Hi guys, we have new author Christian Beck stopping by today with his debut release The Last Enemy, we have a great guest post from Christian who chats a bit about spy tools and we have a very intriguing excerpt that just teases, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
The Last Enemy
Highly decorated Delta Force operator and Iraq war hero Simon Monk loses everything when his romantic partner defects to Beijing after being caught selling US secrets to Chinese Intelligence. Monk is drummed out of the Army from the blowback but gets a second chance at a career when he is recruited into a covert group within the CIA.
Years later Monk’s latest assignment sends him to Cairo, where the head of station has disappeared amid a highly publicized sex scandal. But things are not what they seem. When the base chief turns up dead and the Egyptian government looks the other way, Monk and his team hunt down the assassin.
All roads lead to a ruthless and lethal cult from Egypt’s ancient past who discard every unwritten rule of espionage to win. Monk is forced to take to the shadows to find and destroy his most dangerous adversaries yet, as a chain of events threatens to ignite war in the Middle East.
Christian Beck & Spy Tools!
Guns are often the tools of spies and operatives, each having a firearm that we identify with them. Sometimes ironically as is the case with a popular British spy and his trust Walther PPK or it’d modern cousin depending on which books you read. Simon Monk uses a Heckler & Koch VP9, but as former special forces, experience has taught him that ammo runs out. Operatives are often left to use whatever is in front of them which is the case in The Last Enemy, the first Monk novel. There was a level of brutality and violence in the book that the character needed to have to realistically exist in the world that he does. And while Monk does coldly dispatch many a henchman with a gun, that type of death differed greatly from his ending his foes “in the old way” with a knife.
“Che la mia ferita sia mortale,” loosely translated means “May the wound I inflict be mortal.” The saying is inscribed on the stiletto of the Vendetta Corsa, the personal weapon of a killer. The blade is one that in the hands of a skilled technician, is nothing less than an abrupt and violent, death sentence. Monk is such a man, one of the last few knife fighters left in the spy game, and alive because of it. The weapon was a gift to him from Sheref Tawfik, the head of Egypt’s most powerful organized crime family.
The Tawfik’s helped Monk track down a common enemy a year before, a wanted Islamic extremist. Their target escaped rendition and managed to flee the country, but not before he killed Sheref’s wife using a car bomb as his instrument of revenge for the Tawfik’s involvement. Monk tracked down the terrorist in Argentina and detained him calling Sheref, who came and exacted his revenge. The crime boss slowly tortured the man for two complete days before finally killing him. Sheref considered Monk a member of the family, a son, for his loyal deed giving him the Corsa, the instrument of death of his wife’s killer, as a reminder of their bond. The strength of that bond plays heavily in the novel.
Monk is forced to rely on every ounce of his cunning and knife fighting skills to survive the sadistic machinations of his most dangerous adversary yet.
An hour later, they lay in bed, on their sides, Monk behind Ben, his arm curled around him, Ben’s fingers entwined in his.
Ben lifted Monk’s hand to his face and gently bit his finger. “Christ, I really needed that.”
“Me too. I don’t know about you, but I’m famished,” Monk said, thinking of a restaurant he’d passed earlier on his way in and wondering if they delivered.
“Well, we just worked up a hell of an appetite, didn’t we?” Ben smiled. “If I feed you, does that mean we get to do that again?”
Ben knew just the place.
They dressed and caught a cab to the old interior of the city. Both Monk and Ben hated crowded, noisy restaurants. But Ben’s choice of café was quiet and dimly lit. The narrow restaurant was the oldest in Cairo, tucked in a little, quiet alleyway on one of the city’s busiest streets. The table arrangements were composed of the ever-common tiny wooden chairs and checked red-and-white tablecloths, illuminated by green fluorescents that gave off a strange feel. Monk asked for a table facing the front, as always. A moment later, the waiter was beside them.
They’d just ordered their drinks when Monk’s eye caught the violent flash of purple light a split second before all the windows of the restaurant blew in from a shattering explosion. Monk and Ben were showered by glass shards as the shock wave sent them hurtling across the restaurant. There was a brutal pain in Monk’s head, followed by total darkness.
