Frozen Conflict Chapter 1

“You’re imagining things, Eugen,” Cezar Lungu said.  He was leaning back in an overstuffed easy chair with a massy, polished wooden frame, a blond, vacant-eyed Ukrainian hooker on his lap.  He was fully clothed; she was in her underwear.  He picked up the shot of Kvint and tossed it back with a grimace and a loud, “Pah!”  “We have an arrangement!  And with what we’re paying the Russians and the Transnistrians both, we should at least get a warning if anything has changed!” Eugen Codreanu did not turn away from the window, but continued peering into the night.  He wasn’t looking out toward the Dnieper River below the dacha, either.  He was looking back toward the wrought-iron gates and the guard posts, through the trees.  He was looking back toward the city of Ribnitza, which was throwing its glow against the near-perpetual pall of smoke and steam coming from the steelworks. When Codreanu still hadn’t replied while he poured more Kvint, Lungu tried again.  “You’ve been jumping at shadows for four months, Eugen,” he ventured.

Soldiers of Barrabas – Gulag War

It’s been a while for one of these, but I’ve slowed down a bit, since I have yet to get my hands on #7, River of Flesh, and #8, Eye of the Fire.  I’ve admittedly been a bit reluctant to continue with #7, given that Robin Hardy wrote it, and my last outing with Hardy, Show No Mercy was…less than thrilling.  But Michael Mercy, over on the SOBs Fan group on Facebook, assures me that the problems with Show No Mercy were corrected with River of Flesh, so I’ll be getting back in the swing of things soon(ish).

The Guns of “Frozen Conflict”

With Brannigan’s Blackhearts #4 – Frozen Conflict coming soon, it’s time for the regular gun porn post! This one turned out to be a bit more of an irregular operation, moving through the Eastern European underworld and relying on that underworld–not to mention a bit of “tactical acquisition”–for supplies.  As such, there’s a bit more variety in the weaponry used in Frozen Conflict, though it’s still almost entirely Eastern Bloc. Eugen Codreanu is a Romanian gangster, but as an arms dealer he moves freely through multiple countries.  He’s done business in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.  But most of his men carry what they’re comfortable with.  His right hand, Cezar Lungu, carries a Beretta PX4 Storm.

Little Bit of Research

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEDU1OC_pNI] Doing research for the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series can get interesting.  Since most of my experience has been in the Middle East, sometimes I’ve got to dig to figure stuff out for other regions.  As I point out at one point in Frozen Conflict, much of combat tactics boil down to common sense, and therefore there are certain common factors in good tactics. But sometimes, groups and nations don’t necessarily teach good tactics.  So, trying to figure out what Transnistrian Army soldiers would do when trying to clear a structure, I had to dig for some regular Russian Army footage (not the carefully tailored, backflipping hatchet attack Spetsnaz stuff; these are regular grunts).  It’s still going to be an approximation, but I found a bit of urban warfare footage in the above video, mostly starting at about 2:20. It’s a doozy, too.  Lets just say that we’d have had the snot bubbles thrashed out of us at Bn for the kind of fire discipline (or lack thereof) these guys show… Sucks to be a hostage…

On Gun Porn

No, this isn’t about InRangeTV opening an account on PornHub.  (Yes, apparently that’s a thing.  No, I haven’t gone looking for it, nor will I.)  This is about the facet of much Action Adventure writing known colloquially as “Gun Porn,” wherein the author includes (and often lovingly describes) various cool and interesting firearms in the story. This isn’t particularly new; a lot of Louis L’Amour westerns describe interesting (and sometimes obscure) weapons that aren’t commonly found in the run-of-the-mill western (particularly on screen).  But as with any element of storytelling, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

Rest Is For The Dead

That’s right.  I’m already hammering away at Brannigan’s Blackhearts #4 – Frozen Conflict.  If you’ve finished Enemy Unidentified, you might have a bit of a hint of what this one’s about. I’m trying a bit of an experiment this time around; I’m working on this one simultaneously with working on The Unity Wars.  Write Frozen Conflict four days a week, work on The Unity Wars two days a week.  We’ll see how it works out. Now, back to the word mines.

It’s Release Day

Enemy Unidentified is live on Kindle and Paperback!  (Paperback edition doesn’t appear to be linked to the Kindle edition yet, so if you’re going for Kindle Matchbook, give it a day.) Terror Out Of Nowhere In a single, blood-soaked afternoon, hundreds are killed in a string of terrorist attacks across the Southwestern US and Northern Mexico. To top it off, the terrorists bomb an energy summit in Matamoros, taking hostages before fleeing to an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. They issue no demands. No known group has taken credit for the attack. All anyone knows is that VIPs from both North and South America are being held hostage. And the first wave of Mexican Marines has been repulsed by terrorists who are far more heavily armed and better prepared than anyone expected. The Mexican government won’t ask for help. But there is a team that the US and Mexico can agree to send in, as they do not exist, as far as the public is concerned. Brannigan’s Blackhearts have another rescue mission. And it’s going to be the bloodiest yet. Fury in the Gulf and Burmese Crossfire are also currently a Kindle Countdown deal for the next

“Enemy Unidentified” Chapter 3

“Colonel Brannigan, I presume?”  Contralmirante Huerta stood up and extended his hand.  The Mexican officer was in mufti, a dark suit and shiny blue shirt. Brannigan shook the proffered hand.  He towered over the Mexican admiral, who was showing a bit of gray in his slickly-parted hair and mustache, though not nearly as much as Brannigan was. Brannigan had dressed up a little for the meeting; he was wearing khakis and a sport coat, in contrast to his usual “retired” outdoor wear.  He was still wearing boots, though, and the sport coat hid the Wilson Combat 1911 on his hip.  Even with Van Zandt and Gomez in the room, he didn’t trust this Mexican officer very far.  He knew too much about how much the bad guys had infiltrated the instruments of the Mexican government. Van Zandt was in a suit, and was standing back to one side, watching the two men meet.  Gomez had posted himself up at the door, watching everything impassively with his hard, black eyes. Gomez had become a Blackheart in the plus-up that Hancock and Santelli had conducted prior to the Burma job.  Nobody knew much about him.  He didn’t talk much.  In fact, getting

“Enemy Unidentified” Chapter 2

“No,” John Brannigan said.  “Not only no, but hell no.” “John,” Hector Chavez started to remonstrate with him, “we’re not talking about some half-assed Pemex contract, here.” The two men were facing each other across a table in the Rocking K, the best—and essentially only—diner in tiny Junction City.  It wasn’t the sort of place most people would immediately think of when it came to planning covert operations, but it was the closest meeting place to Brannigan’s mountain hideaway, and so Chavez had pegged it as their contact spot, more often than not. John Brannigan was a towering, six-foot-four former Marine Colonel, his hair gone shaggy and gray on his head and his face.  He shaved his cheeks and his chin, but his handlebar mustache was bushier than ever.  He might have had a few more crow’s feet around his gray eyes, especially after his recent turn to mercenary commander.  Activities like a hair-raising mission on the island of Khadarkh in the Persian Gulf, followed by a jump into northern Burma to take down a North Korean liaison operation in the Golden Triangle, were not calculated to keep a man young. Brannigan was dressed in his usual flannel shirt and