Someone is assassinating CIA field officers and Jake Keller's name is next on the list in the latest thrilling novel from the author Publishers Weekly calls "a fresh voice in the crowded spy thriller field." Jake doesn't know who is trying to kill him and he doesn't know why. Still, it's a threat he can't ignore. When his small plane crashes in the Alps, Jake is the only survivor. A rescue helicopter soon arrives, but the men inside are not there to save anyone. They are determined to complete the murderous job they started. Jake escapes from the mountainside deathtrap, but it won't be the only attempt on his life. If he's to have any chance at surviving, he'll have to find out who's behind the killings. But the circle of people Jake can trust is distressingly small as he suspects that someone inside the Agency is feeding his every move to the very people who are trying to end his life. Jake's quest takes him to the candle-lit cathedrals of Paris and the rain-slicked streets of London. He makes contact with old friends and new enemies along the way—but his true nemesis may be closer than he imagines.
Jack Ryan, Jr., will do anything for a friend, but this favor will be paid for in blood in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
Jack Ryan Jr would do anything for Ding Chavez. That’s why Jack is currently sitting in an open air market in Israel helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding’s army days. Ding hadn’t seen his friend since Peter’s transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It’s a cushy assignment–an all expense paid trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.
Jack is here merely as an observer, but when he hastens to help a woman and her young son, he finds himself the target of trained killers. Alone and outgunned Jack will have to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.
A few quick questions with author Don Bentley
1. Did you name the book Target Acquired after you wrote it, or did you already have it in mind based off an idea beforehand?
Since it’s a Tom Clancy book and not my series, the publisher gave me a list of names they’d already preselected. I voted for Target Acquired and that’s what they went with.
2. I’ve heard you speak about the difference in writing the point of view for Jack Ryan Jr. vs. the Matt Drake series. How was it getting to know Jack Ryan Jr. as a character?
Getting to know Jack Jr. was a ton of fun. I tried to peel back his a character in a way that was new and maybe hadn’t been done quite the same way before. You’ll have to let me know how I did!
3. What do you love most about the Tom Clancy books?
I love how Tom introduced you to military tech in a way that made you feel as if you were strapped into the F-14 right beside the pilot. He truly was one of the greats, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet him.
In the thirteenth book in Mike Lawson’s celebrated series, Joe DeMarco finds himself on the wrong side of an investigation—in the wake of a political assassination, he’s been framed as the killer.
As the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney in Washington, D.C., Joe DeMarco has had to bend and break the law more than a few times. But when Representative Lyle Canton, House Majority Whip, is found shot dead in his office in the U.S. Capitol and DeMarco is arrested for the murder, DeMarco knows he’s been framed. Locked up in the Alexandria Jail awaiting trial, he calls on his enigmatic friend Emma, an ex-DIA agent, to search for the true killer.
Emma’s investigation leads her to Sebastian Spear, the ruthless and competitive CEO of the multi-billion-dollar Spear Industries. Spear had a motive for killing Lyle Canton: Canton’s wife, Jean, had once been Spear’s high school sweetheart and the one true love of his life—until Canton won her over. Now Jean was dead, killed in a car crash while driving drunk, and Spear blamed Canton for the accident. But the case the F.B.I. has built against DeMarco is airtight, and not a single piece of evidence points to the grieving CEO. Using her cunning and her D.C. connections, Emma sets out to prove that Spear has been using some fixers of his own.
Featuring crimes of passion, corporate corruption, and partisan feuds, House Arrest is a gripping, timely political thriller, and one of Lawson’s best books yet.
This book was utterly amazing. What took me so long to read a Joe DeMarco thriller! Yes I know, I jumped in at book #13, but it still was amazing. Mike Lawson stands out among the crowded field of thriller writers. His brand of storytelling puts you right into the heart of D.C. political intrigue, corruption, and backdoor maneuvering. This time Joe DeMarco, the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney is completely vulnerable when he’s framed for the murder of U.S. Representative Lyle Canton. The way this book unravels is just a masterpiece. There’s good writing, and then there’s great storytelling that goes above and beyond your expectations. You get hopelessly lost into the story. Exceptional! I’m moving on to Joe DeMarco book #14, House Privilege.
Get ready for an event unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
All your favorite authors, one night, five-plus hours of LIVE streaming . . . and it’s all free!
Join us on November 3 for Night of a Thousand Authors, an evening of endless interviews and appearances from some of the biggest names on the thriller and mystery scene today. Co-hosting will be author K.J. Howe (ITW Executive Director) and The Real Book Spy’s Ryan Steck, with special help from The Crew Reviews‘ Michael Houtz, Sean Cameron, and Christopher Albanese.
David Brown, Deputy Director of Publicity at Atria Books and “driver” of the @AtriaMysteryBus twitter feed, has teamed up with the Executive Director of ITW and ThrillerFest, Kimberley Howe and influential book blogger Ryan “The Real Book Spy” Steck to create NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS,election day counterprogramming for mystery, thriller and suspense fans to escape from the stress and anxiety of that day.
