Book Spotlight And Excerpt
Authored by Declan Finn
Authored with Allan Yoskowitz
After a small nuclear war in 2090, a third of the world is in ruins, along with the Western half of the United States. Three years later, spy Kevin Anderson and his team are sent to find the nuclear arsenal of the Islamic Republic of France. When his team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them, Kevin is out for blood. Hunted by an army, Kevin must kill the Senators before the next team is sent to their deaths.
Without resources, or support, it’s almost certainly a suicide mission. But Kevin will gladly make this sacrifice, for his codename is Winterborn.
Declan Finn lives in a part of New York City unreachable by bus or subway. Who’s Who has no record of him, his family, or his education. He has been trained in hand to hand combat and weapons at the most elite schools in Long Island, and figured out nine ways to kill with a pen when he was only fifteen. He escaped a free man from Fordham University’s PhD program, and has been on the run ever since. There was a brief incident where he was branded a terrorist, but only a court order can unseal those records, and really, why would you want to know?
Allan Yoskowitz is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, studying under Grand Master Ben Hur in Little Neck, NY. He has a degree in clinical psychology from Hofstra University.
Excerpt From Winterborn:
Chapter 5: Applications of Terror
February 14th, 2093
Senator Zalak Patel of Michigan loved his girlfriend, and his wife, in his fashion. He loved each of them, as long as he needed them. He needed his wife for the dance every other politician had to go through during his career—the social functions, the parties, and the press conferences.
His wife needed him for the political power games she enjoyed so much. They had met at Yale Law, and they had been inseparable in their symbiotic relationship ever since…though some had said it was more parasitic. And his girlfriend was sweet and lovely and addicted to the drugs he supplied her. WKD-60 had some unappealing cosmetic side effects, but that was easily cleared up—with the other drugs he supplied her.
Zalak grinned as he climbed up the stairs of the Baltimore apartment building. It didn’t look good, but it would do. He opened the front door, and was slapped, twice. He stepped back into the hallway, blinking. Somehow, his wife was in the room. What was she doing there?
Michelle Patel threw a set of photos on the floor. Photos of him with Helen. How had Michelle gotten them? And why wasn’t he feeling that good?
“We could have had everything,” she screamed at him. “And you threw it away for a whore like this? Some dirty ‘Sixty tramp!”
Patel felt something on his face. He reached up and touched his cheek where she slapped him. A patch? He peeled it away and blinked. It was a transdermal patch for WKD-60. She had just drugged him. Zalak felt his face—she had slapped two patches on each cheek, two per slap. Oh, this was bad … this was very… Oh dear.
Zalak fell over, dying from the overdose of WKD-60. He could barely hear the sound of sirens in the background.
Kevin chuckled and shook his head, lowering his binoculars. Most people would have problems wondering what a man, dressed in black atop of a roof, would find funny.
Not in a dozen years could he have predicted this. When he had sent photos to the man’s wife, he figured that she would be a good potential suspect while he killed Zalak Patel. That she would go postal and kill both him and his mistress was something Kevin couldn’t have imagined.
He guessed it was a good thing that he phoned in the double homicide after Zalak arrived. His wife would literally be caught red-handed, with the bodies still warm. It wasn’t the plan, but Kevin would take it.
Kevin frowned. But, still, the mistress wasn’t part of the plan. He didn’t like collateral damage on his missions. He figured that this was going to hurt. After his pain and anger had left him, he would feel the death of the poor, drug-addled girl in the apartment as keenly as he knew he should have. Surely, those things happened in war, but not in the course for justice. Bombing a target to clear out a bunch of terrorists might kill a few civilians, but that was a matter of what ethics professors call double effect – killing the enemy resulted in the death of others.
Kevin knew he could come up with endless justifications and excuses. True, she was an addict, and she knew what sort of person she was involved with. And Kevin didn’t intend for her to get in the crossfire, so double-effect applied. But he wouldn’t have accepted these excuses from someone under his command, and he wouldn’t accept them from himself, either. All of those were good, solid reasons for exempting himself, morally, from the girl’s death. But that wouldn’t make her death any easier on him in the long run.
I’m going to have to be more careful.
Kevin bent down to put the binoculars away, and heard the whiz of a bullet snapping by his head. He dove and rolled across the roof, landing behind a ventilation system as bullet strikes dotted the ground around him, and bounced off of his armored black combat jacket.
He blinked. If I hadn’t dropped when I did, I’d be dead. He cleared his throat. “Mandy, can I help you with something?”
Kevin heard a light, musical bit of laughter. It was light and bubbly, like Mozart’s music…though in this case, Kevin would have sworn the piece was from the Requiem. “You can stand still a moment and let me play a little William Tell.”
