– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Don’t Play Dead with Vultures ’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Jack Leavers is a former Royal Marine with over thirty-years’ experience spread across the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy, and risk management. His varied career has included numerous deployments to conflict zones around the world such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, trouble spots in Africa, and the Somali pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
He continues to work in challenging environments and has now begun to pen novels inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.
Jack is normally based in London but finds he’s at his most productive writing-wise when deployed overseas. New projects in Iraq and Africa beckon, which should be good news for his third book.
Summer 2008 sees former Royal Marine John Pierce lured from running convoys in Iraq to a lucrative contract in the steamy jungles of French West Africa. He soon discovers this new theatre is even more dangerous than the war zone he left behind. Corrupt officials, drug cartels, and competing military factions rub shoulder-to-shoulder in a melting pot of greed and intrigue …And a sadistic foe lurks in the shadows.
When old intelligence contacts take an interest, the situation gets complicated fast. Dark forces emerge and events spiral out of control. Pitched into a desperate race against time, can Pierce’s makeshift team of soldiers and civilians fight fire with fire and outwit vicious enemies?
One thing’s for sure, Pierce won’t leave anyone to the mercy of a brutal adversary he knows only too well – no matter what it takes.
Former Royal Marine Jack Leavers has over thirty-years’ experience working in the military, private security, corporate investigations, maritime counter-piracy and risk management. His career spans numerous deployments to conflict zones worldwide such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Somali-pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean. Jack’s novels are inspired by some of the more enterprising projects that got the green light, and other audacious plans that didn’t.
PART I – CONVOY
CAMP TAJI, 15 KM NORTH OF BAGHDAD
‘But Mister John, don’t you have children?’
Kemal’s passionate outburst brought my briefing to a grinding halt. He remained seated, but a series of deep new furrows crisscrossed the veteran fighter’s leathery features. Safe to assume he wasn’t a fan of the proposed convoy route. Across the room, my guys barely stifled their amusement. Ignoring them, I returned to the floor-to-ceiling map of Iraq on the operations room wall.
The 350-kilometre mission trace, marked in red like an angry scar, ran north from the outskirts of Baghdad to US Forward Operating Base Q-West, 70 klicks south of Mosul. Then it branched east and west with arrows and timings showing three separate deliveries.
‘Yes, I do have children. But that doesn’t alter the fact we’ll be driving up Route Tampa to Q-West.’ I tapped the small hand of my wooden backscratcher on the map and swung it north along the thick red line. Some bastard had recently swiped my extendable pointer, so I’d decorated the unusual replacement in a camouflage pattern and embraced it as a nod to good old-fashioned British eccentricity. ‘It’s the approved route for the mission and it would take twenty-four hours to alter it, even if we could go up Highway 2, which we can’t.’
Kemal launched out of his seat and his cracked fingers jabbed at the trace. ‘This way is too dangerous. Through Tuz we have others that can help. Friends. Your way is big trouble.’
To emphasise the point, his fingers caressed the laminated map along his preferred route, a few inches to the right of ‘my way’. His lived-in face and dark, penetrating eyes showed no sign of the smile he’d worn since earlier in the evening.
I shook my head. ‘Highway 2 is out of bounds, so it’s not an option. As I said in the briefing, once we reach Q-West we’ll park the convoy, escort eight of the trucks to unload in Erbil, then recombine and move to the drop off in Mosul. After that it’s on to the RV with your crane in Tal Afar. Okay?’
Kemal matched my head shaking and raised me an emotive appeal to the crowded room. ‘It’s crazy. The other way is much safer.’ He swivelled left and right with widespread arms and an agonised expression.
The ops room fell silent apart from a rattling AC unit struggling to cope with the fug from the pensive, disparate onlookers. I shrugged my shoulders to indicate tough shit, that’s the way things are before placing the decorated backscratcher on the desk to signal the end of the discussion.
When the silence lingered, I tried a more encouraging approach. ‘Listen Kemal, we run convoys up and down Tampa all the time. Yes, it can be dicey, but let’s close this up and get some rest, then punch out on time and get ourselves to Q-West.’
Any hope that would bring him round was misplaced. Kemal glared at me and flounced into a furtive huddle with his men.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds