The Guns of Marque and Reprisal

The Guns of Marque and Reprisal

Returning to the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series once more, it’s time for the traditional guns post. There’s slightly less variety this time around, but it’s a more contained sort of story, too. Once the Blackhearts get aboard the ship they’ve been hired to protect from an advanced group of pirates, they get issued weapons by the client. That means all the same primaries, namely SIG MCX Virtus carbines in 5.56×45. The sidearms are all issued, as well. The client’s security coordinator goes for the basics, with Glock 19s. Initially, that’s all they get, to Kevin Curtis’s fury. However, once things start to get kinetic, it turns out that the client was slightly more prepared for the well-equipped, well-trained pirates than it appeared. With money to burn, too. Curtis and Bianco both end up wielding FN EVOLYS ultralight machineguns, also in 5.56. The pirates are a little more black market. Their primary weapons are South African Vektor R4s in 5.56. For machineguns, they have a few Vektor Mini-SS 5.56 belt-feds, presumably from the same shipment the R4s came from. Pistols are a little bit more eclectic among the pirates. We don’t necessarily get to see many of them, but the pirate chief, Cain,

Ice and Monsters

Ice and Monsters

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

Blood Debt Is Live

Blood Debt Is Live

No Going Back He looked up at the towers, just in time to see one of the ballistic windows on the eastern corner tower slide open. He didn’t think. He just reacted. The only reason for one of those windows to open would be that they’d been spotted, and were about to take fire. Snapping his rifle to his shoulder, he leaned around Bianco’s shoulder, put the faint, red chevron in the ACOG, still illuminated despite the fact that the optic was so old that the tritium had to be half depleted already, on that dark rectangle in the top of the tower, flipping the weapon to “semi” and squeezing the trigger as soon as the chevron settled. The M4 thundered in the otherwise quiet night, spitting flame in the dark as Bianco flinched away from the muzzle blast. Wade leaned into the rifle, dumping four more rounds into the opening even as Kirk opened fire on the other tower, if only to cover Wade’s back. They were committed, now. *** Mercenaries strike a hidden base… …But it’s a trap. Now they have only one hope – Brannigan’s Blackhearts When Mitchell Price’s black bag team hit a mysterious former Soviet

Blood Debt Chapter 2

Blood Debt Chapter 2

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,

The Guns of Blood Debt

The Guns of Blood Debt

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

SOBs – No Sanctuary

SOBs – No Sanctuary

So, since I’m currently hard at work getting War to the Knife finished, I’ve resumed the SOBs readthrough. I’m a bit behind–I got sidetracked last year. So, we’re picking back up at Soldiers of Barrabas #13 – No Sanctuary. (Yes, I realize that I haven’t reviewed the last three. I’ll have to go back and refresh on Vultures of the Horn, Agile Retrieval, and Jihad.) (For those unfamiliar, the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series was conceived in late 2017 as a sort of spiritual successor to the Soldiers of Barrabas. While Able Team, Phoenix Force, and their joint operations in Stony Man are perhaps better-known, the SOBs caught my imagination a bit more immediately. They’re grittier and a bit more grounded. The first one, The Barrabas Run, is basically a poor man’s Dogs of War.) The SOBs, like the Blackhearts, tend to take deniable missions from the US government, funneled to them by a walking mountain of a man named Walker Jessup. (Jessup has had to get involved a couple of times, always to his chagrin; he likes food a lot more than fighting.) But No Sanctuary is more of a personal story. Because Liam O’Toole’s past has come back to haunt him. O’Toole was an IRA fighter in his

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 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