Monk’s sense of smell flooded back first as he came to. The stench of putrid smoke and burning flesh ravaged his nostrils. His ears rang. Then a throbbing pain stabbed at his brain. Monk winced and opened his eyes. The face of another patron—a woman—swam immediately into his vision. He blinked until his eyes refocused, seeing the woman staring back at him as she lay dead, sundered by shrapnel.
“Ben….” Monk tried to shout, but his voice came out in a whisper. He could hardly breathe. He tried to sit up but found he couldn’t. He was pinned beneath a burning beam that had given way from the ceiling. Monk groaned under its crushing weight. He pushed until he finally forced the crossbeam from his chest. Monk looked around, disoriented. A wall and a section of the ceiling were completely gone, and the roof was caving in. He saw Ben not moving, crumpled facedown among the unrecognizable clumps of burning debris that lay scattered a few feet away. Monk suddenly felt frightened. It was a fear that was physically painful to him. He pulled himself up to his knees. It took every bit of strength in Monk’s body to get to his feet. Then a second shattering explosion rocked the building.
A spray of shrapnel strafed Monk, who was pitched forward by the blast and sledgehammered against one wall. The roof completely caved in—bricks and debris rained down atop him, and he lost consciousness. After a few moments, Monk stirred and rolled over, covered in a pall of dust. The searing pain that knifed his head told him he was still alive. Streaks of blood ran from his face down to his chest, and he choked as his lungs burned from the black smoke. The smoke and dust cleared from his eyes enough for him to find Ben. Monk tried to stand, then fell down, his balance fucked from a concussion. He dragged himself across the gruesome tableau before him to his partner and rolled him over. Ben’s head lolled, and his face remained very still. Monk found himself on the verge of panic.
“Ben!” Monk yelled, slapping him hard.
Ben’s eyes flickered open. Monk read the fear in them that he felt himself. They found each other’s hands and grabbed tightly.
They staggered to their feet, Monk pulling Ben up. They stumbled toward the destroyed kitchen, helping each other over the obstacle course of dead bodies, twisted metal, and gaps in the concrete rubble. They pushed through the exit to the alley and were met by five big men in black balaclavas who surrounded them. In their present condition, they were unable to put up much of a fight as the men descended upon them. Monk’s and Ben’s hands were zip-tied behind them, hoods slipped over their heads to conceal them, and they were ushered roughly out of the alley at a great pace.
As they approached the curb, a battered panel van sped forward and squealed to a stop. The door swung open, and Monk and Ben were shoved onto the floorboards of the vehicle. The balaclava-wearing men piled into the van, shut the door, and the vehicle peeled away. Their abductors removed their balaclavas first, then pulled the hoods off Monk and Ben. The squad of Arabs were armed with heavy submachine guns.
“Please forgive the rough treatment of my men, Mr. Monk,” Colonel Hajjar said, turning from the front passenger seat. “It was necessary to extract you both with haste.”
Monk met the man’s gaze with a steely look. “Do you mind?” He held out his captive wrists.
“Your reputation precedes you, sir. So, if you will agree to no violence, I will have my men remove your restraints.”
Monk nodded, and a stocky man cut their hands free. Murad leaned forward abruptly and asked the driver, “Do we have a tail?”
“No, Colonel. We are not being followed.”
“Excellent,” Murad said.
“What the fuck is going on?” Monk barked, rubbing his wrists where the ties had bit in.
“I thought it obvious? I just saved your lives.”
Christian Beck saw Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia when he was a wee boy on a giant white drive-in screen in Super Panavision 70 amid the dusty Iowan cornfields, shaping his idea of what storytelling was. It stuck. Seldom does he write anything less than sweeping, epic adventures that pit his characters against some instrument or agent of death, pushing them beyond their every limit to survive. Simply put: Cinema put in words. He does that on a Surface Pro tablet sitting somewhere in the desert with his family – far, far away from those cornfields of the American Heartland.