GENRE: Thriller (international)
The entire affair began with sheep brains and falafel — Saddam Hussein’s favorite dish.
It is 1990 and in Baghdad two lovers are separated by the impending First Gulf War. CIA operative Rik Bogart is desperately seeking television correspondent Ingrid Johannson — but is instead picked up by Saddam’s Secret Police and thrown into Abu Graib — the Prison of the Dead. Ten years later, he must make a fateful decision after finally reuniting with her — one that may keep them apart forever. How far would YOU go for your true love?
This iheart-pounding thriller is written by a former international defense contractor who brings incredible realism and thrilling insights into the days leading up to Saddam’s brutal regime downfall and provides a chilling account of life inside the infamous Prison of the Dead.
“It’s as much a love story as it is a runaway thriller.” Midwest Book Review
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
Baghdad, 1989 — The Eve of Saddam’s Invasion of Kuwait
The waiter appeared within seconds and poured the glass of water for Tariq.
“Do you study the desert, Rik?” he asked as soon as we were seated.
“I try to learn its lessons.”
“Then you know sands shift quickly, often for no apparent reason.”
“It seems there is usually a wind somewhere.”
Tariq seemed genuinely delighted. “Ah! You not only observe but seek to understand why.”
I answered, “It’s one of my gravest faults,” as Tariq took a sip of water.
Looking at me as if trying to judge me, Tariq finally responded, “There is much about the desert one cannot fathom. Trying to understand everything is fruitless.”
I finally had a glimmer of where he wanted this to go. “But you seem to understand more than most, Tariq. Perhaps for the right price you can enlighten me?”
Tariq seemed to consider a series of memories. “We have indeed exchanged many valuable things over the years,” he observed.
“How valuable is this one?” I inquired.
He motioned to the waiter, who arrived instantly. “Lamb kebobs and falafel.” Tariq motioned so the waiter knew he ordered for both of us. When the waiter disappeared inside, Tariq answered, “I understand you are not a connoisseur of sheep brains.”
“Hasn’t made my list of favorite foods yet,” I responded.
He nodded his happiness that he had another piece of information about me correct and could display it for me.
A Conversation…or Not
It never occurred to me I’d form any kind of deep emotional bond with Ingrid. But when the opportunity did occur, I seized it. I didn’t look back. I thought only about a future together, for however long. I kept telling myself one day more would be enough. But then the next day came. I felt so happy to still find her with me. I became greedy. I wanted more of her. I wanted to be a part of her life. I wanted her to be a part of mine.
When we made love something seemed to flow between us. We were both more concerned for the other’s pleasure than our own. We’d do anything to make the experience better for the other, to make it more interesting and to express the feelings there. Neither of us could hide what we felt. And neither of us could deny a depth of passion we shared. Making love made all the other things we did fade into obscurity. The same feelings flowed the first time and every time we made love. And the feelings were always just below the surface when we talked on the phone or sat on the patio watching the shimmering summer night lights, drinking a glass of wine and sharing whatever happened to be on our minds.
She filled me with an expectation, happiness; a reason for being I’d never experienced. And here I sat next to her, fearful yet hopeful, dreading telling her that I, or hopefully, we, would soon be leaving Baghdad.
Rik In Abu Graib, the Prison of the Dead — after 19 months
I fell to my knees and touched the water that beaded up in the dirt of the floor. I set the glass down, carefully and respectfully. I made sure the glass was protected so I wouldn’t spill more accidentally. I then bent down to the water-beaded cup and put my tongue into it. As I broke the tension on the top, real water covered my tongue. I could actually taste the water. It was real! It didn’t taste like mud. It didn’t have the grittiness I’d become accustomed to. How strange such a simple thing could almost overwhelm me.
I heard a voice down the hall. The smiling guard smiled no more. He glanced back at me on the floor. He nodded to me, but the eyes weren’t smiling. I could see the tension around his mouth. My first thought was, he’d just served my last supper.
Maybe Tariq would come tomorrow with the loaded gun to end my days. But the more I thought, the more I realized Tariq wouldn’t waste a perfectly good glass of water. He may have been generous with himself, as evidenced by his favorite charity; but to give someone like me a glass of clean water would have been a total waste of state resources. But like I said, I’d become an expert at analyzing everything from every direction. So, since he wouldn’t waste the water on me, why would he give me clean water but withhold my maggots?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
As a defense contractor, award-winning screenwriter and novelist, dhtreichler has wandered the world, visiting garden spots and more. Having lived and worked with our intelligence agents and soldiers, witnessing the conflicts and the turmoil of recent decades, he paints vivid backdrops for his stories. Like him, the men and women he portrays attempt to make sense of our fast-changing world. He has held a lifelong interest in the profound influence of rapidly changing technology on our lives and relationships. Exploring that power (what has changed and what might come) forms an insightful theme of his novels. His stories also reflect the universal desires and fears of real people everywhere.
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His website and links are:
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
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