John Brannigan sank the bit of the double-bladed ax into the log round he was using as a chopping block and lowered himself painfully to sit on a bigger log nearby. His breath was steaming in the cold air, and looking down at his bared forearms, he could see steam rising from the graying hairs there, as well. It was well below freezing, but he was sweating and stripped down to his shirt. He gulped air, wincing slightly at the stitch in his side, as he critically looked at the woodpile. He might have gotten a quarter of a cord split. It wasn’t bad, given how long he’d been working, but it wasn’t up to snuff in his mind, either. Stretching, he felt the scar tissue on his side pull. It had been months since he’d been shot out on the Gulf of Mexico, and the wounds were healed, but it felt like it was taking forever to get his conditioning back. His leg and his side were tight, and his leg especially didn’t seem to want to work quite right. Getting old, John. He was further reminded of the fact as the cabin door swung open and Hank walked
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
“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
“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
Brannigan’s Blackhearts #3 – Enemy Unidentified is up for Kindle pre-order, due out the 15th. So, here’s the first preview chapter. Officer Lou Hall had been on the San Diego PD for about a year. He’d just gotten off night shift, and frankly wasn’t sure whether the tradeoff had been worth it. Sure, he got to see the sun a lot more, and with the sun, in San Diego in the summertime—the winter tended to be pretty gray and damp—usually came the California girls, dressed in as little clothing as they could get away with. But his partner, Fred Dobbs, was a surly, balding cynic, he wasn’t getting paid that much more, and most of those same attractive California girls turned up their noses as soon as they saw his badge. He’d even gotten berated by one for, “just wanting to shoot minorities.” He was half Mexican, himself, so he didn’t know where the hell that had come from. Then he looked on social media, and didn’t have any more questions. Dobbs was grumbling, as usual, and Hall had tuned him out after about the first five minutes, as usual. It was always the same thing. Dobbs was in the
Realized that I could have done this for Fury in the Gulf, but didn’t. So, with the release of Burmese Crossfire now less than two weeks away, here’s a little gratuitous gun porn covering both of the first two novels in the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series. Chinese Type 03 Commander Esfandiari’s troops in Fury in the Gulf use Chinese Type 03 rifles. The ones they use are the export variant, chambered in 5.56. Russian Makarov Both the Iranians and the Blackhearts use 9mm Makarovs for sidearms on Khadarkh. AK-12 The Blackhearts go ashore with top-of-the-line Russian AK-12s, in 5.45. (As shown on the cover.) PKP Pecheneg Curtis, being Mr. Machinegunner, carries a PKP Pecheneg on Khadarkh, in 7.62×54. Type 88 The North Korean advisors in Burma carry Type 88 rifles, an indigenous North Korean AK variant. Type 73 light machine gun The Nork advisors also have a couple Type 73s, another indigenous North Korean design. Type 56 The Kokang Army uses various AK clones, the most common of which is the Chinese Type 56. HK G3 Since it is commonly used by the Burmese Army, the Blackhearts go in with HK G3s. Rheinmetall MG3 With a bit more numbers, two of
This post is a bit of an apology, truth be told. I reviewed this book a few years ago, on the now-defunct “Hot Extract.” Overall, I found the book to be a decent shooter thriller, and something of a wish-fulfillment fantasy for a lot of shooters who have been in the sandbox and the rock-pile, chasing ghosts and being yanked back by the choke-chain by higher whenever it seemed like they might get somewhere to the shooters and go too far to higher.
Since I’m reading through the rough draft of Henry Brown’s next book (It’s good), I thought I’d go back and review his first, Hell and Gone. Hell and Gone is set just before the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2003. The CIA has gotten wind of one of the suitcase nukes that Aleksandr Lebed warned about in the ’90s. It’s in AQ hands, in Sudan. Commander “Rocco” Cavarra, a former SEAL, is hired to head a team of soldiers-for-hire to go in and secure the warhead. The team is a Dirty Dozen/band of misfits crew. There are some serious personality clashes that ring true to an ad hoc unit thrown together at the last minute. On the book’s website, Hank compares the book to “The Expendables.” I’d argue that it’s better. The scenario is certainly better thought-out, and involves real-world factions, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudanese Janjaweed militias. The characters also have more in common with real-world veterans than Hollywood stereotypes of mercenaries. The action is well thought-out and engaging. The final few chapters are well worth the build up, and will keep you flipping pages. The prose does have a few rough edges, but