Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Question & Answer with Victor M. Alvarez author of Requiem For The Dead. Prepared by my publicist Mr. Bruce Mason. His clients include: Random House, This American Life (including season 2 of Serial which featured the case of Bowe Bergdahl), Phaidon Press, New York Public Library.

 


Author of Requiem for the Dead



Requiem for the Dead is your fourth novel. When did you first aspire to become a novelist and how long did it take you to write this book?

A: It was around mid-summer of 2017 when I felt the urge to write fiction instead of non-fiction. With fiction I can write about lies with a large sprinkling of facts and let readers believe on some lies/truths in the telling. Although I consider myself a beginning writer, my first attempt at writing my short-stories provided me with an appetite in venturing out into writing full-length novels with an added fiction narrative and based on my experiences in both law enforcement with my 21 years in the US Army.

My first attempt at writing Requiem For The Dead was a short story line. However, after intensive research, my first draft took me about 10 months to write. I had the finished manuscript completed in another four months.    


Requiem for the Dead features a protagonist named Special Agent Jacqueline Sinclair who is a US Army CID criminal investigator assigned to take the lead in a high profile kidnapping case that takes her straight into the heart of a military establishment filled with conspiracy and secrets. She uncovers a sinister plot to set off two nuclear Smart Bombs in Pyongyang, placing the North Korean Regime and the President of the Unites States, in its crosshairs. What inspired this dynamic and remarkable character?


A: Between 1948 and the present—as far back my research took meseveral agents have lost their lives in the performance of their assigned duties. Two agents, I had the privilege to have read about, among others, were Agent Walter Edwards Snyder, killed along with a German Police Officer. The suspect shot and killed both officers, then he set their bodies on fire. And Agent James T. Abbott killed at Camp Evans, Vietnam in 1971. Another soldier who barricaded himself in a tower threatened to kill anyone who approached. Agent Abbott was killed while attempting to climb the tower. There are more stories of fallen agents. My one take away from this, was that all the fallen agents have been male: No female agents. And there weren't any female agents doing my three assignments to a CID Field Office.  

So, I thought, what if I wrote about a female agent? Then one day, while I sat and played some Latin jazz music; I brainstormed what she would be like. I wrote her character first. Writing her complete background before I even started writing the manuscript, although I knew what the story line would be. Everything else fell in step. I made her into a combat veteran receiving a Silver Star award and purple heart for her wounds and bravery under fire. After several days, and three pages later, I had Special Agent Jacqueline Sinclair fully realized, and with a nickname of Belle given to her by her father. I didn't want her nickname to be Jackie, or any other. My inspiration of the character came from my favorite action movie star, that of Scarlett Johansson. I wrote several descriptions of her, but I finally attributed the same characteristics of Ms. Johansson to my character; body type, beauty, and brains, and I gave her a sidekick, a male DIA Agent.  

You are an authority on military protocol who attended Ranger and Airborne schools, the US Army Jungle Warfare School, en route to two ground combat tours during the Vietnam War, before becoming a US Army policeman and criminal investigator (CID Agent). Your writing expresses an authenticity one expects in a military-focused book. Did you keep journals or take notes when enlisted to capture your book’s technical descriptions or rely mostly on memory?

A:   Research research, but mostly from memory. While some of my research was speaking to my old army buddies, who provided invaluable insight.

Requiem for the Dead touches on several issues which many people might find controversial or hard to fathom. What was your motivation for writing this complex and cautionary story?

A:   The story deals in fact to a large extent on most foreign prisoners detained in North Korea, primarily Americans, who'd been subjected to show-trials, and forced under duress to confess to crimes including espionage since the early 1990s. 

One such was Mr. Otto Frederick Warmbier and his tragic end. This was my total motivation. Imagine if you would, someone who’d sought revenge on the North Koreans? Such is my book. I feel that telling an extraordinary story of revenge may waken the communist regime to the possibilities that such Americans or others could target and destroy their homeland.

Requiem for the Dead delves deeply into a world that is fraught with global conspiracy and military warfare. Have you traveled to Germany and Korea before? What were some of your main sources in helping you to research and write this narrative?

A:  I spent nine years in Germany and my place’s of duty were Karlsruhe, Bremerhaven, and Stuttgart. I spent one year in South Korea, assigned at Taegu. During my tours in Germany, I had the time to travel to Shape, Belgium, Italy, and  Switzerland.       

