It Blows Up Real Good
I’ve read all the Dick Thornby spy thrillers. LOVE THEM. Pyrotechnics, bullets, chase scenes … my sort of story. AND there is always a well-conceived plot. So when I found out Don was having a blog tour for his books, I had to be part of it. I always recommend books I like.
Don and I go way back … maybe 1984-85, somewhere in there. Playing Dungeons & Dragons and other games. We’re both avid gamers. And now we connect on board game arena … where he almost always soundly defeats me. SIGH.
We wrote a couple of books together … one of which, The Love-Haight Case Files, will get its own blog tour next month.
In the meantime, consider jumping into this high-tech action thriller with a not-typical spy.
HERE IS THE AMAZON LINK for the first book, all three are connected on the page. The book is also available on audio, and you can find it at Barnes & Noble and Kobo, too. ENJOY. Net Impact has a special price of 99-cents; grab it fast.
It started with this one:
Dick Thornby is not Hollywood’s idea of a spy. He’s a new kind of spy for a new kind of world.
In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination—just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick’s tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on explosives. But he’s also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on “business” trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.
When a mission to bust up an arms exchange in New Zealand goes spectacularly bad, Dick is thrown into a maze of conflict involving Hong Kong arms dealers, cyber-criminals, Chinese government goons, and even militant Maoris. When a young computer expert back at the Philadelphia headquarters for The Subsidiary, an international espionage agency created in the aftermath of 9/11, discovers that the bad guys are involved in a vast conspiracy. Dick is forced to partner with the espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.
In the end, Dick can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can’t do it all.
Says Spy Guys and Gals: “What a terrific ride … action, great characters, interesting twists, and enough suspense to make you both hold your breath and turn the page”
Says Game Knight Reviews: “This is a spy novel that intersects with the world of MMORPGs and combines a set of topics I haven’t seen before. It is a bit of The DaVinci Code with some James Bond and a modern virtual reality spin.”
Available in trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook versions.
Want to continue the action? Look for Wet Work, the next adventure in the Dick Thornby Thriller series by Donald J. Bingle. Flash Drive, the third book in the series, is coming soon. Want more action? Check out the author’s other thrillers: Forced Conversion; GREENSWORD; and Frame Shop.
A TASTE OF BOOK THREE, Flash Drive:
May 28, 1993
Thwack! Yet another grasshopper slammed into the glass, splattering yellow-green ichor. The windscreen wiper shoved the smashed insect’s shell and one still twitching hind leg into a curving wall of accumulated goo and viscera at the edge of the wiper’s reach. Archie stared ahead, peering through the messy windscreen into the black void of the Outback at night. He reckoned the multitude of twinkling stars were outnumbered by the flashes from his headlights glinting off insects fluttering in his path. Still, he held his semi to a constant hundred kilometers per hour on the lonely road seven hours east and north of Perth.
Archie didn’t really care if he could see well. The road was reasonably straight and he knew better than to swerve if a ‘roo wandered into the big rig’s path. But he did need to stay awake. If his ride wandered off the road into open ground, there was no telling what might happen. He could hit a rock, slide into a dry wash, or get caught up by bushy vegetation or soft soil, with no one around to help get his tractor-trailer back on the straight and narrow.
He turned up the classic rock on the cab’s tinny radio and cracked his side window enough for a stream of air, but not so wide as to suck in a torrent of hoppers. For the thousandth time, he wished he’d left the coast earlier so he’d be driving this small stretch from Menzies to Leonora in the arvo, when it was still light out. Sure, it would be warmer and the scenery was pretty damn boring when it could be seen, but at least he would be able to see something besides the flashes of insects in the black through a filter of insect guts. He squinted his eyes and peered into the empty.
A moving slash of intense yellow-white light assaulted his eyes, forcing them fast shut. At the same instant, the radio music dissolved into a mass of crackling static. Archie instinctively hit the air brakes, while simultaneously downshifting as fast as his bulky transmission allowed, even though he had seen—could still see in the scene momentarily imprinted on the back of his retinas—there was nothing in the road ahead. Nor was there anything unusual in the flat salt expanses and mounds of near-constantly dry Lake Ballard to the left—an area which should have been enveloped in blackness this time of night. He opened his eyes, catching a moon-sized streak of yellow-orange light in the sky ahead to his right. At the same time, a long, deep, thunderous, pulsing roar assaulted his ears and rattled the fenders of his slowing rig, like a rolling earthquake triggered by a mining explosion a hundred times stronger than he’d ever experienced.
