With so much fake news floating around the web I thought I’d have a go at writing a short piece myself. Who knows, the way this stuff spreads it may be front page news in the morning.

Trump speaks by phone with Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

TRUMP SIGNS NEW REALITY TV DEAL

President Donald Trump has reportedly signed a deal with Mark Bernett Productions, the company behind the Celebrity Apprentice series, to bring reality television to the White House.

Rumour of the new series, said to be a reality version of the popular 80’s British sitcom, Yes Minister, already has White House staffers in a panic.

Nancy Drake, the Third Under-Secretary to the White House Press Secretary, told News Online that White House staff are concerned about the potential for an international incident. “President Trump has started trying out new ‘you’re fired’ style catch words on visiting dignitaries,” she said. “It’s only a matter of time before he tries to sack the leader of a foreign power.”

An unnamed source inside the President’s inner circle played down Miss Drake’s concerns, stating “she’s over reacting, everybody had a good belly-laugh when President Trump ended a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe last week with the phrase, “Just nuke ’em.”

Yes Minister

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Well, here we are, Christmas 2016. In just a few short hours the jolly old fat man in a big red suit will be in your living room stuffing presents under the tree.

As 2016 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your friendship and support this past year. 2016 has been a busy one. I’ve been working hard throughout the year to balance my creative writing with family life, my day job and study commitments, and as we approach the end of the year, I’m pleased to tell you that I’m into the final few chapters in my new Sam Ryan novel.

If you’re a fan of my first two Ryan novellas, you’re going to love the new book, which sees Ryan investigating a cold case from 1987 involving the death of an officer cadet from the Australian Defence Force Academy. Uncovering allegations of homophobic violence, bastardisation and the possible involvement of a senior naval officer in the process, Ryan’s investigation has the potential to ruin the careers of some very senior and powerful people. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed military thriller set in the Australian capital and I can tell you now that Ryan had better watch his back as there are people out there who will stop at nothing to ensure that their secrets remain hidden. I don’t have a release date for you yet, but stay tuned in early 2017, as when I do you’ll be the first to know.

Once again, thanks for your support in 2016, and from my family to yours, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Liam Saville
Sydney, Australia

Terror in Ankara and Berlin

Posted: 20/12/2016 in Opinion

It’s just four days until Christmas Eve, and we’ve woken up this morning to news of two more terror attacks in Europe. I for one have had enough. At a time that should be one of the happiest of the year, this news is depressing, and the sad fact is I can’t see it ending anytime soon.

In Turkey, a nation that straddles both eastern Europe and western Asia, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov was shot and killed while giving a speech at an exhibition in an Ankara art gallery.

The gunman, identified by Turkish authorities as a twenty-two-year-old off-duty police officer from the Ankara riot police shot Ambassador Karlov several times in the back, before loudly condemning Russia’s involvement in Syria.

The relationship between Turkey and Russia was already at knife’s edge before this incident, with both nations having intervened militarily in Syria on opposite sides of the conflict. The concern now is that the assassination of Ambassador Karlov may become the catalyst for a direct military conflict between Turkey and Russia, a situation that could have the potentially catastrophic effect of pulling NATO, of which Turkey is a member state, into a war with Russia.

We can only hope that cooler heads will prevail and that the Russian government will see this attack for what it is, the work of a lone individual who employed terrorist tactics to thrust his cause into the international spotlight. As the alternative view, being that the assassination was part of a broader campaign by Turkey against Moscow for its support of the Assad regime in Syria is one that could well end in disaster.

terror-in-art-gallery

Meanwhile, in scenes reminiscent of the terrorist attack in Nice in July this year, nine people have been killed and dozens more injured after a truck ploughed through a packed Christmas market in Berlin.

This time two years ago I was in Germany on a Christmas market tour. I was one of the thousands of tourists and locals alike enjoying the markets and soaking in the Christmas spirit (as well as a moderate amount of mulled wine). It is a time that I will always remember as one of the happiest in my life, so to hear this news today, well, it just makes me feel physically sick.

Although it has not yet been confirmed by German authorities, this attack is bound to have been committed by an ISIS supporter, whom, I’ll hazard a guess now was likely one of the million-plus Syrian refugees that poured into Europe and Germany in 2015.

In my opinion German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has a lot to answer for in her role in the foolhardy, and ill-conceived way in which the influx of Syrian refugees into Europe was handled last year. Rather than detaining the refugees in camps as they entered Europe, and processing and security vetting them, hundreds of thousands of people, many without any form of identification, were allowed to flow freely into Europe and on into Germany.

