Monday, May 26, 2014

Gray Retribution: You preview it here first!

Like most of the e-reading world, I'm anxious for the release of Alan McDermott's next Tom Gray novel. 

I'm thrilled to be able to say that Amazon is releasing Gray Retribution on July 8, just a few weeks from now. For you legions of Tom Gray fans, it features the characters you've grown to love in the three previous books, like Len Smart and Sonny Baines.

And because Alan is such a good friend and all-round great guy, he's giving Written Words a sneak preview. 

No one writes a firefight like McDermott. 
“Heads up.  We’ve got movement to the north.” 
Simon ‘Sonny’ Baines lay on the roof of the farm building and listened to the approaching band of guerrillas make a beeline for the building. 
Below, Len Smart, Carl Levine and Jeff Campbell took up defensive positions against the low wall that ran around the perimeter of the house.  Their movement was silent in comparison to that of the attacking force, which announced its presence by crashing through the undergrowth like a herd of elephants headed for a waterhole. 
The three men on the ground trained their sights on the tree line that bordered the eastern edge of the smallholding, remaining silent as they waited for the bandits to make an appearance.  The noise grew louder as the attackers approached, then suddenly stopped dead. 
Silence covered the area as the nocturnal orchestra took a time out.  It seemed as if even the animals and insects wanted to watch the action unfold. 
Len Smart slowly wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, careful not to make too quick a movement in case it was seen by the enemy. 
Mosquitoes danced around his head, kept at bay by the insect repellent, but their incessant buzzing told him that he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. 
As if the oppressive humidity wasn’t reminder enough. 
Without warning, muzzle flashes lit up the edge of the forest.  None of the defensive team returned fire, preferring to lull the enemy into advancing out of the trees and into the kill zone.  The small-arms fire continued for a few seconds before petering out, allowing silence to return. 
All remained still for over a minute, then Sonny’s voice came over the comms.  “Got people in the grass at your ten and two.  Looks like they’re trying to flank us.”
Len Smart was on the right of the trio and he saw his target a hundred yards away.  Rather, he saw the top of the three-foot tall grass sway gently as the unseen assailant crawled slowly through it.  Night-vision goggles would have come in handy, but he would have to make do with the sliver of moonlight that cast a dull shine over the African plantation. 
Besides, there were four of them and an estimated enemy strength of around fifty, so in Smart’s mind they easily had the locals outnumbered.
“Got him,” he said, and Levine on the other end of the line confirmed that he also had a bead on his man. 
The AK-47s opened up once more, but the three men continued to save their ammunition and keep their locations hidden.  They spotted a couple of armed men advancing slowly from the trees but held their fire, preferring them to get in a little closer before engaging. 
Sonny watched the scene unfold below him, oblivious to the wraith-like figure scaling the rear wall.  Nwankwo Okeke was clad in an ancient British Army smock and trousers, the disruptive-pattern material a throwback to the late seventies.  His features, like those of the four Englishmen, were obscured by the black and tan camouflage face-paint. 
The exception was that underneath the disguise, his skin was the colour of night, the war paint applied more for effect than concealment. 
The chatter of gunfire from the trees intensified, and the occasional grenade came arcing towards the defences.  They landed pitifully short, but the noise they generated helped to mask Okeke’s approach.  He reached the lip of the roof and peered over.  Sony lay five yards away with his back towards him. Okeke eased himself up on powerful forearms and quietly swung a leg over the edge.  He waited, hand over his holster, but Baines continued to focus on the battle beneath him. 
Okeke eased forward, one hushed step at a time, silently drawing his nine-inch knife from its leather sheath.
Two yards. 
He fell on Sonny’s back and yanked his head backwards, drawing the blade across his victim’s throat.  With Baines down, Okeke made an animal call that signalled his friends below.  They broke from the cover of the building and raked the trio’s positions with AK-47 fire. 
Smart, Levine and Campbell, all facing the other way, realised too late that they’d fallen for a feint. 
They never stood a chance.

Whew. I need a beer.

Gray Retribution will be available on Amazon UK and Amazon US starting on July 8. You can also visit Alan McDermott's own blog

Alan McDermott hails from the UK. His previous novels include the bestsellers Gray Justice, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption

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