BEGINNING AT 3 PM ET ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 — STREAMING LIVE BELOW
NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is being described as The Jerry Lewis Telethon meets Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with the biggest names in crime fiction and NO TALK OF POLITICS.
NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is a marathon of 10 minutes interviews hosted by Howe and Steck—the “special sauce” is that each author will share the first two minutes of their interview on the screen with the previous guest and the last two minutes of their interview with the next guest.
“How often do you get to see this many big name authors in one place over a short period of time?” Howe asked, “The magnitude of star power makes this program unique.”
“This is going to be wild!” Steck said, “Wall to wall and back to back, rapid fire interviews complete with potential odd pairings overlapping and doing it live? It can only go right!”
Bookstores, libraries and review websites will be contacted and encouraged to stream the program from their websites.
Jesse and Jonathan Kellerman
Rachel Howzell Hall
William Kent Krueger
Joel C. Rosenberg
Andrews & Wilson
Lisa Scottoline/Francesca Serritella
The star-studded event—which will live stream across a number of platforms—will serve as the show launch for THRILLER TALK, a brand new podcast from Howe and Steck, who’ve teamed up to bring fans of the genre a fresh, innovative new show that’ll cover the thriller genre in a way that’s unlike anything else available on the web.
Night of a Thousand Authors, produced by Jeff Ayers, will feature a pre and post-game show hosted by Mr. Atria Mystery Bus himself, David Brown. The full lineup of writers who’ll appear can be viewed below, though fans will have to tune in live on November 3 to find out more about author pairings and who will appear when.
While additional details (including more participating authors) will be made in the coming days, fans excited to tune in can now go “subscribe” to the THRILLER TALK YouTube channel here.
Plastic surgeon Lou Edwards’s life is complicated by two major issues.
One, his wife has lupus, possibly due to leaking silicone from breast implants Edwards himself inserted. And two, his malpractice insurance has been canceled, as it has been for many other plastic surgeons, due to the burgeoning breast implant problem.
But it gets worse.
Shortly after Edwards threatens an insurance company president on national TV, the president is found murdered in his penthouse.
Dr. Jim Bob Brady once again finds himself doing a bit of investigating, this time on behalf of a colleague. But how well does he know this colleague? Is the investigation worth the threat to Jim Bob’s own life? Will he discover that it was a burglary gone bad? A lover’s quarrel? Or is this an act of revenge?
Act of Revenge: A Medical Thriller
by John Bishop, MD
Excerpted from Act of Revenge: A Doc Brady Mystery. Copyright © 2020 by John Bishop MD. All rights reserved. Published by Mantid Press.
Monday, February 10, 1997
“JIM BOB! Jim Bob? Can you hear me?”
I was stunned but not unconscious. My first concern was that I had sustained another head injury. I had been mugged a year and a half ago and had spent ten days in a coma after developing a subdural hematoma, a collection of blood between my brain and skull requiring surgery. The hair on my shaved head had taken seemingly forever to grow back out to a length and texture I could brush. I wasn’t prepared to go through all that again.
“I’m okay, I think,” I said to Mary Louise. She was kneeling down over me, skis off. “Thanks for not being in front of me. I might have hit you, too. Where’s the guy I ran into?”
“He’s up the hill. I’ll go check on him.” And with that, she headed back up the slope.
Since I had landed face down in the snow, I used my corduroy cap to clean off my goggles and face in an attempt to see what was going on. I was partially buried in the foot-high drift, but when I assessed that my extremities were intact and my vision was relatively normal, I managed to turn myself around.
I sat up and saw my wife kneeling down over the man I had run into twenty yards behind me. One ski was off, and the other was twisted about 45 degrees, half-buried in the snow. Unfortunately, his leg was still attached to it. My skis had come undone, and God only knew where they had landed. Probably in someone’s condo.
I had heard of a ski accident that occurred on the same slope wherein a crash between two skiers had resulted in a lost ski sailing down the hill and crashing through a picture window into the living room of a residence. No one was hurt, at least in the home, but I’m sure it gave them quite a start. And some decent kindling.
I abandoned my ski poles, which had still been attached to my wrists with their adjustable loops, and stepped up the hill to join Mary Louise and the unknown assailant. A thought crossed my mind that perhaps I was the unknown assailant. Whatever the situation, I hoped the man had experienced enough of a shock to render him an amnesiac but not unconscious or damaged.
“Are you okay?” Mary Louise was asking him repeatedly as I arrived on the scene. Several other skiers had gathered as well and had already placed their skis in the ground, tips up and crossed, the universal sign of an injury requiring the ski patrol’s attention.
The man was on his side. His eyes were open.
“Listen,” I said, “I’m a doctor. I need to check your pupils and your arms and legs. Don’t be frightened. Okay?”
