Execution of Duty.

MarkerMarker Posts: 99MI6 Agent


An unusual set of circumstances led me to penning three espionage books. Set in WW2 and interweaving factual events with fiction, they provided me with a passage through some very dark times. The first book ‘An Ungentlemanly Act’ introduced the reader to the main character and the British assassination and sabotage bureau he works for. The second ‘Execution of Duty’ (which is my personal favourite) followed directly on where the first left off and ditto with the third ‘Clear For Action’. I wasn’t happy with ‘Clear For Action’ so unpublished it and have left it sitting on my hard drive ever since – though I still harbour plans to release it as a novella.  

Much to my surprise, the first book did particularly well, reaching high into the top ten of best sellers (in its Amazon category) in both the UK and US. I had planned to write five in total and went as far as creating the plot outlines for the final two but they never came to fruition.

Both ‘An Ungentlemanly Act’ and ‘Execution of Duty’ are free to read on Amazon if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (and possibly Amazon Prime?)

  Anyway, here’s the first/last lines of the bumph followed by a few extracts from ‘Execution of Duty’’. I’ll be adding others as and when. Please note that, for some unknown reason, breaks in the text become double-spaced when copy/pasted to AJB




Harry Flynn is back, and he's more dangerous than ever.....Spring 1942. Despite the United States’ entry into the war, things are still going badly for the British. They find themselves facing serious reverses on many fronts and are stretched almost beyond breaking point. In the cold waters of the North Atlantic, a battle is raging upon which the fate of Great Britain will be decided...

 

Flynn soon finds himself dispatched to New York and propelled once more into mortal danger. The gravity of the situation dictates that there can be no margin of error. If he is to protect British merchant shipping against the infamous U-boat wolf packs, Flynn must succeed against an enemy every inch as dangerous as the Nazis – the New York mob!

Author of 'An Ungentlemanly Act' and 'Execution of Duty'. The WW2 espionage series starring Harry Flynn.

Comments

  • MarkerMarker Posts: 99MI6 Agent

    From the chapter ‘Sphere of Influence’.


    The flight had been delayed so, almost an hour and a half behind schedule, the DC3 swept into land at La Guardia airport. There was rain in the breeze and the leaden sky forecast more as Flynn and the rest of the passengers disembarked and crossed to the terminal building for the brisk formalities of customs and immigration. 

      Flynn was relieved to have finally arrived at his destination. Oh, how he hated flying and these past few days had been full of it....

     

      As he stepped out of the landplane administration building, Flynn cast his eye about the car parking area opposite. He was on the lookout for the black Lincoln Zephyr coupé. He knew the licence number and was aware it was being driven by his BSC contact.

      He quickly spotted his target. It was parked just off to his half left at the leading edge of the front row of parked vehicles. There was a man leaning casually with his back against the driver’s door and one foot propped on the running board.

      After cutting through the line of taxis that were disgorging or picking up passengers from the kerbside, Flynn made his approach.

      The man had seen him by now and stiffened slightly as he recognised the stranger. He looked around thirty years of age. He was shorter than Flynn - about six foot - and wearing a smartly pressed heavyweight grey herringbone three-piece suit,  a white shirt and a black tie. A white pocket fold was protruding from the breast pocket and the wide brimmed dark grey fedora was worn so its brim came down just above his eyes.

      He was smoking a cigarette which he dropped then stubbed out with his shoe as Flynn closed. He was good looking and, upon first impression, appeared to have an air of arrogance about him, as if he had somehow let the fact that he would have no trouble attracting ladies go to his head.

      “Flynn?” He opened, extending his hand.

       “Yes.” Flynn replied, accepting the invitation. Pressing palms, Flynn was immediately aware that this fellow possessed soft hands, administrator’s hands.

        “My name’s Greene, Terence of that ilk. I’m a representative of our mutual friends at the Rockefeller Centre.” His accent was clipped, typical English upper-class. “Throw your case in the trunk and we’ll be off.”

      Greene climbed behind the wheel. Flynn followed his instruction and deposited his case before making for the passenger door....


      After the Zephyr had joined the central parkway, Flynn got his first proper view of the Manhattan skyline. He had fallen in love with New York upon his first visit and always looked forward to time spent there. That familiar feeling of excitement and anticipation at being here in this great city once again began to well up in the back of his throat.

      Flynn could make out the familiar outline of the Empire State Building, standing needle like among a forest of other skyscrapers and was cheered by it. It felt to him as if he was being greeted by an old friend.

      By now the clouds had broken, bathing the city in early spring sunshine which, to Flynn, was yet another unspoken signal of welcome....