In my research, I relied on Global Positioning System or GPS Maps and street maps of Germany and surrounding area. It was an aid in determining where to place my characters, what streets they would take and so on. Weather system broadcast, and history of certain areas were valuable for descriptive purposes. Most of the areas described in my book I have traveled, so I knew exactly where I needed to place my story in. I also used several travel brochures and travel guides to help me along the way. I used actual street names and places.

You were born in Puerto Rico and moved to Spanish Harlem in New York City when you were nine years old. You had to join a gang in order to survive the streets. What lessons did you learn and how did this time in your life help to shape you as a person?

A:  I grew up in New York City’s Spanish Harlem on 111th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, in what is now called Harlem, under a difficult home environment. My father, a Merchant Marine, was out to sea 10 months at a time. My mother raised a family of 5 siblings in a two-bedroom, five-story brown-stone apartment complex. We were very poor. My mother worked off and on at a sweat-shop in lower Manhattan, earning a meager pay. Both of my parents were alcoholics. My older brother and I did most of the housecleaning and laundry in those early years. When our father would be home, he would sit and drink and holler at our mother or spend his money betting on the horses or boxing matches. Sometimes, my parents arguing turned into fist-fights; my mother receiving the worst of it.

In the summer of 1955, a week never went by when I and my older brother, Greg, were assaulted by gang members looking for new recruits. Greg and I resisted the best way we could and tried to ignore them. Until they threatened our lives, promising if the two of us didn’t join, one of us would be killed. We gave in then and became members.

At first, the leaders of the gang would pick us up and we would have to fight other gangs; black gangs from 125th Street, the Italian gangs on the East side, better known as Italian Harlem or maybe fight one on one with an opposing member. On two occasions a rumble of sorts would occur at wee hours of the night. On one rumble, I came home bleeding from cuts to my face and hands. When mom came home from work, she came with me to the hospital. My mother never once thought Greg, and I were part of a gang. It was a secret, Greg and I kept to each other.  

I dare say, Greg and I never went through an initiation like they have today. We had to prove our worth in gangs fights. And we did: I used a switchblade and Greg a piece of pipe, but never once inflicting serious bodily harm. Oh, we got our licks in, that’s for sure, and so did they. Later, we joined in one or two robberies. On one robbery, the police almost caught us, but we outran the officers. They never caught Greg and me. We were lucky. Not so the two leaders of our gang. They were caught and jailed. What became of them, I did not want to know. It was at this time when my uncle, on my mother’s side, a Puerto Rican professional boxer, found out that Greg and I were in a gang, and saved us from that life. Without leadership of sorts, the remaining members drew apart. My uncle taught me to box, and I had a few boxing matches in lower east side YMCA. Before he entered high school, Greg quit school, and found a job at a local liquor store, to help mom make the rent.

The gang life seemed to provide us a false sense of family. Greg and I never went through the solace of it. Never really became hardened criminals like most of the members. The life taught me to be independent, resourceful and above all to show no fear when confronted with danger. It made me a hard person. I learned street lessons of survival, fighting, and the ability to stand up for myself, both verbally and in a confrontation. But I also learned to respect the police. Never did I or my brother Greg go up against a police officer, nor try to disrespect them in any manner.     

While stationed in Japan, you earned the converted rank of Godan, or fifth degree Black Belt, under the Shotokan system of Karate, one of the five traditional Japanese martial arts system. Do you still practice Karate?

A:  I still practice my martial arts, however, not as rigorous as in my early years. Kata’s are what I work on these days. Kata are the logical techniques of blocking, punching, striking and kicking techniques set sequences.  My training in Kata is both spiritual as well as physical. My favorite Kata is called Gojushiho Dai along with its sister Sho.

I also practice the art of know as Iai-do, the way of the sword, art of drawing the Japanese sword. It is the modern noncombative physical and mental discipline based on the proficient use of the traditional Japanese Sword. 

I hold a Renshi license (instructor’s license) in the 5 classical Japanese weapons; the Sai, Nunchakos, Bo, Jo and Kama. 

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

A:  William MacLeod Raine, Luke Short, Elmore Leonard, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Preston & Child – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Robert Ludlum, Lee Child, Clive Cussler.