His pupils reacted normally to light. I felt his neck.
“Any pain here?” I asked as I gently moved his cervical spine from side to side. “Any numbness? Arms or legs?”
He shook his head. “My leg . . . killing me.”
“I’m sure. I’ll get down there in a minute.”
The man’s arms, chest, head, spine, and right leg all seemed to be in working order. It was time to address the crucial issue.
“Listen,” I explained, “my name is Jim Brady. I’m an orthopedic surgeon from Houston. I need to check out this left leg and try to decide if you’ve got a fracture in your femur or tibia or if you’ve got a knee ligament injury. I may not be able to tell, but I’d like to try before the ski patrol arrives.Okay?”
“I don’t want you to move it. Hurts too bad.”
“Well, the medic will have to move it to get you onto the stretcher. Your leg’s kind of twisted out at an angle. If I can figure out what’s wrong, I may be able to make you more comfortable by moving it. Let me try.”
He nodded. I gently felt his femur, the thigh bone, with both hands. No pain. Same with the tibia and fibula, the two bones connecting the knee to the ankle. When I felt his knee, however, even through his bulky, waterproof ski pants, I could feel the enlarged joint. He winced.
“It’s your knee, probably a ligament tear. If I can get your ski off andstraighten out the leg, you’ll feel a lot better. I want you to hang on for a minute.”
“Man, it’s killing me! Just leave it alone!”
I paused, then slid down toward his boot release, had Mary Louise support the ski to minimize the torque, and unsnapped his boot from the binding. He moaned for a second, but I quickly untwisted the leg, brought it parallel to the other, and laid it down.
“Damn it! I told you not to—huh. Feels better.”
“See,” I said, “you should have trusted me.”
“Sort of hard to trust a guy who runs you over, wouldn’t you say?”
I assumed amnesia wasn’t going to be a problem for him.
Two members of the ski patrol arrived on separate snowmobiles pulling stretchers. One of them had probably been intended for me. I was glad to decline it. I helped the medics get my victim onto the stretcher and bind him down to minimize the shock of the journey to Snowmass Ski Clinic. I felt obligated to accompany them.
“Are you by yourself? Is there anyone we can notify?” Mary Louise asked. “I’ll be glad to make a call. Whatever you need.”
“Guess you better call my wife, tell her I’m hurt. I hate to upset her,though.”
“Where are you staying?” she asked him.
“Wood Run Condos. Just down the hill. I was headed home.”
“So were we,” Mary Louise said. “Why don’t I just run by there. We’re at the Chamonix. You’re only a block or so away. How would that be?”
He nodded and sort of smiled. “That’d be real nice, ma’am. I’d appreciate
She looked at him for a minute, waiting. “I need your name and condo number,” she said patiently, like a schoolteacher waiting for a third grader to figure out the times tables.
“Oh, sure. Sorry. I’m Lou Edwards. Her name’s Mimi. We’re in 530 Wood Run. And thanks.”
“It’s the least I can do,” Mary Louise said, looking at me like she was very glad I was okay, but not happy that I had run over the poor man. I didn’t blame her.
About the Author:
John Bishop MD is the author of Act of Revenge: A Doc Brady Mystery. Dr. Bishop has practiced orthopedic surgery in Houston, Texas, for 30 years. His Doc Brady medical thriller series is set in the changing environment of medicine in the 1990s. Drawing on his years of experience as a practicing surgeon, Bishop entertains readers using his unique insights into the medical world with all its challenges, intricacies, and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of health care professionals. Dr. Bishop and his wife, Joan, reside in the Texas Hill Country. For more information, please visit:
In ASSASSIN’S CODE, the fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, Joe Ledger and the DMS go on a relentless chase to stop an ancient order of killers from plunging the entire world into Holy War.
When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran,the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood.
Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview.
They say the truth will set you free…
Not this time.
The secrets of the Assassin’s Code will set the world ablaze.
An ancient holy war. A hostage rescue in Iran. Vampires with weapons of mass destruction. Genetically engineered assassin’s. An undeciphered age old text with all the answers. Sound pretty wacky? You bet! Unless you’re Jonathan Maberry. It sounds really off the wall, but once the story unravels it’s not only plausible, IT’S COMPELLING. You combine Maberry’s writing style and add narrator Ray Porter into the mix….and you have a masterpiece! An absolute masterpiece. Captain Joe Ledger and the Echo Team from the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) are one of my favorites!! There’s simply nothing else like it.
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.
He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuts in 2018.
His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY, was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015, with a sequel, VAULT OF SHADOWS debuting this year from Simon & Schuster. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, has gotten advance praise from Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris.
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.
~Hard Target is #1 in Assassination & Terrorism Thrillers ~
- 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!
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.
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Check out my new site for Sci-fi lovers! The SciFi Blend
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.
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.
“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
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
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.
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!
Instinct Book Trailer
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.
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.
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.
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