     

    Later on in the same chapter, Flynn visits a Three-Point Gang (the Irish/American crime syndicate who he’s up against) owned nightclub called ‘Boo Boo’s’.


     Flynn paused on the bottom step to take stock of his surroundings. Boo Boo’s was exactly as he remembered. It was a sea of maroon and gilt, fashioned in a mock Baroque style of the designer’s own imagination which left the place looking vaguely like some third rate Hollywood movie set.

      It was illuminated by elaborate wall and ceiling lights which, while throwing enough light into areas of the club which the owners would have the patrons concentrate upon - the bar, dance floor and stage - the remaining areas were in shade, for possibly no other reason than to disguise the fact that, upon detailed inspection, those same areas appeared rather shabby.

      Into the centre of the far wall was set a small stage, just large enough to accommodate the eight-piece band and a few performers. Directly in front of the stage was the dance floor, which itself was contained on three sides by tables. In the back corner - to the left of the room as one entered - was an alcove, a small raised area which was home to another half dozen or so tables. This section of the room was flanked by cheap looking plaster columns and swagged maroon velvet curtains then cordoned off with gilt rope. The area was the preserve of VIP’s, with a small sign atop a slender brass pole pronouncing that entry was by invitation only. 

      The place was crowded, but the burble of conversation from the tables was lost beneath the noise of the band, who were pushing out a tight rendition of ‘You Made Me Love You’ accompanied by an attractive blonde singer in a low cut pink satin gown who, Flynn opined, was making a good and equally suggestive job of caressing the microphone as she performed.

      The dance floor was a crush of movement as couples circumnavigated the space in time to the music. A haze of cigarette smoke hung like a blanket over the scene, so thick in fact that it was enough to obscure much of the ceiling from detailed view and even diffuse the lights....


      The night’s entertainment had continued throughout this time, with music and dancing and several appearances from Boo Boo’s own dance troupe. The six girls had taken to the dance floor at regular intervals in increasingly risqué outfits to give well-oiled interpretations of various popular tunes rendered by the house band, high kicking their way through each routine in a flurry of sequins and feathers. Their performances were a treat for the audience, and in particular all the red-blooded males, who clapped enthusiastically each time they appeared.

      Flynn had seen her on the end of the line as the dancers first took to the floor, and she looked every inch as lovely as he remembered. She was slightly built, about five feet three tall, and the curves of her toned physique were barely concealed beneath the tight gold costume. Her legs flashed tantalisingly against the tassels which made up the short skirt section of the outfit as she shimmied and kicked in time to the music.

      It was late so Flynn guessed that this was their last spot. Leaving the stage to rapturous applause, Flynn saw her searching among the crowd until her gaze fell upon him. She half smiled then was gone through the door at the side of the stage.... 

     

      “Harry Flynn!”

      Flynn stood up to greet her as she approached. He drew the chair away from the table and offered it to her. She sat down then Flynn took to his own seat.

      “Gem Stone.” He said, looking into her eyes. Gemma Stonello was even more beautiful at close quarter. She was of Italian stock, and traditionally attractive in typical Latin fashion. She had no need for makeup and she knew it, applying lipstick and powder in a most frugal manner. Her hazel eyes were wide and doe like, yet backlit with a fire that spoke of a temperament which was never far from the boil. Her nose was a study in classical perfection and the mouth - that oh so kissable mouth - was full and inviting. Her long auburn hair was set in a fashionable barrel curl ponytail that drew it away from the slender neck. Around her neck she was wearing a thin gold chain with a small crucifix which glinted softly as it caught the light, complimenting the wonderful olive tone of her skin as it rested tantalisingly at the beginning of her cleavage.

      She had changed out of her dance costume and was wearing a navy blue polka dot dress with a low sweetheart neckline and elbow length sleeves trimmed in white, with a slim white fabric belt which accentuated her waistline perfectly.

      “It’s been a long time.” She opened, with a typical New York drawl which told its own story of too much of a fondness for cigarettes.

      “Too long.” Flynn replied as he waved over the waiter. Pressing the twenty dollars into his expectant palm, he continued. “Would you like a drink, Gem?”....

    Author of 'An Ungentlemanly Act' and 'Execution of Duty'. The WW2 espionage series starring Harry Flynn.

  • MarkerMarker Posts: 99MI6 Agent

    Just for your collective information the BSC (British Security Coordination) was a real unit, set up by MI6 in 1940. It was based at the Rockefeller Centre.

    Author of 'An Ungentlemanly Act' and 'Execution of Duty'. The WW2 espionage series starring Harry Flynn.