Are you currently working on any other book-related projects?

A:  I have two projects I’m working on. The first is a follow up western on the character of Texas Ranger John Slade, whom I introduced in “Kill Slade—A John Slade Western.” It is a follow up on his life, and that of his father. An action packed western in the tradition of Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, and Elmore Leonard. I have 18 chapters completed thus far.

My second project is the continuation of the adventures of CID Special Agent Jacqueline Sinclair titled “The Theseus Conspiracy,” with 13 chapters already completed. Sinclair’s best friend is killed and the CID agent vows to seek revenge on whoever ended her life and get to the bottom of it. But forces beyond her control are gathering, and she stands in their way.  

What kind of impact and message do you hope this book might impact its readers’ lives?

 A:  When I began writing Requiem For The Dead, my primary theme was to let the reader know that freedom is worth fighting for, and justice can be achieved in one form or another. But revenge is of the lord. But sometime the lord is too busy. Clearly in the words of Shakespeare “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”

Confucius said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Researchers and theorists believe that revenge is a form of establishing justice and that the threat of revenge may serve as a form of protection, a kind of enforcement of social cooperation.   

I do believe that. Also, my story compels the reader to the realization that everything we do, or not do, has its consequences. 


###






Sunday, December 8, 2019

Author Reading Official Book Review - Requiem For The Dead.


Requiem For The Dead - Book Review – authorreading.com



A criminal investigation or a terrorist plot?  Requiem for the Dead by Victor M. Alvarez is a military cloak and dagger thriller written by an authority on military protocol with years of personal experience.  The suspense novel is well researched and relatable, set in and around military installations in Stuttgart, Germany.  The story is propelled forward quickly by well-developed characters against a realistic backdrop.  The engaging plot follows two storylines, both involving military mayhem, murder, and the seemingly unrelated mysteries of kidnapped children.
        
The author enables the reader to visualize the protagonist, CID Special Agent Jacqueline Sinclair, as a sophisticated, tough, hard-core soldier wearing Class A Army jacket, a skirt that topped her knees, nylons, and plain black lace-up military issue shoes.  However, she is highly attractive and sexy with runner’s legs and a tight-fitting blouse.  Her assigned partner, DIA Agent Tom Price, is lean and well-muscled, “suggested by the bulging outline of his suit jacket.” He has a stocky chest, long blond hair, and appears to be “a man that attracts women rather effortlessly” although, to Sinclair, he also seems to be unsophisticated.   Agent Sinclair said on meeting, “We’re going to get along famously I see.”  Could there be a hint of romance? The many minor characters are equally fleshed out as identifiable individuals.
Agent Sinclair and her partner, Agent Tom Price, are investigating the sudden disappearance of four dependent children of high ranking generals. The children have become hostages of rogue ex-US military personnel who are using them as leverage in an attempt to coerce the military to exact revenge on Pyongyang for the capture, torture, and killing of another US Army General's son suspected by North Korea as being a CIA spy. The agents discover that the kidnappers are a surprisingly large unit of highly-trained mercenaries who are blindly following their leader as he advances his plot of revenge on Pyongyang, and the  United States government for its foreign policies. Can the agents unravel the plots' twists in time to prevent the hijacking of nuclear bombs and prevent the possibility of WWIII? How are the president of the United States and the leader of North Korea in Pyongyang involved?
The engaging and detailed plot is enhanced by the author’s authenticity and insight into the inner workings of the military.  He uses military jargon with clarification. The author’s use of current military terminology enhances the contemporary plot and may be compared to novels by Tom Clancy. 
The vortex of violence is resolved in a climactic conclusion as the Agents Sinclair and Price lead military and civilian Special Forces into battle with the terrorists. The reader is left with the question of the possibility of such actions taking place in today’s society.  Requiem for the Dead is an engaging, fast-paced novel with a satisfying plot complete with all the technical jargon that provides the authenticity one expects in a military-focused book.  It is a frighteningly genuine tour de force with a gripping narrative that will resonate for military buffs. Alvarez’s work of fiction will definitely delight readers of action, adventure, thriller, suspense, and military genre books.

Reviewed by: Carole W.                      

