Saturday, September 14, 2013

Designed to Kill Is Free Today

If you're new to retired Air Force investigator Greg McKenzie, and his wife, Jill, here's your chance to get started for free. Today (Saturday, Sept. 14) through Monday (Sept. 16), the second book in the series, Designed to Kill, will be available in ebook format for the Kindle at no cost.

Don't have a Kindle? No problem. Download the free version to your Windows computer or tablet, Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad or MAC, Blackberry or Windows phone. Just go to the Free Kindle Reading Apps Page and pick your device.

Designed to Kill is a tale of greed that leads to murder. It involves a high-rise condo on the beach at Perdido Key, Florida designed and engineered by the son of Greg and Jill's best friends from the first book in the series, Secret of the Scroll. A party in the 15th floor suite celebrating completion of the project ends abruptly when the balcony falls, killing two celebrants.

The investigating sheriff's officer tells Tim Gannon his balcony caused two deaths. The next morning Gannon is found dead of a gunshot wound at the nearby Gulf Islands National Seashore. The deputy says "suicide" and the medical examiner agrees.

Tim's dad, Sam Gannon, Greg's best friend, disagrees. He asks Greg to go down to Florida and find out what happened. As Greg digs into the case, assisted by Jill, he finds lots of disturbing facts.There are plans missing, an obstinate contractor, a too-slick developer, and an inspector angry over a disrupted love affair.

When Mafia goons rough him up, Greg realizes it's time to target a murderer. But who? Jill's help with the case leads to a partnership that goes through the next three books. And there's another in the works.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Right Out of Today's Headlines—Overture to Disaster

The last book in my Post Cold War Political Thriller Trilogy, Overture to Disaster, is now available for the Kindle. It comes out at a time when it sounds almost like something out of today's headlines. Chemical weapons...nerve gas...a plot to release it on a large crowd.

The second book in the trilogy, The Poksu Conspiracy, involved nuclear weapons. I decided to go to the other end of the weapons of mass destruction inventory for the final story, C/B or chemical and biological weapons. I did considerable research on the development of nerve gases and their use. The largest chemical attack on record occurred in the Kurdish section of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. It was carried out by Saddam Hussein's air force on March 16, 1988 and killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people.

I found the Soviet Union had a plant that produced C/B weapons at Kharkov in the Ukrainian Republic. This was also location of the army's 48th Division. I opened the book on a collective farm north of the Black Sea where a battalion of motorized rifle troops were bivouacked. A few artillery shells loaded with nerve gas and canisters of neurotoxins had been brought in for a demonstration of how to handle and dispose of highly toxic agents.

Rogue members of the KGB steal some of the C/B weapons and touch of an explosion to destroy all evidence of their crime, including the soldiers charged with storing the nerve agents. This plot thread continues a few years later in Minsk, Belarus, where the brother of a captain killed in the explosion is an investigator for the city prosecutor.

A parallel plot thread starts in Washington at the time of the weapons theft. It involves an Air Force Special Operations helicopter mission to penetrate deep into the Iranian mountains and bring out a defecting official. The pilot is unfairly charged with an oversight that results in the mission's failure.

The plots come together in Mexico when Chief Investigator Yuri Shumakov connects with retired Col. Warren (Roddy) Rodman. There is lots of action throughout the book, plenty of tension as things move one way and then the other. A complicating factor during the last half is the role of a shadowy organization called the Foreign Affairs Roundtable. Headed by international bankers and cartel capitalists, the leaders are out to control the world economy. Their support of dissidents in the old Soviet Union leads to the final cataclysmic confrontation.