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

Some Writing Updates

Some Writing Updates

Well, Crimson Star has been out for a little over a week and a half, and it’s doing pretty well.  A few reviews are in, and some of you have said it’s actually your favorite of the series so far.  Some of that seems to be because a lot of it is much more irregular warfare, more reminiscent of the American Praetorians series.  To that, all I have to say is that as the war drags on, and more expensive (and irreplaceable) assets get taken off the board, the more irregular this next World War is going to get. I was planning for Hank and his section to head out into the Pacific after the Chinese following Crimson Star, but now that the first volume of his arc is done, it’s not looking quite so cut and dried.  The state of affairs CONUS is bad enough that the response is going to take time.  At any rate, we’ll be back to Matt’s Grex Luporum Team in the ETO with Strategic Assets later on this year. Before that comes Brannigan’s Blackhearts #8 – Enemy of My Enemy.  That’s going to be fun (we may see a certain Russian mobster again from Fury in the Gulf). However,

SOBs – Some Choose Hell

SOBs – Some Choose Hell

Some Choose Hell is the 9th Soldiers of Barrabas story, and takes the SOBs to South Africa.  South Africa in 1985, when apartheid is alive and well.  This time, they are hired to protect Bishop Toto, the new black Bishop of Johannesburg. What they don’t know is that they’re intended to be patsies.  The South Africans are intent on assassinating the bishop, even as they’ve invited the SOBs in to protect him. It gets more complicated than that; by the time Barrabas, Nanos, Hatton, and Bishop arrive in South Africa, the real Bishop Toto has already been imprisoned by BOSS (the Bureau of State Security), and an impostor put in his place.  The impostor immediately begins making all sorts of concessions to the white government, sowing discontent, which will peak with his assassination, after which the real Bishop Toto is to be quietly eliminated. Needless to say, the SOBs interfere, finding themselves at odds with their “employers.” There’s a significant side plot in this one, namely that of Claude Hayes.  It had been revealed in earlier books that Hayes spent some time in Africa after Vietnam, though in more of a revolutionary role than the more common anti-Communist mercenary role

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #7 – Kill or Capture is Live!

Brannigan’s Blackhearts #7 – Kill or Capture is Live!

Brannigan’s Blackhearts are out for blood. John Brannigan doesn’t take too many things personally.  But he’s lost three men to the Humanity Front.  So, when Erika Dalca offers him a target package on one of their facilitators, he’s going to go for it, even if it takes him to the ends of the Earth. On The Hunt Flanagan and Gomez hardly needed to communicate except by a glance.  They both scrambled up to their feet and rushed forward, each moving to the nearest bend in the creekbed before dropping down behind the best cover they could find.  In Flanagan’s case, that was the bend itself.  Gomez had to wedge himself back into a slight, crumbling overhang on the far side. He’d lost track of exactly where Jenkins was, aside from behind them, but he was more focused on the threat in front of them, as the Front shooters opened fire, realizing that their flanking maneuver was compromised.  More bullets gouged sand out of the creekbed, but the two Blackhearts were already down and aiming in. Flanagan quickly tracked in on a man down on a knee, several yards behind the one Gomez had shot.  He blasted him, pumping a round