About Victor Alvarez                
 Victor M. Alvarez was born in Puerto Rico, and at nine his family moved to New York City and later drafted into the US Army. He received airborne training, ranger, military police school and later jungle warfare training. His military awards range from Jump Wings, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, awards of the Purple Heart, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal, among other many awards. He makes his home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.




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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Official Review - BestThrillers.com

As you'll see in our review, which is below, we were impressed by Requiem for the Dead. 

Bella

The Bottom Line: An electrifying military thriller reminiscent of Mark Greaney and Brad Thor.

When a suspected CIA operative is captured by the North Korean government, the man's father, an American General, repeatedly asks the White House to intervene. The White House does nothing, and the alleged spy endures daily torture for three years before dying in captivity. After his battered body is returned to Texas, General Scott vows that someone will pay for his son's death.
 
Scott isn't just any officer. He's a widely respected Brigadier General and combat veteran. After his retirement, several former special forces operators - each of whom owe their lives directly or indirectly to him - are enlisted to help him exact revenge.

Their plan? Kidnap the children of several high-ranking generals in the United States European Command. In doing so, they aim to force the Army's brain-trust to implement a first-strike plan against North Korea without requiring permission of the President of the United States. If they succeed, and China suspects that the U.S. is behind the attack, they may be drawn in, sparking a global conflict.

Can World War III be averted? Enter Special Jacqueline Belle Sinclair, the top agent in the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. Sinclair comes from an exceptionally long line of military leaders tracing back to the 1300s, and she isn't about to let her father - a Colonel - down this time.

Author Victor M Alvarez writes like the veteran that he is, describing the inner workings of military life in vivid detail. Alvarez attended Ranger and Airborne schools, the US Army Jungle Warfare School en route to two ground combat tours during the Vietnam War, before becoming a US Army policeman and criminal investigator (CID Agent).

While Alvarez' prose may not have the polish of Mark Greaney or Brad Thor, the writing is authentic, and the emotional heft of a grieving father is undeniably raw. Most importantly, the stakes could not be higher. For readers that like revenge fantasies, we can't think of one more powerful than hijacking America's nuclear arsenal.

Bella G Wright
Editor
BestThrillers.com

Friday, August 9, 2019

Chapter excerpt - Requiem For The Dead

The following is a chapter excerpt for Requiem For The Dead.


Prologue

Blood Spilled


The North Central Highlands, North Korea,
Two years ago


Jason Randolph Scott woke very quickly, something startled him.
       He was alone and in total darkness.
       Slowly he realized where he was although he couldn’t see two feet ahead of him. He’d lost track of time barely caring anymore. He felt forgotten, alone. The perceived feeling of abandonment swept over him as it did day after day.
       It was three years ago when he'd thought they’d discovered his identity; that of a spy working for the CIA while acting as a reporter for the New York Times newspaper.
     Coming for him in his sleep, he was dragged him away, beating him senseless. They struck, kicked and threatened his live-in girlfriend, a fellow reporter, Jenny Addams, when she tried to intervene on his behalf. He’d seen her all curled up in a fetal position on the floor where they left her, bleeding and crying as they dragged him away.
      With the air cool and moist, it felt like almost being in a cave down in some deep hole in the middle of nowhere and no one hearing your screams. Every day they came, at least twice a day, sometimes more to tie him up by his hands and feet and stretched him on the cold floor, naked. Then they’d place a plastic tube down his mouth and filled the tube with water, until he was near drowning. They wait a few seconds and start in again; always asking the same questions over and over:
      “Who do you work for?”
      “What is your connection to the CIA?”
      “What is your name?”
      “Admit you’re a spy and we’ll let you go.”
      Jason knew that last question was a barefaced lie!
     They’d continued beating beat him senseless, until he could only open an eye and that painfully. Clipping electrical leads to his hands and feet, an electrical current would flow through his body, always with the same effect—total blackout—which he always welcomed like a long-lost brother.
     The dungeon he had called home for the last three years was almost unbreathable. They'd beaten him over and over, compelled to confess time and time again to whatever they wanted.
     Jason Randolph Scott was thirty-six when he died at the hands of his captors; never seeing the light of day.
     In July, marking the three years of his captivity, they turned his body over to the Americans, during a prisoner exchange between the two countries.
     His father Lieutenant General Thomas Randolph Scott, Deputy Commander, USEUCOM, received his son’s body at the DMZ, and had it transported to their home in Texas, there vowing that someone would pay for his son's death.
     US Military in Germany and the White House along with the CIA did nothing to secure his release; General Scott knew who they were although they knew the North Korean Government held his son as a spy against their state.