“Sorry, fresh out of apples.”
“I’m sure we can figure something out,” she called back.
Kevin frowned with thought. “This is all for your bottom line?”
“And when they figure out that you’re after them, my price will skyrocket.”
He blinked. “You mean they don’t know already? And you didn’t tell them? Mandy, no offense, but what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
There was a pause. He didn’t waste too much time trying to figure out why she hesitated, but God, was he curious. If she told the senators, she could become rich. The down payment on the contract would double. Triple, eventually—by the time he whittled away enough of the senators, the cheapskates might even begin calculating geometrically.
The rest of his mental faculties were focused on the HVAC unit in front of him, pushing off pulses of heat at his face. He cocked his head at it, staring for a moment, then smiled, pulled out his combat knife, and then slowly pushed it into the head of the screw. He twisted it slowly at first, and once he realized it wasn’t making noise, he went faster.
“As long as you keep killing off the ones that deserve it, I’m not in any hurry to warn them,” she answered. “But I’m quite happy to take you out when the opportunity presents itself.”
Kevin had one screw out, time for the next one. He was certain that she was using the time to circle around him, and he didn’t bring a gun with him. “I didn’t know you were into public service homicides, Mandy.”
“Who do you think most of my targets are? Choir boys?” Another screw hit the roof. “And me? My team?”
“I thought the damn French would get the job done and I wouldn’t need to get my hands dirty,” she told him. “Besides, there are some of the guys in your line of work who make serial killers look good. How was I supposed to know you weren’t one of them? From a file that says you like killing everyone yourself?”
Henry always thought I enjoyed my job too much. Why am I surprised she saw the same thing? The third screw hit the ground, and the panel swung down, the corner hitting the roof. Kevin thought a curse as he heard Mandy step closer. He grabbed the panel with both hands and tore at it, ripping it free from the last screw. He jumped to one side and hurled the metal panel at Mandy like a giant shuriken. The Merc ducked and fired, narrowly missing his skull.
He dove over the end of the roof and came down hard, landing exactly where he wanted to— on the fire escape.
His next leap took him straight down the stairs, jumping down almost to the next landing. He jumped over the side of the stairs, and landed on the next set, and kept going in that fashion, making it down several stories in several seconds.
The stairs sparked where the bullets struck, but each one narrowly missed Anderson as he leapt from landing to landing. He was on the ground within moments, and dropped at a run, sprinting down the alley and across the street in the blink of an eye.
Kevin Anderson slowed down to a walk as he neared his hotel. The last thing he wanted was a bellman looking at him strangely as he sprinted in. He strolled in calmly, as though he owned the place. With the credit card bill he would rack up by the time his stay was over, he might as well own it.
The first thing he noticed upon walking in wasn’t the plush carpets, or the fine wood paneling.
It wasn’t the lounge on his left—an elevated platform three steps off the ground, surrounded by brass bars (unlike other hotels, for “other clientele”, there were ashtrays on almost every linencovered coffee table). It was the lobby full of military men.
Oh crap. He looked around. Everyone there had obvious military training, but he couldn’t tell where they had come from. They were all in simple black uniforms and outfits, and no one wore olive drab, oddly enough. No Marine green, Air Force blue… just black.
They, too, were in the hotel lobby as though they owned the place. They lounged about, smoking, drinking liquor for the most part. They were the quietest group of grunts having fun that he had ever seen.
He blinked and realized exactly what they were… They were Mercenaries.
Anderson felt his pulse rate steadily climb. Had they found him? Was this Mandy’s idea of reinforcements?
He forced himself calm and continued walking. He stepped right past the lounge straight for the elevators. He tapped the up button, and felt, more than heard anyone behind him.
Six Mercenaries were right there, standing directly behind him. All of them had duffel bags and suitcases. Remain calm. Externally, he frowned thoughtfully and shook his head. One of the Mercenaries, a nearly seven-foot monster, smiled down at him.
“What’s the matter, never seen a Merc before?”
Anderson smiled sheepishly. “No, I haven’t, really. There a convention in town?”
One of the smaller ones shook his head. “Just a large-scale contract.”
Kevin nodded thoughtfully and stepped into the back of the elevator when it came. He tapped the top floor on his way by.
The seven Mercenaries hit a button for a different floor each as they slowly, quietly piled into the elevator. The largest one tucked himself into the corner next to Kevin on one side, and one that was 6’3” stood next to him on the other. The next five piled in front, pressing him against the back wall so much that he could smell the sweat and aftershave of those around him.