Sure, the economic powerhouse that is Germany was the country best placed to provide the massive amount of humanitarian assistance needed, but they went about it in entirely the wrong manner. Rather than taking the opportunity to work together as a united Europe and supporting the efforts of the countries through whose borders the masses flowed, Merkel threw open the doors to German and said, “Come on in.” Well, this is what you get, a lone wolf terrorist hidden in a sheep’s clothing, let’s just hope it’s the last one we see this Christmas.

jamie-murphy-arrest

Like many Australians, I’ve been following the story of Jamie Murphy, an 18-year-old Aussie who was arrested in Bali on Tuesday morning for drug possession. Is anybody surprised to hear tonight that the drugs aren’t real? I mean, we’ve all heard the stories of Indonesian police working with local drug dealers to entrap unsuspecting tourists for the sole purpose of soliciting a bribe from them. We know it happens, corruption is big business in Indonesia, even for the police.

The incident involving Jamie Murphy is, however, something different. Not in the sense that corruption and the manipulation of the truth weren’t involved, but rather that the reasons behind the nefarious activity of those in charge of policing in Bali were different, as they likely had what they considered to be a ‘good’ outcome in mind. In other words, what’s been going on here is a classic Dirty Harry scenario; a situation in which a morally good ending is obtained through use of dirty or less than ethical means.

Consider the following:

1. Jamie Murphy was arrested in a nightclub a little after midnight local time when security guards allegedly found a small bag of white powder in his bum-bag;

2. The security screening was routine, a practice common in Bali nightclubs and one that Jamie would have been expecting;

3. The moment that he was detained by security, Jamie was heard loudly protesting his innocence;

4. After being detained by the staff at the nightclub door, Jamie was taken through to see the security manager at the club, before being frog-marched down to a waiting ‘mobile’ police station that just happened to be setup fifty metres down the road;

5. When the guards arrived at the mobile police station with Jamie, there was a news media crew there ready and waiting for them; and

6. Now after the case has been splashed around as an international headline for a day or so, it turns out that the white power was nothing more than crushed paracetamol.

So what then is the outcome that the Balinese police would likely say justified this little charade? Well, that’s simple, all they wanted to do was to send a message.

Don’t you think it’s funny how this incident happened right at the start of the schoolies celebrations? A time when hundreds of Australian teenagers, fresh from their final high school exams are flooding into Bali for several weeks of partying.

In the minds of the Balinese police, what better way could there be to spread a message that drug use won’t be tolerated than by arresting an Aussie teenager in front of the waiting international media. No harm, no foul. After all, the testing will prove that there was no offence and life will go back to normal. At least it will for everybody other than Jamie, who has just endured twenty-four hours in a Bali gaol cell, contemplating the prospect of twelve years in a third world prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Corruption is well known to have a slippery slope effect. What starts out as a minor abuse of the system, if left unchecked, has a nasty habit of working it’s way into every aspect of public life. In Australia, we’d label the actions of the Balinese police as corrupt. Over there, however, I suspect they’d just call it good policing.

 The Fighgting season

“Bram Connolly is Chris Ryan with an Aussie twang” – Liam Saville, Author of the military crime thrillers Resolute Action and Predator Strike.

The Fighting Season, an exciting first novel by breakout Aussie author, Bram Connolly, is due to hit the shelves in late July and is set to explode. A few weeks ago I was given an advanced review copy of his book by Connolly’s publishers, and somewhat foolishly I added it to my “to be read” pile behind a couple of other novels. Had I known then what I know now, I’d have dropped those other books in a heartbeat and jumped head first into this one.

Connolly is a former Australian special forces officer who served several tours in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for leadership in combat, and makes full use of this experience to bring a refreshing and authentic new voice to the military thriller genre.

In The Fighting Season, Connolly introduces the reader to Matt Rix, an Australian Army officer and the commander of Yankee Platoon of the 2nd Commando Regiment, who along with his troops is midway through a tour of Afghanistan as an element of the Australian Special Operations Taskgroup. From the opening scenes, the reader is treated to an insider’s account of life as a special forces operator. Although never slow or dull, The Fighting Season has an almost memoir-like feel it that quickly drew me into the action and the plight of Rix and his platoon. I particularly enjoyed Connolly’s depiction of the intensity, confusion, and pace of modern warfighting, which he has served up with biting reality, as well as his depiction of the rivalry between the Australian SAS and Commandos.

I highly recommend this book to fans of fast paced action thrillers by the likes of Andy McNab, Matthew Rielly, or Mark Abernethy. Bram Connolly is Chris Ryan with an Aussie twang, and The Fighting Season is an absolute winner.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Photo: Lewis Collard http://www.lewiscollard.com

Murder at the Railway Arms

by

Liam Saville

A short story written for the 2015/16 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.
Liam Saville is the author of the military crime thrillers Predator Strike and Resolute Action.

 

The drive from Kings Lynn to Downham Market took fifteen minutes longer than Detective Inspector Josh Bradshaw had anticipated. The traffic, heavier than normal due to roadwork on the A10, had reduced their pace to a crawl, and only the skilful driving of Detective Sergeant Andy McMillan, and the liberal use of their police siren, had prevented it from taking even longer.

“Do you know this pub in the railway station?” Bradshaw asked.

“Sure, the Railway Arms. Everybody knows it, sir.”

“Not everybody, Andy.”

“No, quite right. Not those who’ve only lived here a few days. My apologies. It’s quite famous though, featured on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys a few years back.”

“The train show on BBC2, you watch that? If you ask me, there’s nothing remotely enjoyable about train travel. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to think of anything worse.”

After a twelve-month secondment to the capital with the Metropolitan Police, it was Bradshaw’s first week back with his home force, the Norfolk Constabulary. Previously posted to Norwich, on the other side of the county, he hadn’t spent much time in the Kings Lynn district.

McMillan slowed as they entered the market town and headed for the railway station.

“No offence, sir, but with the name Bradshaw, I’d have thought you’d be right into trains and rail travel.”

“Well, you don’t get to choose your name. I’m not at all related to my family’s famous namesake, I haven’t written any railway guidebooks, and rest assured, as long as I have any say in it, I won’t be taking any long train journeys.”

McMillan parked in an empty space opposite the railway station near a car dealership. They walked to the main building on the southern side of the station, where a uniformed constable stood on the porch behind blue and white police tape that had been strung along the building’s aging brick façade.

Bradshaw held up his badge and warrant card. “DI Bradshaw and DS McMillan, Kings Lynn CID; we’re after Sergeant Cruickshank.”

At that point, they knew only the basics. The publican was dead—he was alive when the last customers left the night before and found dead when his staff arrived in the morning.

The constable wrote their names on the crime scene log. “The sergeant’s in the bar with the police doctor. Through the corridor to the platform, then first on your right. You can’t miss it—big blue door with a sign above it.”

Bradshaw and McMillan walked through the corridor and onto the platform on the other side. There, Bradshaw looked around and saw another uniformed constable standing by the blue door. He also noted that the section of Platform One, which stood adjacent the building, had been cordoned off with police tape. With nothing more than a nod to the constable, Bradshaw opened the door, and the two detectives stepped inside.

“Smaller than it looks from the outside. You’d be hard-pressed to get a dozen or so drinkers in here.”

“Particularly the way it looks now,” McMillan said.

The small bar was a mess. Books and papers were everywhere, with all the cupboards and draws around the room open, their contents strewn about. On the far side of the room, by the bar, a uniformed sergeant, who Bradshaw took to be Matt Cruickshank, the Downham Market Safer Neighbourhood Team Leader, and the police doctor were crouched over the victim’s body.

As they entered, Cruickshank stood and walked over. “Andy, thanks for coming,” he said, shaking MacMillan’s hand. “A right mess this one. Burglary gone wrong by the look—probably one of the local gypsies. Shouldn’t be too hard to track down the culprit.”

McMillan made the introductions.

“So a creeper break, sergeant?” Bradshaw said. “Why don’t you run us through your theory?”

Cruickshank nodded. “We’ve got Damian Zammit over there on the floor. Owner of the Railway Arms. He won big on the lottery earlier this year; bought the pub with his some of his winnings. He’s rich, but clearly he’s seen better days. He was stabbed once in the back and once through the chest.”

Cruickshank paused and checked his notes.

“He recently became engaged. Local woman by the name of Kate May. He was last seen alive by two staff, Gail Bridges and Clare Harris, who along with a customer left when the bar closed at ten-thirty. Zammit stayed behind to do some paperwork after closing while the others left. Miss Harris turned up at nine this morning to open the pub. That’s when she found him dead on the floor. The night’s takings are missing, as are Zammit’s Rolex and wallet. She’s already back at Downham Police Station, waiting to provide a formal statement. I haven’t contacted Miss Bridges yet, nor the fiancée, Kate May, she’s out of the country.”

Bradshaw took out his own notebook and started writing, and then turned his attention back to Cruickshank.

“The customer, what do we know about him?”

“Well, this may sound odd, but you passed him on your way in; PC Steve Bedano is keeping the crime scene log at the front. He stopped in for a swifty after work last night and left with the two staff members when the bar closed. He says Zammit was alive at the time.”

“Do you agree, doctor?” Bradshaw asked. “Does that work, in terms of his wounds?”

“Most likely. Given the blood loss, I’d say they were fatal; although I won’t know for sure until the post-mortem. If I had to guess, I’d say he was stabbed in the back first—as that wound doesn’t look too deep—then after he turned to face his attacker, he was stabbed a second time in the chest. The second stab is likely the one that killed him. As for the timeline, given his state of rigor, I’d put the tentative time of death of between 9pm and 1am last night.”

Bradshaw added the details to his notebook.

“Other than the missing property, and the mess in here, do we have anything else to support the burglary turned murder theory, sergeant?”

“In the back room, the ceiling is lower than in the main bar.  There’s a loft hatch that was open in there this morning—it wasn’t open last night.  I think the killer waited until the pub closed, and then thinking he was alone, he climbed in through the roof. It’s easy enough to slide a few of the old tiles to the side and slip into the loft space and down out of the hatch. Problem was that the pub wasn’t empty, so there was a confrontation with the victim.”

Bradshaw gestured towards the backroom. “Is there a ladder?”

“Not here, but I can get one brought down from the police station,” Cruickshank said.

With Cruickshank gone to arrange the ladder, Bradshaw looked over the body.

“Is this how Mr Zammit was found, doctor? Was he lying on his side like this?”

“No. He was face down when the paramedics arrived. They turned him to check for signs of life. That’s how I was able to see both stab wounds.”

“I don’t see any signs of a struggle on the body, no scratches or marks on his hands or face?”

“No, neither did I.  Still, I’ll be sure to get samples of any material under his fingernails. We might be lucky.”

“Yes, thank you. So, Andy, what’s your take on this? Are we looking at a burglary or robbery gone wrong, or something else entirely?”

McMillan looked around and considered his answer for a few moments.

“Based on what we know so far, Sir, Sergeant Cruikshank’s scenario fits. If the attacker surprised him after dropping down out of the loft in the other room, it may explain why he was first stabbed in the back, and then when he turned around, stabbed again through the heart.”

“Yes, but a bit excessive, don’t you think? If you were here for a burglary, and dropped in through the roof to find somebody here, would the first thing you do be to stab the person? Chances are you’d be in just as much shock as they are. Besides, the noise of climbing in through the roof would likely alert the victim to your presence—”

“But if that’s the case, then—”

“Then there would be no surprise attack, and a better than average chance that the victim would have fought back.”

“I think you’re right, sir. It could be that Mr Zammit was the target all along, and the robbery only an afterthought. Perhaps he didn’t hear the attacker climbing through the roof, because he was already in the loft space. If he was up there waiting, he might have been able to lower himself quietly and sneak up behind him.”

Bradshaw walked into the backroom and had a look at the ceiling. It was a lot lower in this room, probably closer to eight feet above the floor as opposed to the fourteen or so feet it was in the main bar. Even so, would a person be able to lower themselves from that height without alerting somebody working in the next room?

Within minutes, Sergeant Cruickshank returned with a ladder and set it up below the open hatch. It was an old wooden a-frame type that had clearly seen better days.

“Have you got your working at heights certificate, sir?” he said in jest, as he stepped aside for Bradshaw.

“Pull your head in, sergeant.”

Bradshaw gave the ladder a shake then climbed to the top. There, he switched on the torch on his mobile phone and stuck his head up into the loft. His inspection took just seconds.

“Well, that’s the end of that theory,” he said as he climbed back down. “The hatch might have been open, but there was no way anybody used it to gain entry to the pub.”

“You can tell that from a two-second glance?” Cruickshank asked.

“Sure, take a look yourself.”

Cruickshank didn’t need to be asked twice. He pulled a Maglite torch out of his duty belt and climbed to the top.

