The attack was swift and completely unexpected. Carl Hild hardly noticed the roll of the deck beneath his feet as he headed below, toward his cabin. He was still miserable. I never should have taken this gig. The money wasn’t bad. The job itself, though… Hild had been to just about every port in the world over the last twenty years. He’d sailed with all kinds of crews, from the good, to the bad, to the incompetent and depraved. None of them quite matched this nightmare. Not that the crew itself was bad. Even the captain, drunk though he was, knew his business and generally treated his subordinates fairly. Even the route wasn’t bad. No, it was the client. The Tonka Canyon wasn’t the biggest oceangoing cargo ship out there, and her cargoes often only just about broke even. This time, though, the container at the forefront of the hold was supposed to pay for the whole voyage by itself, and that was leaving aside the other stuff they’d taken on to fill the rest of the hold. It just didn’t feel worth it. The container had come with its own security detail and supervisor. And that was where the
So, for the launch of Ice and Monsters, the first WarGate Books title outside the Forgotten Ruin series, I went on a few podcasts and interviews lately. First, we had a launch party on the Galaxy’s Edge stream on Tuesday night: Then came the Blasters and Blades podcast, with JR Handley, Nick Garber, and Cisca Small (JR’s got jokes, even in the title): And this afternoon, I was on Keystroke Medium with Josh Hayes and Scott Moon: I’ll be on the Superversive stream on Sunday, at 6pm CST. Overall, this launch has been a blast. Got my first orange #1 Best Seller tag. Looking forward to Shadows and Crows coming out a month from tomorrow.
We hadn’t gotten far before that fog bank rolled up out of nowhere. I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was that weird to start with. Fog is fog. And we were all pretty good at nautical navigation that far into the float. I had my compass board on the gunwale, sure that I was holding course. So, we were fine. Sure, the night was supposed to have been clear. But who really trusts the weather forecasts in the “Situation” paragraph one hundred percent? The fog got thicker, and I eased off on the throttle. Within a couple dozen yards, I couldn’t even see the boats on either side of us, though I could still hear them. I glanced down at the compass, which was still rock-steady. We were good. We just had to go carefully because of the reduced visibility. At least, that was what I thought until we were still chugging through the waves, shrouded by fog, well after the time we should have been at the beach landing site. I started to question my judgement, but it wasn’t like we had a lot of reference points in this soup. The bearing had been spot on since we headed
I need to get up. Joe Flanagan looked up at the sunlight streaming through the window with some bemusement. With rare exceptions, he was usually up a good hour before the sun, this time of year. But as he turned to see Rachel—now Rachel Flanagan—lying next to him, breathing softly, he took a deep breath and settled back on the pillow. It’s not every day that a man has his honeymoon, and while there were chores that still had to happen that day, he was going to relax a little. After a while, though, he started to get restless, and carefully slipped out from under the covers, swinging his feet down to the floor before quietly getting dressed and padding into the kitchen, starting the water boiling for coffee. He turned as movement caught his eye, to see Rachel, wrapped in her bathrobe, her hair disheveled but lovely, smiling at him from the doorway. “You’re not quite as sneaky as you think, hon.” While Flanagan was ordinarily something of a stoic, his wife drew a grin. She’d had that effect on him ever since Kevin Curtis had introduced them, unwittingly setting events in motion that had led to this point.
Dan Tackett heard the phone vibrating on the workbench, even over the faint strains of Charley Crockett coming from the small speaker on the shelf above, but he ignored it. One thing at a time. He wasn’t going to leave the job half-finished just to answer the phone. He finished tightening down the housing and stepped back from the bike appreciatively. Hondas weren’t his favorite to work on, but he was good at it, and he had to admit that this Shadow Phantom was a nice-looking bike. Looking around the shop, he nodded. It never quite ceased to amaze him, even after five years, how much he’d managed to build. He knew he couldn’t have done it without Mitchell Price’s payoff after the Anambas mission had gone horribly awry, but all the same, there’d been a time when he’d wondered if he’d ever be good for anything but packing a gun in dangerous and far distant places. It had been that wonder, as he’d been working a dead-end job and trying to maintain the lifestyle he’d had before his first wife had died, that had led him to that ill-fated contract. After the hell he’d gone through on those islands,
Dan Tackett, the main character of Kill Yuan, returns in Blood Debt, the tenth Brannigan’s Blackhearts novel. It’s a tighter, more localized fight this time, but there are still some interesting guns that will be used by friend and foe alike. As the story opens, Mitchell Price’s Special Purpose team is closing in on their target, armed with Gilboa M43 carbines. Price decided on these rifles for the ergonomics of the AR/M4 platform, while still maintaining the capability to rearm with 7.62x39mm, which is common enough in Central Asia. They are confronted by shooters in unfamiliar camouflage, carrying B+T APC 300 carbines. The Advanced Police Carbine is a Swiss design, ambidextrous, and can take B+T’s ROTEX suppressor. The APC does come in 5.56, but the APC 300 is optimized for .300 Blackout. Boyd, the Humanity Front’s main hatchet man in Kyrgyzstan, is a professional, but he’s not as into exotic guns as Flint was. He picked the APC 300s for his team because the Front doesn’t want the appearance of a standardized military force. But his sidearm is pretty standard: a Glock 17 9mm. When Brannigan’s Blackhearts get on the ground, they can’t be that choosy. Their contact has access to a
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
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
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
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