by Chris Allen (Goodreads Author)
Best-Selling Escapist Action for Realists
"Author Chris Allen’s protagonist Alex Morgan is a perfect blend of Bond and Matthew Rei…more
Best-Selling Escapist Action for Realists
"Author Chris Allen’s protagonist Alex Morgan is a perfect blend of Bond and Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow. Thrust into back-to-back missions, Morgan’s introduction is nothing short of fierce and quickly establishes the character as a hardened military vet with a penchant for justice underlined by an ability to carry out mission objectives without preservation for self." - Josh, Goodreads
“When we served in the Paratroopers together, Chris Allen was always a natural entertainer and a gifted storyteller, equal parts Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum. His Alex Morgan novels are a thrill a minute, and the aftertaste of blood and gunmetal makes it clear these books are written by a real soldier. DEFENDER is a must-read for literary action/adventure addicts.”
Bradley Trevor Greive
New York Times Best-Selling Author
Part Jason Bourne and part James Bond, Alex Morgan is an agent of Interpol’s Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division – Intrepid. Policeman, soldier and spy, Morgan and his fellow Intrepid operatives are the faceless strangers who serve the greater good – the means to justify the end.
When an intelligence agent is brutally murdered and the president of a small African country is put in danger, Morgan is sent in on his first solo mission.
His cover is to evacuate a group of aid workers, with the help of the beautiful but distant Arena Halls, before the country is swept by civil war. But his true mission is much darker. A spy has gone rogue – and there’s more at stake than the guy’s career in the Secret Intelligence Service.
A heart-pounding, no-holds-barred chase from the dark heart of Africa to the crystalline waters of Sydney culminates in a fight to the death to stop a vicious renegade intelligence officer and uncover the shadowy conspiracy behind him.
Can Morgan stay alive long enough to save the girl, save himself and bring them all to justice?
*** Read Chapter 1 of Defender: Intrepid 1 ***
COCOS ISLANDS, INDIAN OCEAN
The sky was stained black by clouds heavy with torrential rain. A violent electrical storm began its attack, stabbing at the horizon with angry, jagged blades a mile high. In the center of it all, the rigid-hulled inflatable boat bounced and crashed across the waves.
Alex Morgan crouched low within the bow. The relentless bombardment of wind and rain stung through his sodden camouflaged overalls. His numb hands struggled to find a secure hold on the lashings along the boat’s swollen flanks and his knees smashed into the hull with each crash against the steel surface of the sea. He could just make out the smudge of the target in the distance. Adrenalin powered through his body.
Not for the first time, Morgan dragged a wet sleeve across his brow. He sat shoulder to shoulder with a team of heavily armed clearance divers attached to HMAS Albany, a Royal Australian Navy Armidale-class patrol boat. The men, all armed with M4 Carbines and 9mm Browning Hi-Power pistols, were tactical specialists and veterans of the navy’s counter-piracy operations and the ongoing war on terror. Morgan was glad to have them in his corner.
As far as the sailors knew, they were supporting an Interpol mission under cover of the navy’s border protection and maritime security ops. They were about to board a fishing boat that a few nights earlier had rendezvoused under dubious circumstances with an African cargo ship suspected of running guns in and out of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Morgan knew that high-risk assaults at sea were the sailors’ bread and butter. He also knew, from the dubious expressions on the divers’ faces, that despite every one of them being prepared for the dangers of an imminent assault, this time it was he, the Interpol agent, who was the unknown factor.
After all, Interpol were supposedly just advisors behind the scenes and yet Morgan had been winched aboard the Albany via chopper twenty-four hours ago in weather conditions even the clearance divers would think twice about; then he’d been a ghost, talking only to the skipper and the XO for hours. Later, when he surfaced to join the assault team for equipment issue and weapons test firing, he was aware that the more experienced among them knew he wasn’t there to give advice; they could spot an operator when they saw one. What they didn’t know was that Morgan was an agent of Interpol’s highly secret Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division: Intrepid.
