Hello and welcome, my friends. Today I’d like to introduce author Ty Patterson. Please welcome him with your usual enthusiasm.
Ty Patterson will talk about his thriller, The Warrior. Read the description, some of the readers’ opinions, and then enjoy an excerpt from the book.
Ty discovered reading at an early age and the backs of cereal cartons were frequently part of his reading diet when nothing else was at hand.
Reading has held him in thrall ever since. Reading takes him to multi textured worlds and fills his world with visual imagery; all fuelled just by the power of the black word on a white page.
He uses his life experiences, of living in a couple of continents, of selling tea to street side stalls, to infuse his writing. And to take his readers on the same flights of visual imagination that his favourite authors take him on.
Ty is privileged that his wife and son shape their lives to accommodate his writing. They also humour his ridiculous belief that he is in charge.
Blurb: Zeb Carter is almost your average Private Military Contractor.
When working for a WDE (We Don’t Exist) Agency, Zeb witnesses a gruesome crime in the Congo and tracks the perpetrators down to New York. Only to discover that not only are they protected by the FBI, but also are closely connected to a very high profile politician.
Zeb can walk away from his hunt, or pursue with it and put those close to him in the sights of the killers.
A thriller that spans Congo and New York, The Warrior is dotted with gritty action, a central character that fuels imagination, and is also about the brotherhood of warriors.
This is what the readers think about The Warrior.
Excellent. There’s little I can say here that hasn’t already been written but “The Warrior” is a very intriguing read and very hard to put down. If you are a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books as I am, do yourself a favor and get a copy of “The Warrior.” You won’t be disappointed.
Awesome Thriller. I’m not much on reading thriller books but Patterson drew me in. It is well thought out, constructed, and keeps you intrigued to know what will happen.
Fast paced/Cool lead. I don’t normally read thrillers, but I was gifted a copy of The Warrior by Ty Patterson and I like to try new things, so I went for it. Glad I did.
A fast paced thriller. This novel is fast-paced, with a great cast of characters. The action-packed story kept me interested until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially those who love action and adventure. Looking forward to seeing what else this author has to offer.
He lies in the slow night, waiting, the tabla playing in his head.
The tabla, an instrument played widely in India has a small wooden drum, the sidda, and a larger metal one, the dagga. The sidda is played with the fingers and palm of the right hand and the dagga with the fingers, palm and wrist of the left hand. The black spot on the tabla determines its tone and consists of soot, metallic dusts, plant extracts. The exact manner of its creation has remained a secret for hundreds of years and is passed on from father to son of tabla makers in dusty parts of India. Its teaching too is passed from teacher to pupil with no formal instructions in existence.
All these facts flit through his mind subconsciously as he strokes the leather skin of the tabla and plays out taals in his mind.
He came to the village just as dusk has been settling in, and has become one with the rain forest. The mud huts with thatched roofs are just about a hundred meters away, so close that he can hear conversations in the huts, families eating, children crying, and women cooking. The village is split by a road going across it with huts almost evenly scattered on either side of it, about 200 of them in all. He knows from his reconnaissance file that there is a concrete structure in the middle of the village that serves as a communal school and youth center.
He observes the arrival of the soldiers close to midnight, about 40 of them in two trucks and an open topped Jeep, a few white skinned among them. He hears them banging through huts, the screams of women and children, sounds of violence, and the occasional shots. He has called Andrews on his satellite phone and relayed the goings on. Andrews has been categorical. He is not to go into the village. He is not to engage; he is to stay where he is, observe and record as much as possible. Andrews will call the Democratic Republic of Congo’s embassy in Washington as well as the US Embassy in the Congo and alert them to the incident. He will also call some media companies and get them to look into what’s happening. He is playing the teentaal in his mind on the tabla, when the trucks roar off; the screams and moans of the women and children subside, but by not much. He can see the front of the Jeep its body hidden by a hut. Ghostly shadows move between the huts occasionally. If sound could be blotted, it would be a lazy evening in the Congo.