—Chapter One—


Present day – Wednesday, August 7
Patch Barracks, U.S. Military Installation, Stuttgart, Germany


The sixteen-year-old blue-eyed blond-haired teenager walked toward a waiting brown Volkswagen Bug parked just outside her father’s on-post government quarters. She clutched her handbag close to her small bosom as if someone could come along and relieve her of it. Her restless eyes scanned toward the front of the two-story quarters behind her, hoping against hope her father would not catch her leaving at such a late hour.
      Temperatures hovered in the low 60s, and it was a cool evening in Mid-August, with a gentle prevailing wind, just as the dying sun threw darkened shadows over the sweeping lawn to the US military headquarters in Patch Barracks, Germany. Home of the US European Command (EUCOM), where then Chief-of-Staff Brigadier General Carl C. Chapman, lived with his only child Helen Chapman. It was a picture post-card scene: as the blood-orange sky gave-in to the night, with a full moon just appearing over the horizon.
      With the nascent moonbeams lighting her way, her throat felt dry and tight, and her heart beating faster has she approached the car. “Billy!” she yelled. “Start the car.”
    She glanced behind her and thought she’d seen the living room curtains being pulled back. However, she wasn’t sure. Just as she reached the car, her boyfriend, Billy Ackers fired up the engine. He had the passenger door already opened for her. Now oblivious to everything else around her, Helen came around to the passenger side. And there, just for a slight second, she stood—a youthful figure, dressed in skinny jeans, a dark blazer underneath a black top with a white scarf and ankle boots; her blond hair blowing in the wind as she once again stared at her home.
      Taking in a deep breath, she arched an eyebrow, as if to say something, but shook her head.
“Get in, babe,” Ackers said in a low voice. “We’re wasting time.”
     Sliding onto the car’s seat, she had second thoughts about going away for the few days, and not telling her father what she’d planned. Knowing full well he’d disapprove of it. It was giving her food for thought—but just for a second or two. This wasn’t her first time, and it always seemed to end with her father setting up boundaries with which she didn’t comply. But somehow it felt different now. She couldn’t pinpoint or explain what she was feeling. Yet here she was doing it all over once again.
      Wordlessly, she slipped a hand to her boyfriend’s outreached hand. He leaned toward her, and her apprehensions erased as she met Billy’s lips with her own in a quick kiss. As they parted, she glanced at him, noticing his intense blue eyes held her own as a slow smile curled her lips; knowing their desires, and the dangers that came along with them.
      She blushed as she looked at him. He was only a year older, but much more intelligent than her, she thought. He reached over once again and caught her hand. “Helen, are you okay babe?” he asked in his slow Southern drawl.
      Helen Chapman paused, frowning. 
    “You think we’ll be okay?” she asked, as a sense of foreboding hung on her mind. “Nothing bad will happen, right?”
    “Honey,” Billy replied. “What can go wrong? The night and the weekend are ours to have fun with.”
     In the semi darkness of the car, Helen Chapman inclined her head.
     “I guess you’re right.”
     Billy Ackers nudged the selector on the gearshift, turned on the headlights and slowly pulled away from the curb. He failed to notice the twin set of headlights that flared on behind them.
    

With the night barely pitched black and only moonbeams playing across the road, the late-model Lincoln Navigator flipped on its headlights, and with the vehicle’s plate lights out, it left all details unreadable. The SUV moved off at a leisurely pace down the street, gaining slightly to their intended target—the VW Bug and its two occupants.
     They were in no hurry, knowing full well where the car was headed, and the route they would take. She and her boyfriend had been under surveillance for the last month—following their every move. And with the monitoring of their cell phones, they knew what their plans were. Now that the go-ahead had been given, it would be up to them to bring the mission to a close.
    The route they would take, would lead them six miles through a wooded, unpopulated, unlit country road. And that’s where they would make their move.
      The driver of the first Navigator pulled back and slowed the pace, as did the second vehicle, just as the VW reached the main gate to the military installation and watched as the military police gate guard waived them through.
     Slowly the two Navigators inched their way forward, turned onto the gate and waited to be waived through. Rounding the turn they drove under the arch sign and through the brown and white sign of Patch Barrack, US Military Installation Main Gate: The only gate operational during off-duty hours.
    Stopping at the intersection, they turned East on MontanaStrasse and caught sight of the VW’s taillights.