“You know, sir,” yelled Lieutenant JJ Randle, the Albany’s executive officer, clinging to the lashings of the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, “I think this bastard thought he could outrun us. He’s trying to make a run back into the storm front.”
“Yeah, he’ll be hoping he can lose us in this weather and give us the slip when it gets dark,” Morgan yelled back. “Better make our move.”
Morgan cast a final critical eye over the fishing boat. Covert aerial surveillance had confirmed that a number of large packing crates had been transferred across to the trawler from the cargo ship theMarengo. It was the Marengo that was of interest to Intrepid. Discovering whatever had been transferred was paramount to Intrepid’s ongoing campaign against an international gun-running consortium. Determining exactly who wanted the shipment, whatever it was, would be for another time. Morgan just hoped the trawler wasn’t only full of fish.
The treacherous conditions were worsening. The assault team was ready to board with the full firepower of the Albany trained on the fishing trawler. Morgan and the RHIB crew were closing fast. With less than 50 yards to go, the waters were churning, and the small tender was thrown around as they bounced and crashed their way closer.
“OK. It’s a frequent flyer. That means we’ve come across her before,” Randle added for Morgan’s sake. “Standby, everybody. Security, you’re up first.”
Two of the heavily armed clearance divers immediately sprang forward with M4s slung across their chests. The black webbing straps of their slings, flotation vests and leg holsters crisscrossed their mottled-gray camouflage overalls. Once aboard they would cover the rest of the team. The Albany’s radio operator, Maddy Lambert – a young woman who doubled as the patrol boat’s translator – would head straight for the wheelhouse with Randle; they would deal with the captain. Morgan would lead a sweep team and search the boat while the security team would remain on deck, covering the crew and maintaining visual and radio contact with the Albany.
The two men who would board first were hanging on tight to the RHIB with one hand, stretching their bodies over the side, grasping for the fishing boat. Morgan and the rest of the team covered them from the RHIB, M4s drawn and rammed tight into their shoulders, fighting to maintain their aim through the sleeting rain. They could finally make out the dark figures on the starboard side of the fishing boat, watching their approach.
“Steady boys!” Morgan cried. Then the RHIB thudded into the hull of the fishing boat with a boom. “Go! Go! Go!” [close]
by Chris Allen (Goodreads Author)
“Like James Clavell Chris Allen put me in the thick of the action from the outset I found myself feeling the…more
“Like James Clavell Chris Allen put me in the thick of the action from the outset I found myself feeling the same emotions as the protagonist; I feared for his life and vicariously for my own.” - Jim Gilliam, Amazon review
“I had high expectations for this book, due to the author’s life-experiences in the British Paratrooper Regiment. There are many writers out there now who have moved from the life of a soldier — be it SAS, SBS or the Aussie SASR — and they all bring with them a wealth of personal experience that adds a grittiness and a level of reality to the narrative. Chris Allen has done the same.” - G.N, Goodreads
His orders are simple: ‘The safety catch is off. Return that girl to her family and drag those bastards back to justice. Dead or alive. It makes no difference to me.’
Alex Morgan policeman, soldier and spy for Intrepid, the black ops division of Interpol is on the hunt for Serbian war criminals. But these guys were never going to let it be that simple. An assassination attempt is made on the presiding judge of the international tribunal. Days later, the judge’s daughter, the famous and beautiful classical pianist Charlotte Rose, vanishes in mysterious circumstances.
The girl is not just a pretty face and the daughter of a judge, however. She’s also the goddaughter of Intrepid’s veteran commander, General Davenport. It’s up to Morgan and the Intrepid team to track the kidnappers and the missing woman before the very fabric of international justice is picked apart at its fraying edges.
Part James Bond and part Jason Bourne, Alex Morgan must walk the line between doing the right thing and getting the job done. And this time he’s got permission to make it personal.
*** Read Chapter 1 of Hunter: Intrepid 2 ***
CORFU, IONIAN ISLANDS, GREECE
Reaching the summit of a treacherous climb and cautiously stowing gear he’d need later, Alex Morgan pushed through a wall of coarse bracken that surmounted the sandstone cliff’s edge. It was pitch black, the light breeze that had accompanied his climb had become a strong wind and the high branches on the elms and oaks were beginning to sway. A storm was coming. The noise would be both a help and a hindrance: masking his movement while also impeding his ability to identify incoming threats. A situation only exacerbated by that other double-edged sword: darkness. Wasting no time, Morgan made straight for a long corridor of olive trees and, using them for cover, crept furtively through the shadows, edging closer to the house.
His mission had begun.
With his anonymity ensured beneath a black balaclava and his body wrapped in a sheath of combat fatigues, weapons and tactical equipment, he moved quickly, deep into the grounds of the secluded Villa Prinkípissa, which, for almost five years, had harbored his target. But there were no princesses to be rescued from this cliff-top hideaway. The villa was a jumble of aging yet well-restored buildings of Mediterranean design, located in the north-east of Corfu island beyond Agnitsini. It was remote, private and protected. With views across to Albania, the main house, stables and servants’ quarters were surrounded on three sides by huge stone walls topped with fat fingers of jagged glass set into cement. The fourth side of the compound was wide open, totally exposed but for a sheer 60-foot drop straight down to Ipsos Bay. That had been its weakness. Complacency had allowed them to believe it was impenetrable. It wasn’t.
Morgan’s target, Milivoj Šerifović, was a former senior officer and counterintelligence specialist of the State Security Service of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. The old Serbia, circa early 1990s. Born in 1950, Šerifović would now be sixty-two. According to Interpol and the arrest warrant issued by the ICTY—the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia—Šerifović, among others, had planned, ordered and personally carried out the execution of Bosnian Muslims—Bosniaks, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs—within Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. He was a killer on a grand scale, a very big fish, and had eluded authorities for more than fifteen years until the recent whisper of an Interpol informant reinvigorated the hunt for him. At that point, the intelligence analysts in Lyon had connected the dots and, in accordance with protocol, responsibility for the recovery of the fugitive war criminal was handed across to Intrepid: the Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division – the ultra-secret, clandestine sword of Interpol.
Šerifović’s time had finally come. Morgan just hoped the man would survive the arrest so that he could be dragged in front of the ICTY and answer for his crimes. Personally, Morgan was happy to be the one doing the dragging.
Morgan’s point of access would be via the old servant quarters, which now served as a guest annex. It was connected to the main villa by a long, narrow passageway. Taking a final deep breath before committing to the breach, Morgan moved in from the olive trees. He crept forward in stony silence and, reaching out, tried the handle of the ancient wooden door. Then, just as his fingers closed around the handle, one of Šerifović’s bodyguards, a huge man, barreled out through the door. He hadn’t even known Morgan was there, but in that split second when their eyes fixed upon each other, the magnitude of their unexpected confrontation was grasped by both of them.
As the bodyguard pushed the door open into the quiet darkness, the light from within momentarily dazzled Morgan. Nonetheless, the Intrepid agent exploded into action. There was no other choice.
Fortunately for Morgan, the bodyguard’s gun, a Heckler & Koch 416 N, was slung across his back; convenient for carrying but totally useless if needed in a hurry. The weapon’s sling, belted tightly across the man’s chest, also impeded access to the automatic Morgan knew would be sitting beneath his left armpit. Sloppy. But he hadn’t been employed for nothing: the guy was a monster. Just shy of 7 feet tall, he was a good 30 pounds heavier than Morgan. From the instant the two predators engaged, their faces just inches apart, Morgan knew the monster wouldn’t get to his weapons in time. But that was no matter to this guy. He would default to brute force. Morgan, the apparent David in this David and Goliath scenario, knew it had to be quick and quiet. He could not lose time or, worse, attract the attention of others this early on.