“I don’t get it,” he said a few moments later, with his head still in the loft space. “There’s plenty of room up here, sir. How can you possibly know nobody was up here?”

“To coin a phrase, sergeant, that’s elementary. Have a look around the edges of the hatch, where your fingers have just been. What do you see?”

“Dust, it’s very dusty up here.”

“Close, sergeant, very close. What you’re seeing is where your hand has disturbed the dust. Now look around the rest of the space. You’ll see it too is quite dusty. There probably hasn’t been anyone up there in years, and that’s the point. If the offender had climbed in through the roof, or simply been up there hiding, he would have disturbed the dust everywhere he touched. The dust hasn’t been disturbed, because nobody was up there.”

Bradshaw turned to his partner.

“Andy, give the security guys at Great Northern a call. See if we can get access to the last twenty-four hours of CCTV from the station. Then track down Clare Harris and see what you can do about tracing the fiancée. I’ll meet you up at the Downham Police Station shortly.”

“Leave it to me,” McMillan said.

With McMillan tasked, Bradshaw walked out of the bar and back to the front of the building.

“Constable Bedano,” he said, “you were here when the bar closed last night. Care to run me through what you saw?”

“Well, sir, I stopped by the bar after work last night, about ten-fifteen, I suppose. It’s something I often do when working the late shift. I share a small terrace up on Bennett Street, which is just round the corner from here, and both my flat mates work here at the bar.”

“Clare Harris and Gail Bridges, they’re your flatmates?”

“Yeah, they were working last night. Clare finished about an hour before close, but stayed for a few beers, and Gail knocked off when the bar closed at ten-thirty. About five minutes after close, we all left together. We were the last to leave, and Damian was fine at that time.”

Bradshaw consulted his notes.

“You definitely all left together?”

“Well, yes. Clare and I stepped out first while Gail finished a quick half-pint, but she was only a minute behind us.”

“So, Gail was alone inside with the victim?”

“Yes, but it really was just for a few seconds. The moment we walked out, Clare realised she’d left her jacket, so she stuck her head inside to grab it. It was cold out, and she didn’t notice she’d left it until we were outside. Besides, I could hear her talking to Gail and Damian the whole time. I was just outside the door, and then we all left together. I heard Clare tell Damian she’d open up in the morning as she walked out with Gail and saw her pull the door shut on the way.”

“Right, got it, so there was no way Gail could have stabbed him, because Clare would have seen it. What about the victim? How well do you know Damian Zammit?”

Constable Bedano dropped his gaze to the ground.

“What is it, constable?”

“Well, it’s just… well, I’ve known him for years; we went to school together and sort of hung out a bit. He was a bit of a hell-raiser when he was younger, got into a bit of strife. Nothing too serious, but he had a few run-ins with the police back in the day.

Bradshaw nodded and then jotted down more notes.

“Did you kill Damian Zammit, constable?”

“No, of course not.”

“Then you’ve got nothing to worry about, do you? Now, what more can you tell me?”

“He’s had a few jobs over the years, worked as a labourer mainly, but no career so to speak; at least not until he won twenty million quid in that triple roll-over jackpot last year. That’s when he bought the bar.”

“What about his fiancée, Kate May? When did she come onto the scene?”

“Now that was something I didn’t see coming. I didn’t even know he was seeing anybody seriously. Damian always fancied himself as a ladies man. Never really had much luck, though, until he was rich. After he won the money, he had no problem picking up. Even Clare and Gail were sniffing around, trying to land the cash. I really didn’t see him as the type to settle down, and not with somebody like Kate May. He’s certainly punching above his weight with her.”

Bradshaw finished his interview and walked back into the bar to wait for the scene-of-crime officers to arrive and start the forensic investigation. It was a slow, methodical process that took several hours. Eventually the police doctor took control of the body, and Bradshaw had Cruickshank accompany it to the mortuary. Then, with the crime scene under control, he headed up to the Downham Police Station.

At the station, Bradshaw made himself a strong cup of tea and then took a seat at the empty desk next to McMillan.

“Any luck with the CCTV from Great Southern?”

“Yeah, they emailed me a secure link that we can stream from here. We can control the footage from all of the cameras on the station, and if necessary, go back up to twenty-eight days. I’ve already had a look; the views from the cameras are first rate. Clear, unobstructed vision right around the building. The downside is that there are no cameras inside the bar.”

“I noticed that when I was there, but that’s not the worst of it, though, is it?”