Billy Ackers turned to his girlfriend. “You seem quiet: Usually I can’t stop you from talking.”
     Helen, her eyes half closed, was thinking of her father—what would happen to her once he found out she'd gone yet again. With her mother passing away only last year, she wasn’t ready to deal with her father. She blamed him for her mother’s death—not being there for her, at the crucial time when she needed him to be, instead of traveling. Helen had been with her mom just as the poor woman took her last breath. All alone she didn’t know what to do, whom to call; too much for a sixteen-year-old to go through all alone. Moreover, for several months afterwards, she’d been undergoing considerable emotional stress.
     But now she was here with Billy. He was the first and only person she’d called that night. It was Billy that made all the phone calls. She sank deep into her seat, still thinking of that day.
     God, I hope I’m doing the right thing, she thought. She wanted to tell him what she was feeling, but thought better.
     “Just thinking of all the fun we’ll soon be having,” she said.
     “Yeah, aha,” he said with a smile. “Sure you were.”
     She laughed. “I’m fine. I’m—”
     He cut her off by blowing her a kiss. “It’s okay Helen.”


The leader of the strike unit in the first Lincoln Navigator reached for his cell phone and dialed a predetermined number, waited for his boss to answer it, and said, “Made contact. We’re following our target as we speak, Mr. Alpha.” They used no regular names during the operation.
      Alpha said, “Do you expect any problems with the boyfriend?”
     “There’s nothing for us to worry about.”
     “I hope not, for your sake.”
     “Yes sir.”
     “Check back as soon as you complete the operation.”
     “Roger that sir.”

They were traveling through a thick forest on a two-lane road, when Billy spied a set of headlights approaching from behind on the left lane wanting to pass, but not in any hurry to do so. He saw what appeared to be a black SUV pull up just abreast of his VW and then speed up. It passed and pulled out in front. He couldn’t see inside the SUV due to the dark tinted windows. Nor could he make out the license plate—American or German, he couldn’t tell.
     With one vehicle in the front and the other to rear, the front Lincoln Navigator slowed at first and then braking once or twice, letting the VW get close to its bumper, while the second SUV slowed tapping the VW’s bumper.
      It was at that moment that Billy knew something was wrong, and he was getting scared!
     He tried to swerve away to his left to pass the SUV in front, but he wasn’t given a chance, as the rear SUV bumped his VW hard.
     Helen screamed.
     Billy yelled, “Son-of-a-bitch!”
    Billy Ackers, holding hard to the steering wheel with both hands had no alternative but to brake to a stop.
    Seconds later, Helen gasped as she looked behind her and saw two black-clad men holding what appeared to be machine guns stepping out of the SUV and stop as they stared at the back of the VW weapons at the ready. “Oh my God, what’s happening, Billy!” Just as he dared to turn on his seat and gazed out past the back of the VW.
     For a moment Billy froze. “Helen, get down in the seat and don’t come out for anyone.”
    “Billy!” she yelled.
   He looked at her and saw shock and disbelief written all over her young beautiful face. So he smiled at her.
    “Please, just do what I said.”
     That gave her pause, with eyes wide open, shaking her head she stared straight back at him.
    Stepping out of his car, Billy Ackers walked forward too scared to think straight and said a little prayer hoping against hope all this was just some big mistake. He came to a stop as his VW’s headlights illuminated him in the beams, and saw four black-clad men wearing balaclavas step out of the SUV, holding what appeared to be assault weapons.
    Helen didn’t do as Billy had instructed, instead she had sat straight back up in her seat and saw Billy walking forward; saw four men standing behind the SUV holding machine guns; saw the two closest to Billy point and shoot and heard the loud gunfire; and saw Billy being driven back by the impact of the bullets striking his body, his arms flaring. And as a bullet pushed through Billy’s head, she yelled as blood splatter and brain matter splashed onto the VW’s windshield, and kept yelling as she watched Billy’s limp body slide to the ground.
     She stopped yelling as she saw the killers come for her.
   Helen gasped, too stunned to realize what had just happened. However, she noticed that the shooting had stopped—specifically, they weren’t shooting at her. Two of the killers calmly walked toward the VW’s passenger side door. Wordlessly, the one who seemed to be the leader, opened the door, grasped her by her arm and tried to pull her out. She screamed and yelled throughout. She tried kicking at the killer to no avail. Then she was pulled by her hair and dragged to the ground and forced to her feet. Someone came up behind her, pinned her arms at her chest, and placed a rag to her mouth. She smelled a sweet pungent scent. Moments later, she went limp in the arms of the killer. Her eyes rolled to one side as the chloroform took effect, as she blacked out losing consciousness.
    The clear leader of the group threw Helen across his shoulders and carried her to a Navigator where she was sprawled in the back seat. He slammed and closed the right side door. Then the leader opened the front passenger door, pulled out a manila folder from the center console, extracted a folded sheet of paper and slammed close the door. Walking over to the VW Bug, he placed the sheet of paper on the passenger side seat, and returned to the Navigator, got in on the driver’s side and pulled away from the scene as the second Navigator followed.
    He stared at his watch. It had taken them just eight minutes to secure the woman. Eight—two minutes shy of the time allotted.
      He arched an eyebrow and nodded. “Not bad.”
      Reaching for his cell phone, he dialed the same number and said, “Target in the bag sir.”
      Alpha said, “And the boyfriend?”
     “He’s permanently neutralized.”
     “Good work. You know what has to be done next, sergeant.”
     “Yes sir.”
     The team had another to bag; their last one!