Without hesitation, Morgan launched himself inside the guard’s immediate space, driving his cupped hands upward and inward, managing to strike both ears simultaneously, bursting the man’s ear drums with the ferocity of his attack. The bodyguard wailed in agony, staggering, momentarily disoriented, amid the howl of the winds high in the treetops. Morgan made the most of it, grabbing the bodyguard by the lapels of his leather jacket and pulling him down while driving a knee into the man’s crotch. Once, twice, three times Morgan mercilessly pounded with everything he had. The big man was teetering like a large, mortally wounded animal but he was not going down easily. His huge arms were swinging blindly around in the darkness, each with the power of a wrecking ball on the end of a crane arm. Morgan dropped, narrowly missing one arm, then another, then side-stepped awkwardly around to the side and managed to get his right forearm up around the man’s neck and chin. Clinging to the bodyguard’s back, avoiding the slung weapon and fighting hard to bring him down, Morgan went for the classic blood choke, or sleeper hold, maneuver. Using his left hand, he pushed his right arm tight into a narrow V, compressing the carotid arteries and jugular veins on both sides of the guard’s tree-trunk neck.
Enraged but weakening, the big man dug in hard and stood to his full height, lifting Morgan from the ground. With all his weight and strength, he pushed backward, slamming Morgan hard into the wall of the outbuilding, crushing the air from his lungs.
The Intrepid agent’s grip on the blood choke loosened and the tables turned. The bodyguard clawed for Morgan’s forearm with both hands and when he found it, held firm, then violently jerked his head backward, headbutting Morgan and splitting the agent’s eyebrow. Snapping his upper body forward, the man flipped Morgan over his right shoulder to the ground.
Morgan slammed into the hard ground like a thrown safe, only to be grabbed by the throat, lifted off his feet and pinned against the wall. The monster’s massive hands closed hungrily around Morgan’s throat. Giant thumbs crept expertly across his flesh like blood-fattened slugs until they found just the right spot to squeeze. Morgan fought desperately to wrench the G-clamp hands from his neck. For seconds that seemed like minutes, Morgan went like hell for the other guy’s eyes, nose and ears but his attempts were all in vain. The man had him.
Finally, with just a gasp left in his rapidly failing lungs, blood streaming from a deep gash above his left eye and the physical exertion of the affray threatening to conquer him, Morgan reached for the SIG Sauer P226. The big man’s massive thumbs were closing down on the Intrepid agent’s windpipe with the power, precision and finality of a hydraulic press. A victor’s grin split the man’s battered features. Morgan could sense rather than feel himself lifting the SIG the last agonizing fraction of an inch clear of the thigh holster. But his fingers were numbing. There was no power in his hands. The oxygen supply to his limbs had depleted. He fumbled. The thumbs around his throat tightened more. The gun was slipping. His lungs were screaming for air. Every bit of the man’s weight was behind the squeeze. Morgan knew the gun was going. He felt his life draining from him. Then disaster – the SIG fell from his grasp. The grim reality that his last vision on earth was to be the hideous face of a gangland thug flashed through some still-functioning corner of his subconscious.
A surreal euphoria overwhelmed Morgan, taking control of the last moments of his life. Sight and sound were abandoning him. His body became a dead weight under the crushing assault of the bodyguard’s pressure.
The monster saw the transition washing over the face of the dead man in his hands. He’d seen it before – strangulation had been his signature and even though the exhaustion of this particular struggle had taken an equal toll, he had finally prevailed. This guy was done.
With a final, utterly exhausted expulsion of air, he released his grip.
Alex Morgan felt himself falling, descending headlong through an endless tunnel of brilliant light, slowly at first, gently rolling and tumbling without a care. Then the hammer fell. He was hurtling at breakneck speed. On and on – the momentum intoxicating. Flashes of his death struggle with the bodyguard raced past as he plummeted down, down, down. Yellow teeth. Black eyes. The stench of putrid breath. The animal sounds of survival in the midst of brutal hand-to-hand combat. He submitted to the power of his primal subconscious.
Suddenly, everything changed. His descent slowed, stopped and then, with the force of a medieval catapult, Morgan hit a bend in the tunnel and was fired with crippling speed in the opposite direction, called back by the siren cry of the storm. Back the way he had come. Back to the beginning of the tunnel. Back to life. Back, back, back, until his vision was consumed by nothing but the face of his killer.
The man had made a deadly mistake. He had assumed success rather than ensured it, releasing his grip on the Intrepid agent’s throat a moment too soon.