  • MarkerMarker Posts: 99MI6 Agent

    A bit niche I know, but I always made a point of coming up with what I consider good titles and I'd take a long time mulling over the possibilities. The chapter titles were even more important. Here in 'Execution of Duty' they were as follows:


    One…A Certain Alacrity

    Two…A Measure of Violence

    Three…Sphere of Influence

    Four…All Necessary Means

    Five…Nothing Remains But To Fight

    Six…He Died The Death He Deserved

    Seven…Countermeasures


    This next extract is from 'Al Necessary Means'. When Writing the book I wanted one chapter which was end-to-end action. I'm not going to give the context as it fits into the storyline but suffice to say, after a violent encounter with some Five-Point gang members at one of the gang's facilities in Coney Island, Flynn is being pursued along the boardwalk:


    .... The crowd was endless, stretching for as far as he could see along the boardwalk, and as thick as bramble all the way. 

      He ran the length of the slot machine parlours, chancing a look behind as he went. The men were still there, but had closed a little and were now only about twenty yards away. Bastards! They’d be on him before long! Bloody suitcase! It was like an anchor! 

      Ducking left into an open entrance way, Flynn suddenly found himself inside a fairground. The place was a tangle of people from the gates on in and a blur of light and sounds washed over everything as if to further confuse the scene. A carousel and half a hundred other attractions whirled and spun and flashed, the movements quite hypnotic in their effect. The noise of a fairground organ lapped noisily about the place, so loud that it almost overwhelmed the fireworks. The babble of the crowd and the shrieks and laughter of those enjoying the pleasures of the rides mingled with the noise to create a single slab of sound.

      Flynn was still at the sprint and quickly made to lose himself among the whirligig of activity before his pursuers had chance to follow.

      Once ensconced within the nearest gaggle of tourists, Flynn halted then looked back toward the entrance. The four men were already there and had stopped on the threshold to engage in a hurried conversation. A pointed finger from one of them sent one man walking briskly left, another to the right while the finger pointer made his way in Flynn’s general direction. It was obvious they had lost sight of him so were splitting up to search the place. Flynn noticed that one man stayed behind to guard the entrance, which told him there must only be one way in and out. 

      Flynn turned and made his way deeper into the funfair, shouldering his way through the crowd. He needed to get rid of this bloody suitcase, as it stood he may as well be carrying a big sign saying ‘I AM HERE’. If he could find somewhere to safely stash the case, somewhere it wouldn’t be found until it was retrieved by himself of one of the BSC men, then he would take himself off the back foot. Until then  he was simply marking himself to those who were hunting him and would most likely be unable to react quickly enough should he be compromised.

      He stopped once more and then turned to make a visual sweep of the area. Just as he had managed to disappear among the crowd, so had his pursuers. They were out there somewhere, closing on him from three sides but he could now not see them.

      Among the head and shoulders perspective which was the only point of reference open to them, those doing the chasing would be looking for a tall man wearing a black newsboy cap. Flynn took off the cap and stuffed it inside his coat. 

      He continued to weave his way through the crowd until he happened upon the gaggle of sideshows which occupied the edge of the park. Announcers were reeling in the tourists with various cries of ‘Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! If you hurry, you’ll see the show!’ and people were eagerly handing over their twenty-five cents to see ‘the fattest man in the world’, the ‘bearded lady’, the ‘pinhead people’ and all the other curious sights on offer. 

      With a rising sense of dread, Flynn realised that if he continued on his present course he would corral himself into one corner of the park, thus making it easier for the enemy to find him. Now more than ever, he concluded, he needed to outwit his pursuers. 

      Turning sharply, Flynn had his hand in his pocket and passed over a few coins to the ticket man standing in front of an entrance over which a sign declared ‘THE HOT SPOT. The Best Girl Show in the World!’ in intricate three-foot high gold and red letters. The announcer was calling to the crowd “Step right up! We’ve got oriental dancers! We’ve got exotic dancers! We’ve got a little lady who does the dance of temptation! We’ve got the fastest stepping show on the whole of Coney Island!”

      Flynn hardly registered what was being said, he was too focused on his gamble that the men looking for him would perhaps confine their activities to the open areas of the funfair, meaning he could hide within this place until they had passed him by. He would then return to the entrance. The last mobster would be waiting for him, but now alone. If he couldn’t pass unseen, Flynn determined to draw the man into giving chase then, as soon as practicable, he would kill or otherwise incapacitate him.