*        *        *


Six hours later


The white and green Mercedes-Benz four-door sedan, with its blue light-bar and siren atop the roof, and displaying police markings on the hood, sides and back of the car, made its way on the lonely unlit country road. It was the end of his shift, and it included this part in his patrol area, though he rarely patrolled it, because few vehicles ventured out at this time of the night.
   The two-lane road, with several large potholes, direly needed repairs. Large trucks were the only vehicles that traveled on it, and teenagers looking for a place to sit, drink and make out. He’d frequently had to run off two or three cars loaded with them, he thought with a smile.
    Officer Karl Schultz, a three-year veteran, rolled down his window and listened for any sounds that would make him believe teenagers where in the area, when, his headlights caught sight of a car stopped on the side of the road about three or four hundred yards ahead.
    Turning on his blue emergency lights he drove a little faster, and what he saw just as he approached the scene made his blood run cold. For there, lying on the ground, and trapped under the intense glare of his high beams, was a human body.
    He came to a stop, turned off the engine and stepped out of the patrol car.
   “Heilige scheisse!” he said as he approached the body. “Holy shit!” It was his first dead body he’d ever come across.
    Then he heaved.
    Seconds later he wiped his mouth, and once back in control, he called it in to his dispatcher. Then, approaching the body, he knelt down and turned it over on its side, and once again heaved, as he saw that animals ate parts of the corpse away.
    Getting back up from body, he pulled out his flashlight and looked inside the VW Bug. But it was empty except for a letter or a note lying on the passenger seat. Not touching it he returned to his vehicle, and waited for the Bundespolzei, German Federal Police to arrive, along with the US Army Military Police—the VW had American license plates—and Crime Scene personnel.


*        *        *


Helen Chapman woke with a lurch, opened her eyes and saw only total darkness as she grasped for air, coughing and making gagging noises.
    She didn’t know whether she was alone or if someone else was with her. There were no sounds to show so. She called out, but no one answered.
    She didn’t know how long she’d been unconscious—her watch was missing as was her cell phone and purse.
    The air was cooled and she could feel the air blowing on her face.
    She had a terrible headache, and the wall against her back was cold.
    Helen blinked, trying to remember what had happened to her. But it was no use, her mind was still groggy.
    Billy, she thought.
   “My God,” Helen said her voice breaking. “Shot . . . dead.”
   She gasped and lifted her arms. But they bound her with rope.
   Her mind was still a blur, slow, dull, and her legs stretched out in front of her felt like lead.
  Yet, all she knew was that she was alive and, she reasoned, they wanted her for something else besides being dead.
   What could be worse than death, Helen....? Oh— my— God! 

END

All Rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this excerpt or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address the publisher, Black Rose Writing, PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

So, you want to be a bounty hunter!



