Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gamal Hennessy Presents Smoke and Shadow! A Must-Read Recommendation For This One!

The Road to Hell: The trip to the CNDP camp took three days, which gave Trent plenty of time to think about his mission. his life and the ironic futility or both. Kolwezi was an industrial river town in the Democratic Republic of Congo and about as far from his old stomping grounds of Iraq and Colombia as you could get...Trent had no reason to suspect surveillance, but he still left his hotel after the sunset, going through an extensive SDR through the streets of Kolwezi to ensure he wasn't being tracked...

Trent, played by a younger Danny Glover, traveled northeast on foot towards the Lualaba River. He avoided the roads servicing the quarried and the security forces traveling on them. He couldn't rish an encounter with either the rebels or the government forces. He had no identification...

If anyone did get his kit, they'd be able to sell it for a small fortune...He carried enough C4 to blow up a building. Trident intelligence indicated the CNDP purchased surplus weapons from arms dealers in Angola and South Africa. If those weapons got to the front lines, the FDLR might lose the battle...
The target location turned out to be more mining town that makeshift camp, and more bustling hub than abandoned facility...Trent watched the camp for the rest of the day...That's when Trent found the snafu.

"The camp is crawling with fucking kids."
Talbot's heavy breathing roared through the sat phone..."Why the f*** are you calling me? This is a secure line for emergency transmissions only. What the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about an emergency situation. The target site has a contingent of almost two dozen child soldiers. They're moving freely through the camp. The adult commanders are forcing them to handle most of the security and the support functions. There's no viable way to..."

"You mean you called in the middle of the night to tell me you can't get past a few toddlers playing war? What the f*** is your malfunction, Shadow?"

"I'm calling to let you know your opposition profile is flawed, probably like the rest of your intel. The mission brief didn't say anything about child soldiers in the camp."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize Baker provided you with the age, gender and favorite color of your targets. Allow me to introduce you to the real world. The CNDP has been accused of using child soldiers by the UN. Human Rights Watch and a dozen other useless monitoring groups. That doesn't change the mission profile or the timetable. It also doesn't change--"

"It changes everything. I didn't come out here to kill little kids."

"Killing kids is not the mission. Destroying the weapons cache is the mission. You're supposed to be the spec ops super ninja, right? If you do what you're supposed to do, you won't have to kill anybody; get in, do the deed and get out, remember? So why don't you get the fuck off my phone and--"

"If you spent any time outside of a bar, you'd know contact variables can't be predicted. There is no way for me to ensure zero casualities in an infiltration. Even if there was, the blast radius of the explosion is going to--"

"Shadow, I know it's been a few days since we met, but you've clearly forgotten the extent to which I don't give a f***, so allow me to reorient you... so just do what I paid you to do...

Smoke and Shadow:
A Novel of Covert Warfare

By Gamal Hennessy

What happens when mercenaries--or at least what most people would call those who take tough jobs for money--have a conscience? What a fascinating book it makes! Smoke and Shadow are two operatives who are featured in an anthology of short missions where they are forced into things they don't want to do...Got to say, even though the subject matter is horrible, that I loved these two unlikely heroes!

Gamal Hennessy caught my attention with A Taste of Honeyhis first novel, last year and although I normally prefer novels over anthologies, Smoke and Shadow is so compelling that it ultimately ranks higher in my preferences of the two books. Mainly due to the two characters, Smoke and Shadow! Can't wait until you meet them! Actually the author has written an overlying story that continues through the book, with back flashes as somebody tells the people who are now working together, about memorable missions.

"Don't worry. I want you to live. I want your
client to see you with tears on your face and
shit in your pants. I want you to stay awake

at night imagining me standing in your
shadow. I want you to think about what
happens in the real world when you decide
to fill people over a few beers. You
remember this conversation. We won't
be speaking again.
Trent pulled the knife away and slammed
the butt down on the side of Tolbert's neck.
His former boss went limp and fell face first
into the toilet. Trent flushed Tolbert's head.
The water belched out onto the floor and
turned Tolbert's frightened scream into
comical blubbering.
Hennessy is an expert in character development...I either loved or hated most of the major characters and for those you love, he gives sufficient understanding of the background leading up to who they are at this time. He's a master at describing small missions into dangerous situations, leaving you on the edge of your seat, wanting the character to finish the mission... But, in this book, holding your breath to see if the character can also successfully respond to his personal drive to keep his commitment to protect those in life-threatening situations.

