Monday, April 25, 2016

An Excerpt from Executive Action, a Suspense Thriller by Jac Simensen

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Jac Simensen

We are delighted to welcome author Jac Simensen to Omnimystery News today.

Jac's new suspense thriller is Executive Action (Roundfire Books; April 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we are pleased to introduce you to it with an excerpt, the first chapter.

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THE CHAUFFEUR PULLED THE BLACK LINCOLN Town Car to the front of a nondescript, office tower in Arlington, Virginia. The building was flanked on either side by identical gray, concrete towers; other than the street numbers above the entrances, the three buildings bore no identification, no company names or logos to suggest what activities might be taking place inside the sterile walls.
  The afternoon sky was darkening and the smell of rain or possibly snow hung in the damp air.
  A short, wiry man exited from the front passenger seat and opened the rear door for an older man with gold-rimmed glasses and snow-white hair, who unhurriedly swiveled his long legs to the pavement and stepped out of the car.
  A third man emerged from the opposite side of the Lincoln; he was broad-shouldered with a thick neck, military-style brush cut, and an obviously muscular body. As he stood, he buttoned his blazer jacket to conceal the semi-automatic pistol that rode in a shoulder holster on his left rib cage. The two other men wore black trench coats over dark business suits with white shirts and conservative neckties.
  The broad-shouldered man led the way to the entrance and held the door open for the others. They entered an antiseptic, high-ceilinged lobby where a security guard stood behind a granite counter. On the wall behind the counter hung a four-foot- high metallic sign with the letters DSC in blue, against a silver background. At the far end of the lobby were two elevators.
  The uniformed guard deferentially nodded to the older man with the white hair. "Afternoon, Doctor Donner."
  Doctor Donner smiled. "Tommy, how's your boy, still in Afghanistan?"
  "He's stateside now, his mother's thrilled to have him home; enlistment's up in three more months. Thanks for asking, sir."
  "If he's interested, call Jimmy the month before he gets out and we'll find a place for him."
  The guard nodded again. "Thank you, sir, I'm sure he'll be very interested in joining DSC." He pushed a button below counter level and an opaque glass panel on the near wall slid open with a soft, pneumatic hiss.
  The small man and the muscular man each signed the list of names that lay on the counter, then picked up a badge, and clipped it on their jacket pocket. Doctor Donner didn't bother; it was his company.
  The three men walked through the open doorway and into a more comfortable lobby, one with leather furniture, artificial plants, and chrome-framed nature photos on the windowless walls. The opaque glass panel closed behind them. Next to the elevator on the far wall, an attractive, well-dressed woman was seated at a glass and chrome desk.
  Doctor Donner removed his overcoat and handed it to the muscular man. "Kurt, have Tilman bring the car around in an hour for the airport." He gestured toward the third man. "Jimmy will be staying here."
  Kurt nodded. "Yes, sir. Do I need to call aviation services?"
  "Everything's arranged," Jimmy snapped, as he strode to the reception desk.
  Doctor Donner turned and followed Jimmy; he extended his hand to the seated woman. "Matty, you're looking especially lovely today. I like the blouse, the pale green goes perfectly with your red hair."
  Matty stood, smiled, and took his outstretched hand. Doctor Donner always behaved like a gentleman, but she knew from experience that one comment was his quota for small talk. "Everyone's arrived, Doctor D, they're in the third-floor conference room."
  Jimmy had already pressed the call button for the elevator and held the open door.
  Doctor Donner nodded to Matty and stepped into the elevator. "You've got the reports?" he asked as the doors closed. Jimmy handed Donner a black folder sealed in the middle with a strip of silver tape. "Matty distributed the reports to the others when they arrived. I'll destroy the documents when the meeting's finished." Donner nodded.
  Matty picked up the handset from the desktop phone and pushed a button. "Doctor D's on the way," was all she said before replacing the phone in its cradle. For an office receptionist, Matilda Crane had the unusual qualifications of a security clearance and a concealed carry permit for the snub-nosed handgun tucked away in her handbag in a desk drawer.
  The third-floor conference room was considerably more opulent than the surrounding Donner Systems Corporation offices. The walls were covered with light-brown padded leather and framed with honey-colored birchwood trim. The oval conference table was of Scandinavian design, in a richly figured birch veneer. The brown, ergonomic leather chairs had been custom designed to match the warm earth tones of the walls, carpet, and furniture and to support the often aching lower backs of the mostly older DSC executives and guests who met in the room. As was the practice before each scheduled meeting, the room had been "swept" that morning for microphones, trans- mitters, or other intrusive electronics.
  Doctor Donner entered, closed the heavy door, and shuffled his six-foot-two frame toward the table. He looked at the three seated men and shook his head. "What a sorry lot of worn-out rogues," he said with a grin.
  "Where in hell you been, Nick; we ran out of small talk an hour ago."
  Donner extended his hand. "You've been here only six minutes, Fidel; don't start by trying to make me feel guilty. Remember, I taught you negotiating tactics."
  General Thornton grinned, dropped the Washington Post he'd been reading, stood, and shook Donner's hand. Major General Frank Thornton, USAF-retired, was a large man with a deep tan and a graying crew cut. He'd been called Fidel for so many years that no one alive could recall how he got the nickname, and Thornton wasn't about to help anyone remember.