Zeb is a Specialist, a Troubleshooter, a Private Military Contractor if you want to be nit-picky. In an earlier life he was with the US Special Forces. Some would say he is a mercenary. He is hired around the world for his skills in finding stuff. Stuff such as stolen nuclear war heads or terrorists. He is also hired for finding people. Hostages kidnapped for ransom, soldiers held prisoners in enemy territory, civilians held hostage by nutters, find anyone really. He has often acted as body guard, security consultant, or a protector. Sometimes he is hired to make people disappear. Bad people, roaches. Some call him an assassin. He knows he isn’t one, but can do that job better than the best assassins in the world. Labels don’t bother him. His job is a violent, high risk one. He wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.
Armed forces across the world hire him, as do police forces, national governments, Hollywood stars and billionaires.
His last assignment had been to retrieve a stolen Russian nuclear warhead. He had to work with the Agency as well as various covert government organizations in Europe, USA and Russia, infiltrate a few terrorist cells, and negotiate with the world’s most wanted arms dealers before locating the warhead in a mosque in Detroit. He had then called in the Agency, who had then called in a few WDE (We Don’t Exist) organizations to conduct a dawn raid on the mosque. He was part of the team that went in; it was his finger that pulled the trigger splattering the brains of two members of the cell.
He had flown to New York for his debrief at one of the several anonymous offices maintained or temporarily occupied by various Federal agencies. Andrews was waiting for him in the colorless office.
‘We have something else for you, if you are interested.’ That was Andrews. Very good at the small talk. ‘But first things first,’ continued Andrews, ‘Report?’
He wordlessly handed across his report to Andrews, who made a show of going through it. He had worked with Andrews for a long time, could easily read him. Andrews wasn’t really interested in his report. He would have been thoroughly debriefed by the WDE agents. Andrews was here to stoke his interest in the next assignment, whatever it was. He was bored of these games, but went along. Andrews was a first rate handler who gave him interesting assignments and just for that he could go along with his games. For a short while.
Andrews finally put the report down, drummed his fingers on the desk, looked at him, away and then back at him. ‘We might have a problem.’ Pause. ‘In the Congo.’ Andrews waits for his response. Realizing it could be a long wait, Andrews continues. ‘As you know the Democratic Republic of Congo has a UN Peace Keeping Force, which has not been particularly effective in keeping the peace. In fact it has been accused of not doing enough to keep out rebel troops, getting involved with drug and gold smuggling.’
Andrews waited for a response, got none and forged ahead. ‘But the UN Force is not what is troubling us. There are a bunch of military contractors out there, gone to train the DRC’s army. Six of them. The Agency has used them in the past but stopped dealing with them. Too brutal. Don’t play by the unwritten rules in our game. Multiple paymasters at the same time and some of those paymasters, the bad guys. That kind of stuff. Over the past few months there have been whispers of Western military contractors actively working with the other side, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, involved in all kinds of nasty stuff. And don’t even ask me why a force for the liberation of Rwanda is active in the DRC.’
He watched Andrews speak. ‘So?’ He asked once Andrews had finished. ‘The firetrucking thing is,’ Andrews in his inimitable style, ‘we don’t know whether those rogue contractors are the same we used in the past. The Agency has stopped dealing with them but it would be minefield territory if those chimpanzees are the same and it comes out that the Agency has associated with them. China is expanding its presence in Africa and we want to be seen as the good guys. We want you to go to the DRC and find out who those guys are what the frick they are doing. No action. Just investigate and report.’
Andrews waited for an explanation, got none, did his routine of looking away and back, and drummed his fingers. ‘Yes, I did think you would say something like that. Not challenging enough for you and all that. I want you to meet someone,’ and slipped out of the room. He can back a little while later with the Director. And then it became personal.