“Actually, no, it’s not. When I looked through the footage, I couldn’t see anybody coming or going from the building. From the time customer and staff leave, right up until Clare Harris returned to open up this morning, nobody approaches it. But somehow, you already knew that, didn’t you, sir?”

“Not for certain, Andy, but I’m not surprised.”

He could see that he’d totally confused his partner, so Bradshaw took a few minutes to recap what he’d learnt at the scene, including confirmation from the scene-of-crime officers that the murder weapon was not left on site, and that it likely came from the victim’s own kitchen knife block that was located behind the bar.

“Any luck tracing the fiancée?” Bradshaw asked.

“Yes, and that’s one thing that I do have clear. Immigration has confirmed that she left the country for Athens the day before yesterday and hasn’t returned yet. I managed to track her down to a hotel in the Greek Islands. She was planning her wedding, of all things.”

“So you’ve spoken to her?”

“Yeah, she already knew Zammit had been killed, though. It seems news spreads fast around here. She took a call from a friend half an hour before I spoke with her; she’s on her way back.”

Bradshaw nodded and then updated his notebook.

“I’m still confused, though, sir. The victim was alive when the witnesses left. Nobody entered the bar all night, yet he was dead when Gail Bridges arrived in the morning. It’s not possible.”

Bradshaw grinned. “Clearly, it is, as that’s what happened. Show me the CCTV footage of the group leaving last night; I need to check something before I tell you who the murderer is.

McMillan played the footage, and the scene looked just as Bedano had described it. He’d walked out with Clare, who had left without her jacket. She ran back to the door, only to come out seconds later with Gail, who was carrying her jacket for her.

“That’s it, that’s the key,” Bradshaw said.

“What? I don’t see it. Gail couldn’t have killed him. Clare would have seen it, and besides, there was not time for her to ransack the place.”

Bradshaw left McMillan pondering the question for a few moments while he made another cup of tea.

“Have you worked it out?” he said, when he returned.

“No, I’m still lost.”

“What if I told you that there were two killers?”

Suddenly, a smile formed across McMillan’s face.

“That works,” he said. “Gail stabbed him when Clare and Bedano left, then Clare stuck her head in to provide an alibi for her. They didn’t ransack the place. There wasn’t time. Clare did that when she got in this morning, and she also opened the loft hatch to make it look like a burglary gone wrong.”

“Right,” Bradshaw said. “Which explains why Zammit had no defensive wounds; he knew his killer. And what better cover for them both than a police officer who’d honestly swear they didn’t do it? The only thing you missed is that despite Clare being cold and going back for her jacket, she didn’t put it on.”

“Of course, Gail carried it out. She probably needed to hide the blood stains and conceal the murder weapon. My only question is why did they do it?”

“At this stage there are only two people that can answer that. My guess is that we’ll find a complicated love triangle behind it all. It’s amazing how desirable someone can become when they have money.”

“So much for the romance of the railway then, sir.”

“Right again, Andy. Now, get typing. We need a warrant to search a terrace house up on Bennett Street.”

The survivor

In June 2013 the world lost one of its finest political thriller writers when at just 47 years of age, Vince Flynn succumbed to his three-year battle with prostate cancer. With his passing, like many thousands of Flynn’s fans, I feared we’d also seen the end of his all action protagonist, Mitch Rapp. Rapp, a highly trained CIA assassin and covert operative made his first appearance in Flynn’s second book, Transfer of Power, and grew to represent the very embodiment of a post 9-11 action hero over a lengthy and exciting thriller series.

When I heard that Kyle Mills had been selected to continue Flynn’s books I have to admit that I had mixed emotions. The thought of more novels featuring one of my all-time favourite action heroes was certainly appealing, but I couldn’t help but wonder if another author, even one as talented as Mills, would be able to stay true the Mich Rapp that I’d come to love over more than a decade. There was of course only one way to find out.

For those of you not familiar to Mills’ work there are some similarities, or parallels if you like, that he shares with Flynn. Both authors first published thrillers in 1997, with Mills initially writing a five book series featuring FBI agent, Mark Beamon before moving on to publish books featuring military plots, cutting edge science, and even corporate intrigue; topics that will have a very familiar ring for most Mitch Rapp fans. The strangest parallel though is in Mills’ direct link to Rapp himself. According to Kyle Mills’ bio his father was a real life FBI agent, who just happened to be that agency’s lead investigator on the terrorist attack that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. Now if you are at all a fan of Flynn’s series you’ll know that this is the very incident that lead Rapp to the CIA in the first place. The fact that his girlfriend was killed in this attack drove him to obsession, and resulted in him becoming the operative that he is. Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking, one is real life fact and the other just fiction, but could this strange twist be a sign that Mills is the right man for the job?