      He passed through the curtained entrance. Inside, the place was quite dimly lit, except where a row of lights had been angled to shine onto some sort of low catwalk which ran from front to back for almost the length of the room. The space either side of this platform was packed with men, each eagerly taking in the show. A man at the rear of the hall was playing a badly tuned piano and it was to the accompaniment of this music that the dancers performed. They appeared one by one; each dressed in exotic outfits which were little more than a sparse collection of feathers and lace, to parade along to the end of the catwalk and back before disappearing behind a faded velvet curtain.

     The display of flesh was enough to whip the audience into enthusiastic applause, but made it difficult for the girls to hear the music so, even had they any notion of actually dancing, they were largely unable to.

      Flynn pushed himself in at the back of the crowd, keeping one eye on the entrance lest any of the mobsters made a sudden appearance.

      Was there anywhere he could stash the case? The catwalk seemed a likely hiding place, until he realised that the sides were boarded with plywood. What about behind the piano? It was angled in the corner and if he could place it, the case would go unseen. A closer inspection led Flynn to conclude that there was no way he could get into position without the pianist spotting what he was up to.

      “Bloody case!” Flynn muttered to himself. 

      Just then, Flynn’s eyes fell upon a lone figure. It was framing the doorway about ten yards distant. Despite Flynn’s attempt to hide the man had already seen him and was beginning to move briskly in his direction.

      Flynn recognised the man immediately as one of the four who were chasing him. Under the lights Flynn could see he was the very essence of every gangster cliché. He was about 5’10” and stockily built, wearing a dark blue double-breasted suit with a white shirt and matching tie. The wide brimmed fedora was set at an angle which allowed Flynn to fleetingly study the face. The eyes were merciless and their expression of hate had now spread across the rest of his face. The face itself looked as if it had seen more than its fair share of punishment and, aside from the badly broken nose, a prominent scar ran from his left cheekbone almost to the point of his chin. He was a Five Point gang thug alright.

      Flynn guessed he would be carrying a variety of nasty little weapons about his person which he would have no hesitation in deploying. Glancing down at the man’s hands for evidence of a knife or cut-throat razor, Flynn was taken aback that he had seemingly no regard for his surroundings or potential witnesses, for he could clearly make out the snub nosed revolver clamped in his right hand.

       The firecrackers were still exploding overhead but in here, the sound of a shot could not be disguised. Flynn guessed that if he so desired, the thug could shoot before melting away into the confusion of a panicked crowd and the look on his face told Flynn that he would have no hesitation in doing so.

      Flynn placed the suitcase down at his side then half raised his hands in resignation. The man’s eyes were still boring into him as he closed to within arm’s length.

      “Okay, you son of a bitch!” He spat, his voice like gravel. “Get the case and walk to the entrance. I’ll be right behind you all the way and if you make one false move I’ll put a slug straight into your liver.”

    “What is it you say?” Flynn replied in German, shrugging his shoulders in bemusement. “I don’t understand. I don’t speak English.”

      Flynn had taken the man for what he was, an oaf, and was gambling that his reply was enough to throw the thug momentarily off balance and draw him closer.

     “The case!” The thug snarled, nodding toward it as he took a step forward. “Pick it up, then walk!” Flynn felt the barrel of the gun jabbing into his stomach.

      In a blur of movement which caught the mobster completely by surprise, Flynn’s arms came down. His right hand grabbing at the man’s wrist, while his left took hold of the pistol. Immediately pulling the gun, he had it turned away before the thug could react. BANG! Flynn didn’t know where the shot went but it missed him. Vaguely, he heard the clatter of the revolver as it fell to the ground. In that same instant Flynn’s knee was up, stabbing hard into the man’s testicles. Staggering backwards, the mobster doubled up, his face an explosion of pain. Without hesitation, Flynn was on him, chopping hard at the back of his neck twice in rapid succession as he crumpled earthward.

      It was only then that Flynn registered gasps and shrieks from those about him. Some among the audience, stunned by the proximity of the gunshot, had seen what was happening and were looking on open mouthed.

      The music stopped and out of the corner of his eye Flynn saw the flurry of feathers as the dancing girls ran screaming toward the curtain.

      In the same instant as the lifeless body hit the floor, Flynn kicked the revolver away and produced his police badge. He flashed it to those spectating before grabbing for the case and pushing his way through the crowd towards the door. Looking back he saw a couple of people bending over the body; presumably they were still unsure of what exactly had happened and perhaps intended to render aid, but Flynn coldly opined that they were too late.... 

     

    Author of 'An Ungentlemanly Act' and 'Execution of Duty'. The WW2 espionage series starring Harry Flynn.

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