With his gun far from reach and clinging to life his only objective, Alex Morgan’s left hand closed around the SOG Force SE38 knife on his belt. His thumb popped the restraining strap across the top of the knife and his palm and fingers closed gratefully around the familiar serrated scales of the handle. With a sharp intake of air that momentarily stunned his assailant, Morgan’s body erupted in an explosion of adrenal overload.
The bodyguard’s face registered the transformation but it was too late. With the same animal ferocity that had beckoned him back to life, Morgan tore the knife from the sheath and drove it upward in one fluid movement, through the chest, deep into the man’s heart. Both hands clasped around the handle, he pushed with everything he had left and held the blade firmly in place. Except for a last wretched attempt to reach for Morgan’s throat there was no further resistance from the huge man. It was only a reflex. His knees buckled and the bodyguard crumpled to the ground, dead.
Morgan staggered, almost falling down with him, but he knew he couldn’t afford to. If he was to collapse, loss of consciousness would be a certainty in his current state. Swaying, he slowly extended to full height in primal triumph and sucked air back into his grateful lungs. After those ferocious, agonizing few minutes, all was quiet again.
With his breath rasping deep in his lungs, he looked down at the blood on his hands and tried to wipe it clean against the fabric of his combat fatigues. But there was no use. Blood never came off easily.
His gaze shifted an inch, beyond the hands to the body of the man at his feet. The heart had stopped and blood was oozing rather than pouring from the chest wound. Morgan checked his watch, the battered old Tag Heuer had sat on that wrist for years. Fuck! The man had had to be killed, there’d been no alternative. The clash had only been brief, but still he’d lost precious time. Time he could ill afford.
Mechanically, Alex Morgan retrieved the knife from the chest of the dead man and, wiping the gore across the man’s jacket, returned it to its sheath. He reached with bloody fingers into a pocket of his combat trousers and withdrew a small GPS tracking device, which he clipped to the body. The GPS unit would guide the local Interpol liaison officer, along with the Greek police, straight to the location of the body when Morgan remotely activated it. Of course, his intention had been that the device would be attached to a live body, not a dead one.
He found his SIG, checked it, and headed for the door.
ENTER THE DEFENDER: INTREPID 1 BOOK GIVEAWAY AND DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING A CHRIS ALLEN THRILLER NOVEL! http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sho... [close]
by Kristin Henderson (Goodreads Author)
Sonny Sonnenfeld is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He's been posted to a strategic but forgotten corner of war-torn Afghanistan where he's the sole civilian representative of the U.S. government and its money. Clara Santos is the sole aid worker still brave enough--or crazy enough--to stick it out in this violent backwater province. She's a beautiful, conflicted woman and Sonny has fallen for her hard.
Then Clara goes missing in Zargari, a godforsaken desert town crawling with insurgents and drug-runners. What she was doing down there, no one knows. Armed only with his wits and an iPod loaded with jazz, Sonny plunges into a desperate search for Clara. From dusty forward operating bases to a garish narco-palace to a lonely Silk Road ruin, Sonny uncovers the plots and counter-plots swirling around Clara's disappearance. His survival depends on knowing who to trust. But he quickly learns that in a murky war zone like this one, cold-blooded killers and con-men can be heroes and anyone can be the enemy--Marines, insurgents, his own Afghan colleagues, a druglord wearing makeup and bling, and most especially a cross-dressing, rifle-toting American businesswoman who's playing a very deep game. Even as he's drawn to her, Sonny trusts her least of all. He's forced to wrestle with his own best and worst instincts in this page-turning thriller that wrestles with the dark complexities of America at war. The labyrinth of conspiracies and betrayals is made vividly real by journalist Kristin Henderson's experience reporting with Marines and diplomats in Afghanistan.
In the end, on a velvety green wheat field surrounded by endless acres of opium poppy, Sonny's dogged pursuit of the truth erupts in both betrayal and redemption. [close]
― Tod Goldberg, Burn Notice: The Reformed
― Ally Carter, Out of Sight, Out of Time
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