Take for instance when Trent was sent into the Congo to destroy weapons that had been captured. No problem! But then he saw that the supposed abandoned camp was very active and filled with child soldiers! He was not willing to kill children! His boss? He could care less and that made Trent even more upset!

And then there was Hamilton Chu, played by Collin Chou who, along with his mother, had been abused by his father. And he stayed at home as long as possible to protect his mother, never coming out to her, nor letting her know of the types of abuse and name-calling he'd endured through the years... Together Trent and Chu became Smoke and Shadow, excelling in missions that most would not even attempt...

Participating in a mission on sex trafficking was hard for Chu. They had found rooms with women of various ages, waiting, always waiting, to be called for the next john... But then Chu stopped his investigation, hearing something unusual...

...a rhythmic slapping sound caught his attention. When he figured out where the noise came from he motioned Trent to follow him around the corner to the last door in the corridor.
The sound had a cadence and a persistence Chu associated with a machine, but as he got closer he knew the ruthless violence of the blows could only come from a human attacker. The door was closed, but a harsh red light spilled out into the hallway under the frame. Chu moved to his position and held his body low to insert the camera. The speed of the blows remained the same, but Chu recognized the distinct sound of leather on flesh. He slid the camera underneath the door and slid back into his own nightmare.
The man had his back turned to the door. His shirt and pants were off and the pudgy folds of his flesh glistened with sweat in the light of the lava lamps. His thin boxer shorts clung to his sagging waist and fleshy legs. The skin on his flaccid muscles quivered with each swing of his arm.
He held a leather belt high over his head, swinging down with an anger born of impotence and fueled by cocaine. Chu saw the bags on the nightstand and the sprinkle of white powder spilling off the table and dancing in the red light like snow. He heard the addict cursing at his victims, blaming them for his sexual frustrations.
He had three women squatting beneath him. Naked and exposed, each one bore welts and bruises along their backs, asses, and thighs. One woman still had the strength to cry. Another had sores dripping blood onto the putrid stained rug. The last one didn't move or cry at all. Chu wondered if she might be dead.
Chu thought about how long these women suffered under the cruelty of his man and how many nights they'd been beaten to provide pleasure to a stranger. His thoughts went back to his own mother...

Why do I read of such torture? Because I know it is true! Sex trafficking is the most horrendous crime in the world. Somehow, someway, we must convince people that this is really happening... What better way, than to show that while evil is alive and well in many who have chosen criminal lives because of their hate or for their desire for money, that we also show that there are others who are willing to put their lives on the line to stop the haters of this world... Because we never know who they are until they go into action...

I applaud Gamal Hennessy who is one of those who has taken the risk, yes, the risk, to speak out against those criminals who first take children and then sell them...most for unspeakable actions against them by those who feel no value for human life! We must break the silence...we must tell everyone that this is wrong! And if we have a personal story to explain how we feel, such as the characters in this book, then that makes it much more easier for those whose lives are insulated from such violence, only hearing it on the news, but taking no vested interest. Hennessy has revealed in this hard-to-read, but page-turning book describing just how we who are concerned must take action to speak out... Read this book and talk about it to others, or share a copy with them to help them understand... 

I consider this a must-read. But you probably know exactly why I say this... And if you don't, please read and learn more about this important world-wide problem that can attack members of your family and any other, no matter who you are...

The impact of each mission for these caring mercenaries becomes so realistic because of the inclusion of other people, who have no vested interest, and speak only about whether the cost of that mission was satisfactory! But Hennessy has shown that, for those who are concerned, no amount of money is worth accepting and condoning what is happening to our world's children...

Please do check this book out further...


Gamal Hennessy is an author from New York City. His fiction blends elements of classic films like The Usual Suspects with modern spy thrillers like Jason Bourne to create a unique type of story. His literary inspirations include John Le Carre, Barry Eisler and Anais Nin.

His Crime and Passion Series tells the story of one man's secret war against international sex slavery and one woman's journey from a manipulated puppet to a professional operative. The series includes the novels Smooth Operator, A Taste of Honey, A Touch of Honey and his latest book, Smoke and Shadow.

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