  Donner beckoned to the small, dark man at the far end of the table. "Avi, come on down to this end where we can see you better, and keep your hands out of your pockets."
  Avi laughed. "I'm trying to stay upwind of Jasper; smells like a bloody whorehouse, he does."
  Martin Jasper was slim with an angular nose, a receding hairline, and brilliant blue eyes. He was impeccably dressed in a hand-tailored suit, custom-made shirt, and colorful silk tie. Martin rose and shook Donner's hand. "Afternoon, Nicholas," he said in a clipped, British accent. "Can we get right to it? I've a tight schedule."
  "Another little boy?" Avi teased as he moved behind Jasper, shook Donner's hand, and slid into the chair on Thornton's right. Jasper made an obscene hand gesture toward Avi, then swiveled his chair to face Donner.
  "Children, children." Donner shook his head while lowering his seventy-four-year-old arthritic body into the leather chair at the head of the table that had obviously been left open for him. He wiped his gold-rimmed glasses with a pocket handkerchief and then broke the silver seal on the black folder with a ballpoint pen. Identical folders sat on the table in front of each man. Following Donner's lead, they broke the seals and examined the pages within in silence.
  Five minutes later, General Thornton pushed back in his chair and closed the black folder. "Good news. Looks like they've solved the weight problem; Avi, it's under thirty kilos?"
  Avi placed his hands over the folder as if to hide its contents from view. "Assuming the fruit comes in at less than eight kilos, they can do it. That's without the shielding, of course; that comes away before the package is deployed."
  Doctor Donner swiveled to his right. "Jasper, the fruit?"
  "Too early to say; the radiologicals are still being sourced. At the moment, I'd put the probability of achieving eight kilos at ninety percent."
  "I'd feel a lot more positive if we could test this thing, lots of untried crap in here," Thornton said, tapping the folder with his index finger.
  Donner shook his head. "You know that's impossible, Fidel. Satellites would pick up gamma rays and neutrons no matter what precautions were taken. DSC primed the second-gener-ation Vela Satellites, and the technology's moved several genera-tions beyond Vela since then; radiation from an RDD, even a lightly packed device, would be instantly detected by a dozen satellites."
  Avi was perched on the edge of his chair, his arms pulled close against his body like a compact, dark hawk about to take flight. "We're working out a plan for a 'dry' test with tracers instead of the fruit. The real bomb will be considerably dirtier than a conventional radiological dispersal device. The fruit's a multisource cocktail: Strontium-90 surrounded by Cesium-137 and Iodine-131. The iodine kills within days, the other two hang around for decades. The schematics of the antitank shell were the breakthrough we needed to solve the weight problem." He nodded in acknowledgement toward General Thornton. "Give the devil his due."
  "Good job, Fidel," Donner added.
  Thornton's expression remained unchanged.
  Avi continued, "According to the information we have, the antitank shell was tested four times with a small radiological package, but never used in combat. That was in the nineties. The concept's elegant in its simplicity and with today's explosives and electronics it's smaller, lighter, and more deadly. We've tested and retested the electrical and mechanical components without a single unpredicted event — this is gonna work just fine."
  "The damage assessment's still the same?" Donner asked.
  Avi nodded. "Better; explosion will destroy all non-hardened structures in a radius of a hundred to a hundred-fifty meters; roughly, one hundred yards. The radiation will kill personnel within three hundred meters, with delayed, secondary kill up to half a kilometer."
  "And the residual radioactivity?" Thornton asked.
  "Depending on the success of their decontamination efforts, the space within two-hundred-fifty meters from the ignition point will be inaccessible for four to five years, possibly longer."
  Fidel pointed at Donner. "How about the mule?"
  "Early days," Donner replied. "I've got the psychological profiling underway; next meeting I'll have more specifics about the mule."
  "You know the mule's the critical link; all this other sophisti-cated crap won't be worth spit unless we're able to deliver the device to the target."
  "Thanks for reminding us of the critical nature of the delivery, Fidel," Donner coolly replied. "Next meeting. Now, unless other salient observations need to be made, let's begin the punch list. Jasper, since you're such a busy fellow, perhaps you could start?"

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Jac Simensen
Photo provided courtesy of
Jac Simensen

Jac Simensen is an American, who's spent most of his adult life in the UK, Asia, Europe and the Middle-East, where he worked with technology and intelligence corporations and agencies. Following an early retirement, Jac has returned to his first love of writing suspense novels and thrillers.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at JacSimensen.com and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook.

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Executive Action by Jac Simensen

Executive Action by Jac Simensen

A Suspense Thriller

Publisher: Roundfire Books

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

Appalled with US policy in the Middle-East,a billionaire defense contractor and a retired major general decide to mount their own Executive Action in the region. They build a small dirty bomb, and brutally brainwash a simple, garbage-truck driver, whose wife was mistakenly killed by terrorists, into exploding the device in the Grand Mosque in Mecca during the Hajj, with the intention of sparking a war between Shia and Sunni nations.

As the time ticks away, can anybody stop them …

Executive Action by Jac Simensen

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