentry is this generation’s James Bond, and his latest adventure is not to be missed.”—Providence Journal

 

 

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Mark Greaney has a degree in International Relations and Political Science. In researching The Gray Man series he traveled to ten countries and trained extensively in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine, and close range combative tactics.

Learn more at MARKGREANEYBOOKS.COM

 

 

 

Book Review: Instinct Chess Team Adventure Book #2

 

Instinct Chess Team Adventure book 2

 

The high adventure of James Rollins combines with the gripping suspense of Scott Sigler in this second installment in the Jack Sigler Thriller 

A genetic disease known as Brugada Syndrome kills its victims without warning, without symptom. When the President of the United States falls victim to a weaponized and contagious strain of the disease, the Chess Team?King, Queen, Rook, Knight and Bishop?are assigned to protect Sara Fogg, a CDC detective, as she journeys to the source of the new strain: the Annamite Mountains in Vietnam. Surrounded by Vietnam War era landmines, harsh terrain and more than one military force not happy about the return of American boots to the Ho Chi Minh trail, the fight for survival becomes a grueling battle in the humid jungle.Pursued by VPLA Death Volunteers, Vietnam?s Special Forces unit, the team?s flight through a maze of archaic ruins reveals an ancient secret…a primal secret that may stop the disease from sweeping the globe?even as it threatens both the mission and their lives.

 

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What an adventure! This was an absolute roller coaster of a read, but with MORE twists and turns. A genuine definition of a true thriller that never disappoints, and Never, EVER has a dull moment. Superb. I can’t recommend this series enough. It blends all of the topics I love together. Military, covert operations, science, coupled with action and adventure. And I have to say, a book like this, only could’ve come out of the mind of author Jeremy Robinson. It’s the right kind of weird that explores the wildest side of the imagination. But it’s written in such a skillful way that keeps you burning through the pages. I kept asking myself, how in the hell are they going to get out of this one! The suspense is about a mile thick with a very satisfying ending. I’m on to book #3 Threshold!

 

 

Five stars in the dark. Customer experience and satisfaction concept.

 

 

 

Instinct Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

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Jeremy Robinson is the international bestselling author of sixty novels and novellas, including Apocalypse Machine, Island 731, and SecondWorld, as well as the Jack Sigler thriller series and Project Nemesis, the highest selling, original (non-licensed) kaiju novel of all time. He’s known for mixing elements of science, history and mythology, which has earned him the #1 spot in Science Fiction and Action-Adventure, and secured him as the top creature feature author. Many of his novels have been adapted into comic books, optioned for film and TV, and translated into thirteen languages. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and three children.

 

Visit him at www.bewareofmonsters.com.

 

 

 

A Sneak Peak of Kidnapped On Safari by Peter Riva

 

 

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Out Jan. 21st, available for pre-order now: Kidnapped On Safari

 

The third book in the Mbuno & Pero series pulls terror from headlines to create a gripping international thriller for readers of John le Carré, Daniel Silva, and Iris Johansen.

Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno’s son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.

Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group’s aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.

Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.

 

 

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An Excerpt 

 

KIDNAPPED ON SAFARI – CHAPTER 3

 

Mamba Kisiwa na Simu ya Dharura—Crocodile Island and an Emergency Call

 

Excerpted from Kidnapped on Safari by Peter Riva. Copyright © 2020 by Peter Riva. All rights reserved. Published by Skyhorse Publishing.

 

The emergency call came in at breakfast. They could hear Wolfie’s shortwave radio belting out his call sign, repeatedly declaring, “Come in 5Z4WD, most urgent call for Pero Baltazar.” Pero got up and made his way to Wolfie’s office, asking Amal, their waiter, to get Wolfie. “Kwenda kupata bwana Wolfgang haraka, tafadhali, Amal.” (Go get boss Wolfgang quickly, please, Amal.)