Having just finished reading The Survivor–the first of three Mitch Rapp thrillers that Mills has been contracted to write–I can say for certain that the right man is now firmly seated behind the word processor. Mills has managed to pick up exactly where Flynn left off, and if I didn’t know better I’d be hard pressed to tell that this latest Mitch Rapp installment wasn’t penned by Flynn himself. Are there some differences in style, well yes, but none that is so significant as to detract from the story. If anything, the moments of humor that Mills has worked into the book sit nicely in the plot, and his take on the characters, while mostly loyal to the originals, is fresh enough to breathe life into the series, and ensure that there will be many more missions for Mitch Rapp to come.

If you haven’t read any of Flynn’s books in the past I don’t suggest starting with this one. Rather go back and read the series from the beginning, I guarantee you’ll be just as hooked as I am. If like me however you’ve been hanging out for another fix of Mitch Rapp’s unique style of international diplomacy, jump right in; The Survivor is just what you’ve been waiting for.

The wait is over, you can read the full story here, tweat by tweat. The Victim is a short, sharp crime story that I tweated out, four tweats a day, at: 6am, 2pm, 6pm, and 10pm for the 31 days in 2014. I hope you enjoy, The Victim.

Liam Saville
Sydney, Australia

The Victim - Facebook Link Image - Now Tweeting

Sutherland Shire author, Liam Saville is set to publish his latest work of fiction in 140 character instalments on Twitter.

He has as written a short crime story called The Victim, which readers will be able to follow in bite-size chunks from Sunday, 24 August 2014.

There will be four tweets a day, and 125 tweets in total. The story follows a police investigation of a suspicious death in an inner city apartment. From Sunday readers will be able to find the story on Twitter under the hashtag #storybit, and via Liam Saville’s Twitter handle @lssaville .

The Victim - Facebook Link Image

With all the discussion that has been going on of late about the benefits of e-books vs traditionally printed books, and vice versa, I thought I’d try something a little different.

I’ve just finished work on a new short crime story, The Victim. It’s not related to anything I’ve written in the past, it has a new cast of characters, and I think you’re going to like it.

Yes, yes, I hear what you’re saying: “A new short story is great, but how is that different?”

Well, it’s different because of the way it’s going to be published. You see, The Victim isn’t going to be available as an e-book (at least not now anyway), nor is it going to be a printed book. I’m not going to ask you to buy it, or even download it. Instead I’m going to post it and give it away for free on Twitter. Yes, Twitter, that social media platform where every post, or tweet as they’re known, is limited to just 140 characters (that’s 140 including blank spaces mind you).

The Victim - Facebook Banner Image

Social media is a funny thing. Some people love it, while others hate it, but most of us make at least some use of it. As an author I find Twitter to be a great tool for connecting with a large number of people in a very short amount of time, but there are many other ways it can be used. Publishing short stories, or Short Twitter Tales, as I’ve decided to call mine is just one. It is however something different, and I think it could be fun. So, are you up for it?

Starting on Sunday, 24 August 2014, I’m going to post four tweets a day, one at 6:00am, one at 2:00pm, one at 6:00pm, and another at 10:00pm until the story is finished. (Times are AEST)

if you’re not already on Twitter I’d encourage you to sign up. At least until after you’ve read my story, as it is after all the only way you’re going to see it.

If you are new to Twitter you’ll need to know how to find my story amongst the avalanche of tweets that are out there. One way will be to find my profile and type my username @lssaville (yes there are two s’s in it) into the Twitter search bar, and then follow me. That way all my tweets will come up on your Twitter feed. If you’re like me however, you’re end up wanting to follow a whole bunch of other people, and when you do that your feed can get very busy. This is where the Hashtag # comes in. Each of my story tweets will be tagged with the hashtag #storybit. It is a hashtag that currently doesn’t get much use on Twitter, so type this into the twitter search and it should take you straight to the story. It really is quite simple, and even if you join in midway through the story you can use #storybit to find it and catch up, or after it’s all done, you will be able to read the story through from the start.

I hope you enjoy, The Victim.

Liam Saville
Sydney, Australia