Author: Kenneth Eade
Publisher: Times Square Publishing
ISBN: 978-1535097710more from this user
The Military Industrial Complex on trial.
Experience the suspense and mystery of the latest in the best selling legal thriller series from the author critics hail as: "One of the strongest thriller writers on the scene."
During his fourth tour in Iraq, Retired Captain Ryan Bennington, like many soldiers of his time, was fighting a faceless enemy. A split-second decision could mean the difference between killing an innocent civilian or losing an entire platoon to a suicide bomber. Ryan survives the war and comes home to conquer PTSD and chronic employment, only to be arrested for following the orders of his Commander.
Lawyer Brent Marks takes on Ryan's defense in his court-martial trial, which will call upon the deepest, darkest secrets of the military industrial complex on trial. In their search for a scapegoat, have the powers-that-be gone too far this time?
Around midnight an Iraqi woman approached the Command post. She was crying, reaching her hands up into the night air.
“How did this woman get through our perimeter, Sergeant? Fire off some warning shots and get her out of here!”
Sergeant Thomas fired warning shots into the air, but the woman kept coming. Suddenly, she dropped to her knees.
“RPG!” yelled a soldier on watch, as a rocket-propelled grenade came streaking toward them.
“Everybody down!” Ryan screamed.
The grenade hit one of the Humvees, the explosion lifting it off its bed and throwing it on its side like it was a kid’s toy. The soldiers hit the pavement.
“Move out! Now!” Ryan yelled to Sergeant Thomas, who signaled the drivers of the convoy. The trucks roared to cover of the Command post building under heavy small arms fire, shooting their 50-caliber machine guns toward the line of hostile fire as an RPG exploded the last retreating Humvee, throwing the gunner clear of the truck.
Two men ran, under heavy fire and cover of their own to the aid of the Humvee driver and gunner and dragged both of them back. They driver was dead. The gunner was missing an arm and had a huge hole torn in his torso.
Another RPG missed the convoy and hit right in front of the Command post, scattering hot metal, dirt and concrete. Ryan felt an intense pain in his leg. He coughed and choked on the dust. Machine gunfire pelted the ground all around them as they ran for cover in the abandoned building. Crouching behind his Command post, Ryan scanned the area with his night vision goggles and saw dozens of men advancing on the building, firing on them.
“Enemy advancing at 500 meters. Dozens of ‘em! Frontal area fire! Get some flares out there! Light it up!” Ryan shouted. His right leg felt like it was burning. He tore at his pants, and saw a glowing chunk of shrapnel sticking out of his calf.
“The Captain’s been hit!”
“I’m okay, I’m okay! Find those hostiles and put them down, now!” They could see muzzle fire from what seemed like dozens of guns shooting at them in the dark. Ryan tried to pull the shrapnel out, but when he touched it, it singed his fingers like a red hot poker. He withdrew his knife, clenched his teeth and quickly dug it out.
Within seconds, the street was illuminated with light from the flares. With the area lit, Ryan counted about 20 enemy soldiers advancing on them from the cover of surrounding buildings. PFC Robinson and Specialist Rand lobbed grenades into the advancing crowd and took out several of them. Ryan’s men shot and downed six of them as the rest scattered for cover. PFC Roger Hammond, 22, from Little Rock, Arkansas, popped up to get a clear shot at the enemy, was hit in the head and went down.
“Fuck! Hammond’s been hit!”
The medic crouched over Hammond, who had blood coming out of his mouth. He put pressure on Hammond’s shoulder, which was spurting a red fountain. The enemy continued to fire as they launched more flares and fired on every advancing target.
“Sergeant, get two men on the M240Bs on our left and right flanks to establish traversing fire. And two of your best marksmen to scan for snipers! Establish that perimeter and secure the area!”
“Yes, sir!” Sergeant Thomas took off.
The men fired their M-16s for cover. As they did, PFC Michaels (the Jester) was shot in the neck and went down.
“Medic! Medic! We’ve got another man down!”
A medic crawled over to Michaels as the hail of fire continued on both sides. Sergeant Thomas returned and crouched next to Ryan.
“Marksmen are in place, sir.” As he spoke, two of the riflemen picked off two snipers from the tops of two surrounding buildings, who crumpled as they were hit.
Specialist Steve “The Snake” Roberts, who was called that because he was so skinny, hugged the ground like a snake, crawled to cover, dragging his machine gun behind him, and put it in position as Specialist Tulane White set up his. They commenced firing hundreds of rounds in the direction of fire. Another RPG exploded about 10 yards short of them. Snake doubled over his machine gun. Ryan started to run after him, but Sergeant Thomas stopped him.
“I’ll go, sir. Without you, we all go down.” Under cover fire, Thomas ran out to Snake with another soldier, who manned the machine gun and began shooting as Thomas dragged the wounded Snake back to safety.
“Doc, take care of this man.”
As the medic hunched over Snake, Thomas came back to Ryan.
“God damn it, we’re getting our asses kicked! I’m calling for fire support!”
Ryan grabbed the Commo set from the radio operator, yelling into it over the din of the explosions and machine gunfire. “Red 6, this is Charlie 6, we’re taking heavy machine gunfire and RPGs. Calling for immediate air support at coordinates…”
“Negative Charlie 6, you are in an urban area. We cannot afford collateral damage. You’re on your own, over.”
“What about artillery fire, over?”
“Negative Charlie 6. Too risky. We’re sending you reinforcements from Bravo Company, over.”
“We’ve got casualties. We need a medivac now!”
“Bravo Company will provide your evac. Can’t land a bird there now, Captain. It’s too hot.”
Ryan turned to Thomas. “We’re on our own, Sergeant. How’s PFC Hammond?”
“He’s dead, sir.”
Ryan hung his head.
Sergeant Thomas shook his head.
“Hanging in there.”
“The battle continued for about two hours, but it seemed like forever. When we finally had established a defensive perimeter, we regrouped and attacked. I lost six men and four wounded.”
They were still receiving small arms fire when the recon patrols returned to report the enemy had been defeated and the survivors were in the process of retreat. Ryan figured that snipers were responsible for the sporadic enemy fire.
“Secure this area, now! I want a clean sweep of all the rooftops in a five-hundred meter radius!”
By the time Bravo Company had arrived to take the wounded, the battle was over. Ryan ran over to the medic who was treating Snake.
“Is he stabilized? Can we move him?”
“He’s lost a lot of blood, sir. I don’t know if he’ll make the trip.”
Ryan cradled Snake’s head in his lap. “Hang in there, Snake, you’re gonna be fine!”
Snake, still conscious, whispered back, “Captain, please tell my wife I love her.”
“You hang in there, private. You’re going to tell her yourself.”
Ryan got on the radio. “We have the area secure. I have a seriously wounded man here. Send medivac now, over.”
“Roger, Bravo Six. Medivac is on the way.”
“That was the first time we were faced with a civilian decoy to draw us into a dangerous situation. It happened a lot in my other deployments, especially as the insurgency got worse.
“We were trained well, but our training was in traditional combat. On my second tour, we got barely anything about fighting an insurgency. The hardest part was trying to figure out who the bad guys were.”
"Another top-flight novel from the master of intrigue – one of his best. Few writers in this legal thriller genre can match Kenneth Eade's creative ability to present facts in a way that with the help of his main character Brent Marks we can catch a glimpse in the legal intricacies around us. Said once and said again, Kenneth Eade is one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene and the fact that he draws his stories from the contemporary philosophical landscape is very much to his credit." Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame, Top 100 and Vine Voice