Pero knew better than to touch Wolfgang’s sole means of communication with the outside world. Besides, Wolfgang had once allowed him to use the radio transmitter set, commonly called an RT set, to reach out to Pero’s old contacts at the CIA and State Department in Washington. Pero had been a runner for them, collecting papers and making note of fellow passengers at airports when asked, fortunately infrequently—nothing dangerous, nothing remotely exciting. Then two events had caused Pero to get deeper into the world of anti-terrorism than he ever wanted. Unable to cope alone those two times, he had involved his friends, including Heep, Mary, Susanna, and, of course, Mbuno, who were once again on location with him, this time along the shore of Lake Rudolf. Pero desperately hoped this emergency call had nothing to do with his old Washington contacts. 

He had quit after the Berlin package incident, after he had nearly died, mainly because he had married for the second time in his life as soon as he had left the hospital and recovered. Susanna was a brilliant sound engineer, as devoted to Pero as he was to her. The name of Pero’s first wife, Addiena, who had died in the Lockerbie disaster, was tattooed on the underside of his right forearm. He used to sleep with it across his heart so he would not forget her after she perished. Her tragic death was the reason he had offered his minor services to the CIA in the first place, wanting to do something to thwart terrorism. It was heartwarming for Pero that his new wife, Susanna, now insisted she drift off to sleep lying to his right, making him put out his arm for her to use Addiena’s name as a pillow. “She loved you and you, her. It is how I can remember her, thank her, for teaching you how to love, you dummer Mann.” 

Susanna’s native German expression of “dumb man” had been a scolding term for him originally deployed during the Berlin dangers, which was when she had revealed she cared for Pero deeply. Since then, it had become a term of endearment between them, their bond cemented by past events.

Adrenaline pumping because of the radio call, Pero weaved his way past tightly packed breakfast tables, careful not to allow his large, six-foot frame to disturb fellow guests. He heard Amal calling out to Wolfgang. By the time Pero got to the radio office, he could hear Wolfgang replying, “I am coming, I am coming.” The RT set was almost a living thing to Wolfgang, and Pero was used to hearing the man talk to it as a father would his child. Pero, waiting at the door, opened it for Wolfgang, who entered, sat, and flicked the on switch all in one practiced movement. He keyed the mike, gave his call sign 5Z4WD in answer, and said, “What is the message?”

The voice faded suddenly, coming in faintly, and Wolfgang gently turned the tuning dial. “Okay, Nairobi, I read you now, the sun’s up here so this may break up.” A woman’s voice came on the radio, asked if Baltazar was available, and Wolfie told her he was present and standing by.

“Message from Flamingo Tours, for Pero Baltazar, urgent, Mwana Wambuno, on safari, Moyowosi Game Reserve, missing for over ten hours. Safari clients being flown back to Nairobi. No trace of Ube. Over.” Ube was the nickname of Mbuno’s nephew, Mwana Wambuno. Pero immediately knew Mbuno would take the news of his favorite nephew hard.

Pero asked, “Wolfie, may I speak directly to her?” Wolfgang nodded and indicated the mike button. “Pero here, who’s that? Sheila Ndelle? Over.” Sheila, the backbone of Flamingo Tours, was also the sister of the UN security police chief and totally reliable. 

Ndiyo, over.” Yes, came the reply.

“Hi Sheila, give me all the details you have, and also, where’s Tone? Over.” Anthony Bowman was the owner of Flamingo Tours, known to everyone over the decades as simply Tone. An ex–white hunter, Tone ran the best safari outfitters anywhere—expedition tents, private toilets, dinner with white table linens, client’s wishes always fulfilled.

