Welcome to the Jungle – War to the Knife is Live

Welcome to the Jungle – War to the Knife is Live

The Brannigan’s Blackhearts series drives on, with War to the Knife, the 9th book in the series, going live today. I’d had this book in mind for quite some time, now. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to writing it from the series’ very inception. Some of the inspiration came from playing Jagged Alliance 2, and its remake, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action (which isn’t nearly as bad as some old-school JA purists would say). Furthermore, the premise of a small team of mercenaries going in to liberate a city or a nation under a tyrannical government is something that all of us who have carried a gun in hostile climes has probably dreamed of, at least once or twice. It’s kind of like every red-blooded American boy quietly wishing that something like Red Dawn would happen for real, so that he could be a Wolverine (the American guerrillas from the movie, not the comic book character). Well, there’s a reason I call some of my stuff–especially the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series–“Shooter Wish Fulfillment.” I really enjoyed writing this one, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. *** A border city is in the grip of a ruthless criminal… …And he might be working for even more sinister

War to the Knife Chapter 2

War to the Knife Chapter 2

The Rocking K Diner was quiet, but it was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Most people in that neck of the woods had to work. John Brannigan had plenty of chores to do around his cabin up the mountain, but his situation was a little different. And the message he’d gotten from Mark Van Zandt had been more than a little intriguing. Brannigan threaded his way between the tables toward the back, trading a friendly wave with Ginger, Mama Taft’s granddaughter and permanent waitress, who would probably inherit the diner whenever Mama passed away. Granted, Mama Taft was hard as nails, and probably wouldn’t die until Death himself came and dragged her away, cussing and punching him in the face. It would be a long time before Ginger inherited, but the cheerful, bouncy young redhead was fine with that. Van Zandt was sitting in the corner booth, all the way in the back, nursing a cup of coffee. He’d dressed down a bit since the first time he’d come to the Rocking K, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. The first time, he’d been in slacks and a corporate polo shirt. Brannigan and Van Zandt had a

War to the Knife Chapter 1

War to the Knife Chapter 1

There was no warning. Miguel Jurado was a heavy sleeper, especially when he’d eaten well and had downed about half a bottle of aguardiente. So, he didn’t hear the door open, despite the noise outside. He was dead to the world until he found himself shaken roughly. “Mayor Jurado! Mayor Jurado, you need to wake up, Señor!” He cracked one eye, his head already starting to pound. He couldn’t handle the aguardiente as well as he had when he was younger. It took a moment to register that it was Sebastian Casas, his chief of security, who was shaking him. That can’t be good. He sat up in bed with a groan, squinting against the light that spilled through the open door. He wasn’t really fat, not yet, but his body was going soft as he got older and balder, and for some reason, that meant that he always hurt when he got up, despite the alcohol. Maria, his third wife, twenty years his junior, didn’t have that problem. She was sitting up in bed, covering herself with the sheet, staring at Casas with large, dark, frightened eyes. “What is it?” Jurado peered blearily at the clock beside the massive

The Guns of “War to the Knife”

The Guns of “War to the Knife”

One of the fun aspects to writing the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series is the gun porn. It’s always been a staple of the Action/Adventure genre. I do try for a bit more authenticity than some of the older works in the genre (which will remain nameless), while at the same time avoiding the multi-page descriptions, so as not to bog down the story. Featuring a wide variety of weaponry is still cool, though, which is why I’ve been running this series of posts since the series started. Most of the time, the Blackhearts use a common service weapon in the Area of Operations where they’re working. War to the Knife is no different. Their local contact gets them IWI Galil SARs, which have been an issue service rifle in the National Army of Colombia. There are also a couple of the 5.56 version of the IWI Negev light machinegun. And Flanagan gets a chance to use a Galatz sniper rifle. The Green Shirts, the narco-communists who have taken over San Tabal, carry a mix of weapons based on many carried by the FARC. That means a mix of mostly M16s and AK-47s for rifles (mostly either captured from the Colombians or trafficked in by

Murky Alliances – Enemy of My Enemy Is Out

Murky Alliances – Enemy of My Enemy Is Out

The Brannigan’s Blackhearts series hits Book 8 with Enemy of My Enemy. The series had to take a bit of a break for a few months, as the maintenance I’ve mentioned before (and you can see in the sidebar) happened. But it’s back, and it will continue after this. A new terror mastermind is on the rise… …And the Blackhearts might have a chance to stop him But is the opportunity a trap? Abu Mokhtar al Shishani wants to be the next Osama bin Laden. And if he takes delivery of the five former Soviet backpack nukes making their way across Central Asia, he just might accomplish that goal. But no one knows where the nukes are. The Russians have located the money that al Shishani intends to buy the nukes with. And since they have a mutual enemy, they’ve approached the US for help to seize it. The cache is in Azerbaijan, and they don’t want a large Russian footprint on the operation. Enter Brannigan’s Blackhearts. It’s already going to be a difficult mission. But the Chechens and the Azeris might be the least of their worries… Enemy of My Enemy is now out on Kindle and in Paperback. (It should be