No, the bright streak was still airborne, moving across the distant landscape too slowly for a shooting star by his reckoning, about the speed of a plane. Unlike what he knew about meteors, it also maintained a constant altitude as it progressed, rather than arcing down from the sky and slamming into the ground.
By the time Archie had come to a complete halt in the middle of the god-forsaken roadway and flipped on his hazards, the light had disappeared behind distant hills. But then a sudden horizon-to-horizon burst of blue-white light lasting several seconds emanated from behind the hills where the light had gone down. He sucked in a breath and waited. Moments later an overwhelming, low rumble thundered across the barren terrain, like a freight train and an earthquake and a gargantuan explosion all rolled into one. Where the blue-white light had flashed, a red, spherical—or, at least, hemispherical—dome pulsed above the horizon.
He flicked off the staticky hiss of the radio, but let the truck idle as he got out to take a clearer—less bug-smeared—look at the strange phenomenon. Now the engine’s throaty chug was the only thing breaking the silence. Diesel was dear, but he let it run. He worried whatever this was might mess with the electrical system of his engine and he might not be able to start her up again.
He couldn’t see a mushroom cloud, but the glowing red ball was much dimmer than the flash, or even the streak of light which preceded it, so he couldn’t be sure. Besides, that didn’t make a lick of sense. There was nothing out here in the never never worth nuking. Route 49 wandered northwesterly past Leonora; the red orb throbbed to his north but seemed too far east to be near the road. Lake Darlot? No, farther east. Maybe down Bandya way. Nothing between the two fly-specks ‘cept maybe a few mines and even fewer sprawling sheep stations.
Maybe that was the point. Nothing there. A perfect place to test nuclear weapons—maybe even nuclear missile systems. But that meant a military presence: facilities, equipment, personnel. And that meant large scale, convoy type movement: Bushmasters, G-Wagons, personnel carriers, and trucks of all sorts. And he hadn’t seen or heard of anything like that, not on the roads he traveled and not on the roads—or godforsaken excuses for roads—that the drivers he hung with at the diners and diesel pumps of local truck stops traveled. That meant black helicopters and all that crazy conspiracy shit which went with ‘em. He hadn’t gone troppo. He didn’t subscribe to such nonsense on a regular basis, but God knows, there was nothin’ regular ‘bout what was goin’ on in the lonely nowhere tonight.
A jet crash? Maybe. Not a likely route, though, even for Qantas.
There wasn’t really anything to do … anything he could check or investigate … not with the source of the lights beyond the horizon, but he couldn’t just drive on. Instead he waited, his rig’s hazard lights flashing behind him as he stood on the side of the road, watching something unknown pulse in the distance. An apocalyptic hazard light?
Two hours later, the red orb suddenly winked off and he was alone in the dark with nothing but a strange story, a million stars, and a billion or three ‘hoppers, flies, and midges.
He’d barely have enough diesel to make Leonora.
What the hell was that?
Winner of three Silver Falchion Awards from Killer Nashville, Donald J. Bingle is an oft-published author in the thriller, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, steampunk, romance, comedy, and memoir genres, with seven books (including Flash Drive, Wet Work, Net Impact, Forced Conversion, Frame Shop, The Love-Haight Case Files (with Jean Rabe), and GREENSWORD) and more than 60 shorter stories, primarily in DAW themed anthologies and tie-in anthologies. Many of Don’s stories are electronically available, individually or in his Writer on Demand TM collections by genre, including “Tales of Gamers and Gaming,” “Tales of Humorous Horror,” “Tales Out of Time”, “Grim, Fair e-Tales,” “Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam, “Not-So-Heroic Fantasy,” and “Shadow Realities.” He is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers of America, International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, and Origins Game Fair Library. He was also the world’s top-ranked player of classic roleplaying games for about fifteen years.