During book signing events of my two books on my true stories as a bounty hunter, I’ve been often asked by both teens and young adults, as to what exactly are the requirements for being a bounty hunter, and how can they become one.

As difficult as that may sound, it’s rather straight forward. In a three part series blog I’ll try to answer that question. Let me first show you the wrong way to arrest a bail jumper. Then, tell of the dangers and the consequences not having a sound plan of action beforehand

PART ONE: The difficulties of a bounty hunter.

On September 2, 1997 in Phoenix Arizona, bounty hunters mistakenly kill a couple – Shooter was held on murder charges. Two others were sought. A 20-year-old and his father, suspects in a bungled raid left a young Phoenix couple dead.  They called themselves “Fugitive Recovery Agents.” Wearing black cloths, ski masks and body armor they sledged hammered through the front door of the house in search of a California bail jumper. However, they had the wrong house.

That said, is there a law governing the actions of a bounty hunter? Yes sir, there is:

The LAW:

In 1872, the US Supreme Court issued this finding regarding the rights to apprehend a fugitive for failure to appear (FTA) in court:

In Taylor vs. Taintor – 83 US 366 (1872)

“When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuances of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest of an escaping prisoner.”

What does that all mean?

Well, for one, a bounty hunter with a notarized copy of the bail bond, signed and sealed by the bail bond agent, makes it official, as to the bounty hunter or Fugitive bail enforcer’s legal right to; without a court order or a warrant arrest the bail jumper; use whatever force necessary (as attested and signed to by the person before bail is granted), and break into his domain, and at gun point can make the arrest. If the police are called, they cannot—with out a warrant—hinder the bounty hunter from doing his/her job. The bounty hunter can walk or run through the police and affect the arrest.

According to the Phoenix Police Departmentafter that case I’ve mentioned aboveissued a department policy reminding officers that they cannot intervene on bounty hunters’ business.

Next week, PART TWO: Qualification for a license as a bounty hunter.

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

SYNOPSIS:


Requiem For The Dead is a contemporary mystery/crime thriller novel about revenge for the tragic death of an American held captive in a North Korean jail, and the failure of the US government to secure his release. 
Brigadier General Thomas R. Scott, a rogue ex-US Army officer once assigned to the US European Command (USEUCOM) is fed up by the futile attempts of the government to get his son, a CIA operative, released from North Korean custody. When his son is killed at the hands of the brutal Communist regime, he seeks revenge. He and a few fiercely loyal former members of his staff kidnap four dependent children of four highly placed Generals in USEUCOM based in Stuttgart, Germany who have operational control of the US Army's first strike plan. The lives of the children hang in the balance unless General Scott can bypass presidential approval to implement the Operational Planwhich once activated cannot be stoppedthat calls for the nuclear bombing of Pyongyang, the North Korean Capital.
US Army CID Special Agent Jacqueline (Belle) Sinclair and Special Agent for the Defense Intelligence Agency Tom Price are part of the efforts to stop the bombing in time, rescue the children and capture General Scott. They are impeded by highly trained Special Forces mercenaries sent by General Scott to stop them. Sinclair and Price face several lethal confrontations including their attempted assassination.
In their investigation the duo uncovers evidence that the President of the United States would be under the crosshairs during a forthcoming summit meeting with the leader of North Korea in Pyongyang.
Will they succeed in stopping the lethal first strike which could lead to all out war? Can they safeguard the President at the summit meeting? Moreover, can they find the kidnapped children before anything else happens to them, and capture General Scott before he can seek further revenge?

RELEASE DATE: 12 March, 2020.


TO REGISTER FOR AN ADVANCE COPY, PLEASE USE THE CONTACT FORM
BELOW, OR EMAIL TO: v.alvarez48@yahoo.com


Author's Note:


The story deals in fact to a large extent on the majority of foreign prisoners detained in North Korea, primarily Americans, who have been subjected to show-trials, and forced under duress to confess to crimes including espionage since the early 1990s. One such was Mr. Otto Frederick Warmbier and his tragic end. Imagine if you would, someone who’d decided to seek revenge on the North Koreans? Such is my book. I feel that telling an extraordinary story of revenge may waken the communist regime to the possibilities that their homeland could be targeted and destroyed by such Americans or others. This is a story that compels one to the realization that, that everything has consequences.