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

Kill or Capture Chapter 2

Kill or Capture Chapter 2

John Brannigan was not a happy man. The fact that he was wearing a tux, sitting at a very expensive table in a very expensive, very exclusive restaurant, high atop a luxury hotel in the middle of San Francisco, would have been bad enough.  Ever since his forced retirement from the Marine Corps and the death of his wife, Rebecca, of cancer a short time later, he’d essentially retired to the mountains, living not too differently from an old-time mountain man.  Fancy restaurants, fancy clothes, and big cities put his teeth on edge.  He’d gotten a haircut and shaved his cheeks and chin, but his massive, bristling handlebar remained, setting him apart even more than his broad shoulders and six-foot-four-inch stature from the soft men around him. But all of that was only a minor annoyance compared to the woman sitting across the table from him.

Kill or Capture Chapter 1

Kill or Capture Chapter 1

Special Agent Vito Castiglione looked up from the spotting scope as the door opened behind him.  Special Agent Cara Hernandez walked into the room and stood next to him, peering out through the black mesh laid over the gap in the curtains. “Aren’t you supposed to be keeping eyes on the objective?” she asked. “Nobody’s budged out of that place in the last thirty-six hours,” Castiglione said dismissively.  “We’ve got the whole place tied up tight.  Besides, have you seen the pictures of this guy?  I don’t think we really have much to worry about.”  The fact that he was admiring the view presented by the willowy, olive-skinned Special Agent next to him was beside the point.  She was much more interesting to look at than the dull, expensive house across the street. She rolled her eyes at him, exasperated.  He just leered back. “Yes, I have seen the photos,” she said.  “Still, you should at least pretend to be taking this warrant seriously.” “What’s to take seriously right now?” Castiglione replied.  “He’s a pasty-white billionaire wanted for bribery, money laundering, and influence peddling.  He’s hardly Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah.  The whole point of putting an Enhanced SWAT team on him

I Got A Book Bomb!

Escalation - Maelstrom Rising

What’s a Book Bomb?  It’s when The International Lord of Hate, New York Times Bestselling Author Larry Friggin’ Correia asks his fans (who are legion) to go out and buy a book.  It gives the target a good sales boost.  In this case, he’s pushing Escalation. I’m extremely grateful for this.  Larry’s a friend and a great guy, author of the Monster Hunter International, Grimnoir, and Forgotten Warrior series, and one that I’ve gotten to write in, the Dead Six Trilogy. This one isn’t just for me, though.  It’s a Double-Barrelled Book Bomb.  Larry’s bombing me and Jim Curtis, author of Rimworld: Militia Up.  Jim’s a retired naval aviator and another great guy.  He’s been there and seen things.  I got to meet him at Life, The Universe, and Everything a couple years back, and some of the arc of Holding Action came out of conversations with him. Here’s the blurb on Militia Up: It was supposed to be a simple contract for a couple of months of security services off world, but the devil’s in the details. Tight Bridge Technologies hired Ethan Fargo and his militia to guard their power stations on the planet Endine against mob unrest and sabotage. When

Buying Time With Blood – Holding Action is Out!

Buying Time With Blood – Holding Action is Out!

Holding Action is live! Matt Bowen and his team made it out of Slovakia by the skin of their teeth. But the fight’s not over.  And there’s no rest for the weary. The European Defense Council, desperate to salvage their dream of a Europe reshaped in their image, threaten invasion of Poland. The Triarii and what is left of American forces in Northern Europe stand by their Polish allies.  But they’re outnumbered and outgunned. And they might well be watching the wrong part of the border. The brutal series about the next World War continues in a storm of fire and steel!

