Harrison switched on the nightstand light and picked up the phone. He managed to mumble, "Hello." "We have a special-coded message for Hardware" was the terse reply. Hardware was Harrison's designation assigned specifically to him by President Ashton. Harrison said abruptly, "One moment" and gathered paper and pen to transcribe the message. He returned to the phone and uttered, "Ready." Harrison listened intently to the message as he translated its true meaning. A look of horror transformed his groggy facial expression as he decoded the incoming dispatch.
Harrison hung up the phone slowly without looking at the bridge base for the receiver. He stared at the deciphered message as if he had surely made an error in his transcription. Harrison read the message aloud as if hearing it would provide credibility to its content: "Whereabouts of Software unknown. Report home immediately." Software was the designation that President Ashton assigned for herself.
Harrison stared intently at the message, as he stood motionless in the silence. He closed his eyes only to have them reopen to the same insane reality. He phoned the Rome airport and asked for his private hangar number. Harrison requested that his private jet be readied for a flight to the United States and that he would be there within the hour to file his flight plan...
Numerous scenarios and their contingencies raced through Harrison's mind since he received the flash message. In all the yearss of service with the U.S. government, there never had been a severed link between the President and those sworn to protect the temporary occupant of the oval office. How could Software disappear without a trace? thought Harrison. Brushing aside the political realities of the office for the moment, he wondered how Elizabeth Ashton--the woman, wife and mother--was faring. Harrison was aware of his growing sadness for Software, but he knew that he must try to remain focused...
Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C.
By Edward Galluzzi
Galluzzi begins his novel in Rome,where Harrison, the President's personal body guard, is preparing for his wedding to Hannah, a journalist for the Washington Sun. It's a wonderful little story in itself about Harrison being personal friends with Pope Josetta--Josetta having saved Harrison's life before he had his name changed...and, of course, he had many assigned interactions on behalf of the President. It is a time of great happiness looking forward to his marriage, but also a great sadness for Harrison because the Pope is very ill. In fact, Harrison and Hannah are scheduled the next day to introduce Hannah to the Pontiff.
It is, indeed, Harrison who is the main character in the book--there are just a few scenes where the President even appears... and that, shall we say, set the whole hierarchy in Washington abuzz! I'm not even going to go into...Why? The only hint is the novel's title...
"I won't waste your time. Domestic attacks against our government had increased markedly over the past five years displacing priority concerns about the risk of foreign insertions. Much like our war on drugs, our campaign to curb domestic terrorism is falling short of its objectives. We cannot continue our present course and survive as a democratic government. It is time to review our current objectives...No, it is time to scrap our failed approach at counteracting domestic terrorism...and implement a bold plan that seeks to reach a compromise with some of the more tenable ideals of our country's 'dissidents.'"
Harrison reports to "Mentor" who is never identified as to position he holds in the government. The one thing we do know is that the two men have become close and normally have a good working relationship. However, this time, Mentor is being very closed about what he is willing to share with Hardware. Difficult to swallow is what Harrison thought of this since he was the one who was being asked to take the assignment to track the President down! He was especially upset over the directive given by the President. Even this Mentor was not willing to discuss--just what was really going on?!
There was only one connection that would be explored first... A leader of a dissident group who had challenged the President directly many times. Great, Harrison was on his own, with no real hope of any timely backup. But he'd sworn to protect the President and he'd follow through, no matter what. He needed to bring her back--dead or alive!
While the mystery and suspense surround the kidnapping of the President and the events regarding that action keeps readers into highs and lows as information is disclosed, the majority of the novel reads as an exciting action thriller. Harrison is truly hero material and reminded me of my favorite hero from Russia in the Talanov series by James Houston Turner. But the first man who came to mind most was our favorite TV one-man show, MacGyver. Just because Harrison was able to head in on his own and do what he needed to do.
It took guts to go out on his own, especially since two other special agents on his detail had been killed! One of the sad events when he actually got to the compound was to find a woman locked up in a trunk... She was one of the wives of the leader! Harrison helped her and stole some wine to give her, and help her not to have to die alone, unfound... But he couldn't help being relieved that he had not found the President! And one thing she'd been able to do is tell him a little about where he should be headed... because he promised her he would avenge her death...
A man of faith and honor, Harrison did not lightly choose to destroy another man's life. He did it when it was necessary... And the type of men who had beaten a woman, their leader's wife, and placed her in a trunk to die, would be somebody needing dying...
One issue to mention...You may note in my excerpts that the writer does not break for dialogue as is normally done. The material was presented in a routine topical paragraph and I had no disruption in reading. Otherwise, I had no problems with the format and writing by the author. I was able to guess the outcome but that did not take away from the major action by Harrison. In fact, he is capable of starring in his own series, in my opinion. Do check this one out!
The interest, drive and motivation to become a writer often have their roots early in life even though one may not realize at the time. I was an 8-year-old third grader when I had some conscious awareness that writing is a good thing. It was then that several friends and I started a neighborhood newsletter.
With typewriter in hand, the newsletter was born and essentially shared much about nothing that went on in the neighborhood. However, our neighbors were kind enough to give us 25 cents for each newsletter... and most paying customers could actually read the carbon blur caused by a dozen carbon sheets.
As the years passed, I took several courses in writing and things didn't seem so blurry ... to date, I have published the following books (all books and details at www.galluzzibooks.com:
"Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C."
"Side Stepping the Rules: Broken or Not"
"Twelve Upon A Time..."
"Twelve Upon A Time... Bedside Story Collection Series" - 12 books for each month of the year in color.
As with all my books, I hope the reader enjoys the read as much as I enjoyed the write... Ed