“So,” a guy in front said, “who do you think is going to get this guy first, us or Mandy?”
The one next to Anderson chuckled. A deep, rumbling laugh. “It’s only a few hundred of us against one of her, just to get one fellow. I think the odds are about even.”
“Where are we going to start looking for this Anderson schmuck?”
The elevator came to a stop, and the first one let out. “Probably every rat-infested hellhole in this city. See you guys later.”
The doors slowly slid closed, and the elevator’s room increased a bit. It then, slowly, started inching its way to the next floor.
“Personally,” the giant said, “the main problem is that this fellow looks so damned ordinary, we could probably walk right by him and not even notice.”
The one on the other side of Anderson looked right over his head and smiled. “Yeah, tell me about it. Wouldn’t it be really stupid if that happened? Hell, I’ve studied this guy’s picture so long that I thought half the guys in the room downstairs looked just like him. This guy could be him,” he said, gesturing at Anderson.
The elevator crawled to a stop again, and Anderson waited for at least one of the two guys on either side of him to just plain leave already.
“Hell, I remember something about the British one time looking for a guy in Dublin, only they couldn’t find him. And the guy stayed in the same freaking hotel as them.”
Now Anderson’s blood ran cold. One good hard look at the guest list here and—
“Are you kidding me? Look at who we’re looking for. He—”
The elevator’s ping interrupted him and he hefted his duffel and moved through the Mercenaries in front of him, out the door. Kevin Anderson winced. Now he had to leave, when one of them was starting to be helpful. Anderson glanced at the seven-foot monstrosity next to him, and wondered how long it would take the giant to get bored listening to Mozart as muzak and pay attention to the guy next to him. The doors inched closed, and Kevin’s heart began to race again.
A hand shot out between them from the other side, forcing the doors open. The Merc who just left stepped back inside. “Sorry, wrong floor.” He resumed his place and the doors slid shut again. He waited until the elevator started moving to say, “Anyway, like I said, this guy doesn’t know how much more traveling he’ll have to do, and he’s operating on limited resources. Staying at a place like this would just suck him as dry as a cock after a blow job.”
The elevator stopped again. Another one stepped out with a wave to the others. He kicked out his duffel into the hallway and stepped out after it.
“But the problem there is,” said the giant, “where would Anderson hide? Seriously? Some rat hole? A few wanted posters and this guy would be as good as caught. We wouldn’t even need to be as open about it; we could just do a door to door with a photo.”
“Yes, but where?” the Mercenary’s friend said. “Between DC, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, he could be anywhere. And once Congress adjourns next week, we’d be screwed.”
Kevin blinked. Crap, he’d forgotten about that. Congress would adjourn, and all of his targets would scatter. Granted, there wasn’t as much country as there used to be, but once that happened, he’d need to do a lot of traveling. The first thing he would need to do would be to burn the files of those men already killed. Each file was the size of a freaking Tolstoy novel, so carrying them around would be murder. Hell, he would probably have to pay attention to the pertinent details on all of them and burn them all.
The elevator came to yet another stop, letting out a third member of the party. Three more stops, and four more people left.
“By the way, when’s chow time?” the biggest one asked.
“Around seven,” said his friend. “Hotel restaurant.”
“Great,” said one of the smaller ones in front. He got off as well. “See y’all there.”
The 6’3” guy nodded towards him, and he picked up his bags as the doors closed. “I’m the next stop. I guess we’ll have to discuss this all later. Save me a seat, would you?”
The seven-footer nodded to him as the next stop came. The other two Mercenaries left, leaving Anderson alone in the same elevator with him. The big Mercenary breathed out softly, and leaned his head against the elevator’s back wall. Anderson stepped away from him to the opposite corner, grateful for the breathing room. The elevator’s second to last stop let out the last Merc, and Anderson smiled, even before the doors started to close.
A hand shot back into the elevator, forcing the doors open. The monstrous Mercenary held a firm grip on the door, and Kevin Anderson suddenly realized just how big those hands were. Something along the lines of frozen turkeys. I am in such deep crap.
The doors inches open again, and the large Merc poked his head in, looking straight at Anderson. “Hey, you.”
Anderson blinked. “Um, yes?”
“I just thought of something.”
“Sorry about crowding you,” the giant told him. “Listening to business like ours must be as boring as hell.”
Anderson grinned. “Hey, not a problem. It happens a lot. I’m from New York. You don’t know crowded unless you ride the subways. At rush hour.”
The Merc chuckled, and let the door close. “Have a good day.”
The doors slid shut, and the elevator was well on its way to the top floor when Kevin let out a whoop of laughter.
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