Holding Action Chapter 2

Holding Action Chapter 2

“Shit,” Phil whispered.  “I knew they had a fucking drone up.” I didn’t answer, but scanned the road carefully.  Once again, thanks to the woods, we were far closer than we should have been, but the spotlights weren’t pointed at the woods, not yet, and the rising growl of the helicopter, along with the rumble of the armored cars’ diesels, seemed to have drowned out what little noise we were making.  Slowly, carefully, I eased back deeper into the shadows, Phil doing the same. Looking up and down the road, I didn’t see a good spot to cross.  The six armored vehicles were spaced out along the road.  They were too close to slip through, and too spread out to find a good spot to go around.  At least, not with that helicopter closing in.  Two klicks of open country separated us from the border at its nearest point, and that would have entailed going through Leuba. As urgent as it was that we get the information back to Poland, we weren’t going to do anyone any good if we went charging out there and got killed or captured.  And as confident as I was in my team in combat,

Holding Action Chapter 1

Holding Action Chapter 1

On the ground, at night, Germany didn’t look all that different from Slovakia.  The differences lay in details that might not have been all that readily apparent to someone without our recent experience. Aside from a dog barking down by Schönau-Berzdorf, it was deathly quiet.  No distant thunder of artillery rumbled.  No small arms fire rattled.  There weren’t even any aircraft to be heard in the sky. The lights were still on in Görlitz to the north, casting an orange glow against the low clouds overhead.  Unlike the all-too common flickering light of burning towns and villages in Slovakia, it was a steady illumination, adding to the ambient light that our AN-PSQ-20 fusion goggles had to work with.  It made navigation through the shadows of the German woods quite a bit easier. That same quiet was making me suspicious.  The entire landscape around us seemed asleep and dead.  Given that every indicator that intelligence had gotten in the last few weeks was pointing to Görlitz being the staging point for a major offensive aimed at Poland, there should have been more activity. Phil Kerr took a knee next to a mostly-bare tree.  The fall had been colder than the Poles

Holding Action Prologue

Holding Action Prologue

Three Weeks Later, And Still Few Answers   It has been three weeks since the beginning of the catastrophic blackout that has cut off electrical power to the Pacific Coast, the Southwest, much of the Southeast, and the Eastern Seaboard.  Efforts to restore the grid in effected areas have largely met with failure, either due to technical problems or attacks by gangs.  This seems to have bolstered theories that the blackout was caused by a terrorist attack.  Authorities that this reporter was able to reach have not endorsed this view, however, insisting that there is no solid evidence of such an attack.  Nor have the rash of infrastructure attacks been linked by any such authorities.  The official, who preferred to remain anonymous, dismissed such links as “conspiracy theories.”

Maelstrom Rising Tech – The M5 Powell Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Maelstrom Rising Tech – The M5 Powell Infantry Fighting Vehicle

As I’ve written elsewhere, setting a story in the near future sometimes requires some attempt at clairvoyance.  Some of the weapons systems that will be used in a future war are still in development.  Some might not exist yet, but getting too crazy sci-fi could derail things, so I’ve got to strike a balance.  One of those systems that I introduce in Escalation is the M5 Powell Infantry Fighting Vehicle.  This is set up as the replacement for the M2 Bradley IFV, which has been in service since 1981. Now, there is an M2 replacement in the works.  The Army calls it the Next Generation Combat Vehicle program, and the Request For Proposals went out in March of this year.  Right at the moment, there are three major contenders, the BAE Systems CV90 Mk IV, the Rheinmetall and Raytheon Lynx IFV, and the General Dynamics Griffin III.

Maelstrom Rising Tech: Kamikaze Drones

Maelstrom Rising Tech: Kamikaze Drones

The Maelstrom Rising series already features some “cutting-edge” tech.  Some of that tech has already been fielded; some of it is in development.  One of these pieces of tech are “kamikaze drones,” which get employed to devastating effect in Escalation.  A couple of my readers have commented on how scary they are.  But they’re real, and we’re going to see more of them in the years to come. (Side note: While tech will feature in the Maelstrom Rising series, it will never be depicted as the panacea that you might find in a lot of ’90s techno-thrillers.  Anyone who has read my stuff before should already be aware of that.  High tech complicates logistics, and logistics are already hampering everybody’s war effort in Maelstrom Rising.) These kamikaze drones have been in development for some time.  The US and Israel appear to have been the primary developers.  The US has begun fielding the Switchblade drone several years ago.