“Hi Pero, Mr. Anthony is down at the Tanzanian Embassy trying to find out more information, if there is any known terrorist or poaching problems in the area. There wasn’t any when we sent the clients there. All we know is that Ube took three clients out on a walking safari yesterday morning, camera clients”—by which she meant not hunters—“and they took leopard images in the tall grass, a kill of a bushbuck, treeing the carcass, you know the drill.” Pero did. Leopard was one of Africa’s big five—lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and cape buffalo. Originally a hunting list, these animals still presented a challenge for the lens hunter. “On the plane’s HF radio, briefly, the clients have reported that suddenly as they were heading back to camp, Ube told our two bearers to make the clients crawl back to the Land Rover and fly back to Nairobi without stopping or talking to anyone. They said Ube told them to do this quietly if they valued their lives. They did as they were told. They have no idea what Ube did or where he went.” Sheila paused. “But, Pero, they said they heard a shot. Over.”

Pero’s producer instincts kicked in. “You say the clients are en route for Wilson Airport? Over.” Wilson Airport was on the western side of Nairobi and the jumping off small airport for most safaris and the Flying Doctor air services. Wolfgang glanced at Pero, clearly wondering why Pero should be interested in the clients since he knew Ube’s disappearance would be of paramount importance to Mbuno and, therefore, presumably to Pero.

Sheila’s tone also had an edge. “Yes, yes, they are inbound but had to wait for Tanzanian air traffic control for permission to depart. We had a plane waiting, in case, for medical reasons on the client’s instructions. They will be back in about two hours. But it is Ube we are worried about, and we need to tell Mbuno. Over.”

Pero nodded. “Agreed, I’ll take care of that. But Sheila, listen to me, please, I need you to go immediately to the airport, see Sheryl at Mara Airways, arrange for a Cessna 414 for us here immediately, plane and pilots—note, I said pilots—on loan, indefinite period. Over.” Sheila gave her confirmation. “Good, then call the Langata police station and ask for Sergeant Gibson Nabana. He’s the one I shot during that terrorist attack two years ago, remember? Over.” Sheila laughed and said she remembered it well. It had made the front page of the Daily Standard paper. At the time Pero had needed to gain control of a difficult confusion of authority at Wilson Airport and had only slightly wounded the sergeant. They subsequently became good allies and, since then, drinking buddies. “Okay, Sheila, tell Gibson to stop your clients and confiscate every piece of camera equipment they have. Tell him that I will be in Nairobi as soon as possible. Look, we need to review every shot to see if those camera-happy clients caught anything that can help us figure out what has happened to Ube. Once Mbuno and I see what is there, or not, we will reboard the Mara Cessna and proceed to . . . where was the landing strip? Remember that Sheryl at Mara Airways will need to have that information while you are at Wilson Airport, okay? Over.”

Sheila understood the flight would have to leave Kenya and land in Tanzania, an everyday occurrence as long as the paperwork was filled in properly with Customs and Excise on both sides of the border. “The Moyowosi Airport we used for the clients was actually at Mgwesi at the southwestern end of the Lake Nyagamoma, and then there is a three-hour slow drive into the game reserve. Should I lay on transport? Our drivers are still there, packing up the tents. I have not given them instruction to drive back to base. Over.”

“Yes, Sheila, hold your people in place, reestablish the camp, but move it at least a mile or more away. We’ll use it, and we’ll pay the fare. And one more thing, your clients will get back to Wilson before we do, so you have to make sure to tell them, before they land, that if Ube had reason to get your clients out secretly, whatever his reasons were, it is serious and if they value their lives they will not, I repeat, not talk with anyone. And keep them at the airport. Over.” Sheila said she understood and signed off. 

Wolfgang looked over at Pero and simply said, “I guess you’ll be leaving then. The pool is full; I was thinking about draining it, but you might as well use it before you go while you wait for transport.” It was as friendly a gesture Pero had ever heard the owner of the Oasis make.

 

 

Peter Riva author image headshot

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Peter Riva is the author of Kidnapped on Safari. He has spent many months over thirty years traveling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books, including the previous two titles in the Mbuno and Pero Adventures series, Murder on Safari and The Berlin Package. He lives in Gila, New Mexico. For more information, please visit https://peterriva.com