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 4

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 4

“How’d you even find out about this?” Santelli eyed the small studio from across the street warily. “The dumbass tried to recruit me.” There was wry contempt in Mario Gomez’s voice. Which was more than Gomez usually expressed; he was a quiet man, and rarely spoke, much less showed much emotion. “I guess he thought the quiet guy would make a good wingman, or something.” Santelli shook his head, frustrated. Even so, this was more the kind of problem he was used to as a Senior NCO. This was the sort of thing he’d wrestled with for years as a First Sergeant, and later as a Sergeant Major. “Well, let’s go corral our wayward prodigal.” He wasn’t sure if he was using that combination of words right, but it sounded right. Santelli knew he wasn’t the most eloquent or well-read of the Blackhearts, but like most men of his background, he tried. At least he had never flubbed things to the level of one First Sergeant he’d known, back when he’d been a Corporal himself, who had tended to say, “It would be the who of you,” when he’d meant to say, “It would behoove you.” Of course, if he’d

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 3

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 3

Carlo Santelli straightened up, wiping his hands on a rag, and eyed his handiwork with some satisfaction. It had taken a lot to get this particular specimen finished. Finding parts for a ’67 Fury III had proved to be more difficult than he’d expected, but it had been worth it, especially since he already had a buyer for this particular car. And the man was eager enough for it that the price tag was going to more than pay for the parts, never mind the paint job. He nodded with a sigh. This little side business had been working out better than he’d ever expected. He’d needed to do something. It had been months since the Argentina mission, and while he and Melissa weren’t exactly hurting for money yet, he’d needed to keep his hands and his mind occupied. And not just because he missed the action. If he was being honest, he wasn’t sure how much he really did miss the action, right then. He missed Roger Hancock more. Roger had been short-tempered and volatile, but he’d been one hell of a professional soldier. He’d been one of the pillars of Brannigan’s Blackhearts. And only after his death did

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 2

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 2

“Dad, we need to talk.” John Brannigan looked up from his coffee cup and stared levelly at his son across the table. He wasn’t particularly surprised or perturbed by the words; he’d known they were coming for a while. Hank Brannigan had been out of the Marine Corps for about two months. He’d spent most of it up here, at his father’s cabin, helping out where he could. He’d chopped wood, taken his turn at the cooking, and helped with several projects that Brannigan hadn’t been able to get to, mostly on account of their needing a second pair of hands. Brannigan had welcomed his son and asked few questions. He knew what it was like, taking his first steps into the civilian world after the Marine Corps, and also knew that Hank hadn’t parted with the military on necessarily the best of terms. The younger man, lean and rangy, didn’t look much like the Marine officer he’d been only a few months before. He’d let his hair and his beard both grow, though the latter was considerably scruffier. The elder Brannigan could easily have grown a bristling spade of a beard, but Hank had gotten his hair from his

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 1

Enemy of My Enemy Chapter 1

Night was falling fast over the rugged hills as Shamil Mashadov took a knee under the short, scrubby pine and looked back at his little strike force. The fifty men were strung along the side of the mountain behind him, following the narrow goat path in single file. They blended in well, especially as the light failed. Much of that was thanks to the brand-new camouflage that the Emir had gotten them; the pixelated tan and green was every bit as effective as the American OCP, particularly amid the scrub and short trees of Paktika Province. Most of the men behind him, except for Dilawar Safi, his Pashtun guide, were fellow Chechens, warriors of the Aswad al Islam. They were a long way from home, but what they would do tonight would be worth it. Turning back toward their objective, he lowered the night vision goggles mounted to his helmet and scanned the valley below. The Americans had said that they would be gone from this part of Afghanistan months before, but, infuriatingly, they still had yet to withdraw. Tonight, Mashadov and his brothers would teach the infidels that they should have fled long ago. He lifted the encrypted Russian

The Brannigan’s Blackhearts Revamp

The Brannigan’s Blackhearts Revamp

Some of you have already noticed the new covers for the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series in the sidebar. While I know a few have been getting close to despair that the series was ever going to continue, never fear. The facelift (to include descriptions on the Amazon pages) was all I was waiting for–well, that and the need to get some serious work done on Maelstrom Rising. Now that the cover revamp is done, I can get back to work on Enemy of My Enemy. In fact, I already have. It’s coming along nicely, and is already up for preorder. It’ll be out in December. A new terror mastermind is on the rise… …And the Blackhearts might have a chance to stop him But is the opportunity a trap? Abu Mokhtar al Shishani wants to be the next Osama bin Laden.  And if he takes delivery of the five former Soviet backpack nukes making their way across Central Asia, he just might accomplish that goal. But no one knows where the nukes are. The Russians have located the money that al Shishani intends to buy the nukes with. And since they have a mutual enemy, they’ve approached the US for help to seize it.