What do we have here? It’s a beast of a book; 430 pages. Five more days.
The final edit of Lex Talionis is done, and the files have been uploaded to KDP and Createspace. Still waiting on the final cover file for the paperback, before I can order the proof, but everything is on schedule for release on the 6th. Editing is probably the most grueling part of the writing process, especially when you’re trying to squeeze three passes into three weeks, and the manuscript starts at 161k words. The final version comes to around 165k words, only reinforcing its position as the longest book I’ve ever written. As I read through the book three times, I sort of thought of a theme song for this final ride of the Praetorians’ founding team. It didn’t come from any of the music I listened to while writing it; music with lyrics tends to be a bit of a distraction while writing. I wrote it mostly to the soundtracks from all three Expendables movies, along with a bit of a few Western soundtracks, and Bernard Hermann’s score for North by Northwest. Editing mostly happened to the soundtracks from Hell or High Water and Logan. (It’s that kind of book.) But this just seemed to fit the whole thing:
Still got a lot of work to do on it, but that’s why it’s not coming out for another 90 days. Lex Talionis, the fifth and final American Praetorians book, will go live on June 6, but you can pre-order the Kindle now. “War And Politics Have Consequences.” Praetorian Solutions has a rep. Not a particularly pleasant one in some circles, either. Over the last few years, they’ve run roughshod over the plans of terrorists, warlords, pirates, militias, narcos, foreign intelligence services—even some American politicians—and left a considerable trail of dead bodies behind them. But when Jeff Stone and his team were in Mexico, someone who was supposed to be an ally sold them out, leaking information on their identities to the Dark Net. Now the wars are coming home. Before, they fought for hire, offering their services where they thought they could fight for their own sense of justice, putting the hurt on bad people for pay. Now they’re simply going to have to fight to survive. To do that, they’re going to have to embrace the Law of Retaliation. And, quite possibly, earn the title of “Praetorian”…in every sense of the word. “Peter writes brutal, believable action at
This will be the last sample chapter. After this, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out. Don’t worry, though, the preorder (and thus the release date) is coming soon. *** We had just passed Franktown, north of Colorado Springs, when my phone buzzed. I cursed, since the phone was in my pocket and I was driving. Risking a little bit of swerving, I dug the phone out of my pocket and passed it to Jack. “Fuck,” he said flatly. “Tom just sent us ‘Extremis.’”
By the time we hit the rally point, it was pretty obvious that things were threatening to spiral out of control. Gunfire was echoing through the night, more intense than anything we’d unleashed yet, except for maybe the mad minute into Fat Boy’s safe house. Red and blue flashing lights were clearly visible, as were the flames from something having been set on fire not far from them. The local PD was in the middle of one hell of a firefight. Given what I’d seen, I didn’t imagine it was a fight that they were remotely prepared for. Even though it had been a pretty successful night, we were all pretty subdued as we gathered around the vehicles in a field south of town. Granted, some of our silence was simply professional habit; once you’ve spent as long as we have running around hostile environments, outnumbered and generally outgunned, you don’t get loud and chatty very easily. Some of it was because of fatigue. There hadn’t been a lot of sleep since Jim’s death.
“Damn, these guys ain’t even trying to blend in, are they?” Jack muttered. “No, they aren’t,” I replied from the back of the van, where I was already snapping pictures. We’d done a few recon passes just by driving through the neighborhood, with the passenger looking like he was texting while he took pictures with his phone, but the bigger Nikon provided better quality, and the van meant that we could get better pictures in general. Trying to be discreet with the phone usually meant that the angles were poor. Sitting in the back seat of the panel van, I had a lot more freedom of movement. Right at the moment, my viewfinder was filled with a relatively fit young man with a pencil mustache and immaculately gelled hair, wearing shiny pants, an equally shiny black shirt open nearly to his sternum, and a short, white jacket. A thick gold chain around his neck and mirrored aviator sunglasses completed the image. I couldn’t see from our vantage point, but I was sure there was a pistol in his waistband. The handful of other young men around him weren’t as fancily dressed, though they were still wearing that sort of northern
The wrecked, bullet-riddled cars had been dragged away from the gate by the time we got back. With the uproar in town, the sheriff’s department hadn’t showed up yet, either, though I was sure they were on their way. It was going to take them a while, though. I pulled the truck up in front of the porch and got out. Tom was waiting in the doorway. “Where’s shithead?” I asked. The fury was burning pretty hot by then; I’d been feeding the flames most of the way back from town. It might not have been the healthiest way of coping, but as long as it kept me from breaking down, I was going to stick with it. I had so damned much bottled up grief and fucked-up shit in my head by then that I didn’t dare open that floodgate. That way lay madness and fatal alcohol poisoning.
I hadn’t put my rifle down. Tom grabbed his M1A that had been leaning in the corner as we both turned and ran out of the ops room. Larry and Nick were already in Nick’s big diesel, and Tom and I hauled ourselves into the bed. It wasn’t quite the leap that it might have been a few years before, but we got ourselves situated and braced in a few seconds, before I banged on the roof of the cab with my off hand. Nick threw the truck in gear and we roared down the long driveway toward the gate. It was more a road than a driveway; the gate was almost a mile from the ranch house. Tom and I held on for dear life as the pickup raced over the unfinished gravel track, leaving a cloud of dust behind us. I could hear the shooting even over the roar of the engine and the buffeting wind of our passage. Those boys at the gate were getting some.
You know, a normal person, upon stepping out of a grocery store in a small town in Wyoming and seeing a dark red Crown Vic full of four young men, all Hispanic, all exuding the vato belligerence, two with shaved heads and goatees, watching them intently, might or might not immediately identify them as a threat. If they did, in this day and age, they might dismiss their initial concern as prejudice, and nobody wants to be prejudiced. So, they would try to ignore the mean-mugging and go about their business. To all outward appearances, that was what I did. But I am by no means a normal person anymore. Haven’t been for a lot of years. Most “normal” people would probably call me “paranoid” if they could see inside my head. I would probably correct them, pointing out that I am, in fact, “professionally paranoid.” It’s kept me alive in some very, very unpleasant places. I wasn’t looking at them as I walked across the street toward my beat-up old pickup, but was keeping them within my peripheral vision, watching them without focusing on anything in particular. I learned a long time ago that if you keep your eyes
I’m a little late getting to this one, as the omnibus version came out in June, but I finally got to it. (My TBR pile is pretty tall, and since I’m usually working on reading about six books at a time, not to mention writing, it can sometimes take a bit.) I haven’t read any of the rest of the Perseid Collapse series, but that doesn’t take away from Ross Elder’s contribution. There is little extra background needed, and what is needed is provided. The book opens after the Perseid Event (the nature of which is never clear in the Scavenger Trilogy, though there is some speculation), with society already pretty well in collapse. We meet the protagonist, Zack Morris, as he’s investigating an abandoned house.