He has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a couple of months now under the guise of an aid worker for a charity. He has worked in remote villages and steadily moved his way from Kinshasa on the east to North and South Kivu on the west. He has travelled by train, boat, ridden carts and donkeys as he travels through the remotest villages. He has gone drinking with the Congolese, helped thatch huts, build schools, all the while keeping his ears open for gossip on foreign contractors. Information has been surprisingly easy to come by. The aid workers and the Congolese are all too happy to have someone to listen to them. Years of inhuman brutality need a willing listener. There are several mercenaries in the Congo. Some of them South African, some Belgian, British, many nationalities. He has met a few of them. Most of them have been hired for the protection of villages, close body protection of businessmen or politicians, protection of assets or security advice for various governments or businesses. He even talks to several contractors.
It’s in Kindu, almost in the center of the DRC that he first hears of a group of contractors who have gone to the other side. The Congolese who mention them are fearful and whisper about mass rape and these contractors in the same breath. ‘La mal personnes’ and ‘atrocities’ are phrases used by them, describing the contractors as evil, committing atrocities. Many Ngok and Primus beers over several days and he hears that the contractors and the FDLR soldiers they are associated with are now based near Lake Kivu near the border with Rwanda. After all it’s quite difficult for 6 white men to blend in with black soldiers so they get noticed. The Congolese talk about a band of black and white soldiers who capture mines, often killing several mine workers and then looting the mines. Artisanal and small scale mining is wide spread in the DRC and because of the small scale of operations; it is very easy for armed bands of men to hijack the mines. The FDLR soldiers and the white skinned contractors roam across the mines, taking them over and trade in gold, minerals, diamonds, ivory, coffee, drugs, anything that has value. They prey on the local villages for food and women. The DRC’s army and police is either incapable of dealing with this force or is unwilling. Or, more likely, is in collusion. The UN Peace Keeping Force is usually too late to the scene and stretched too thin.
On a few occasions he is lucky to meet victims who have suffered at the hands of this band of soldiers. They all speak of the ruthlessness of the soldiers both black and white. He records his conversations with the Congolese victims and pretty soon has a dossier of atrocity. A few victims have even identified the mercenaries from their Agency photographs he is carrying. He has decided to visit a few villages in North and South Kivu before making his way back to Kinshasa and then back to the US.
And so he lies on the outskirts of Luvungi one of the villages in the vicinity of Lake Kivu. This is the third village near Lake Kivu that he has surveilled. It’s been a couple of hours since the trucks left, the jeep is still there, and nothing has changed. He does not know how many soldiers have gone in the trucks or how many have been left behind. He knows these have been the FDLR soldiers since he recognizes their uniforms, or soldiers impersonating them.
Of course he is going in; it isn’t in him to be a passive spectator. Andrews can go firetruck himself. The rainforest comes almost to the edges of the village with plenty of foliage to give him cover. He decides to start with the hut on the extreme right and make his way to those on his left where the Jeep is standing.
He centers himself and drifts from shadow to shadow towards the perimeter of the village. Some of the huts are dark; some are lit from within by lamps, candle, or burning ovens, throwing a chiaroscuro on the ground outside the huts. No movement that he can see. He sidles round the side of the first hut and peers through the door, his body masked by the wall. Nothing. Something cooking on the oven but the hut is empty. The next hut is empty too, and so are the next ten. He goes to the next row of huts closer to the road. He can hear a woman wailing inside, another voice murmuring something. He peers inside. A woman is laying barely clothed on the mud floor, her mouth bleeding, forehead bleeding, with a wash of blood down her thighs. Another woman pressing a wet cloth to her head. He stills even more, his pulse slows, his mind going into the familiar grey fog where bad begets action.
The next hut is empty and after a quick glance he moves on. Something tugs at the edge of his vision; he goes back and takes a slow look inside. There, just near the oven something familiar and yet not. He goes closer and sees a small baby, maybe 6 months old, lying close to the fire, her hand outstretched towards the coals. He hunches down and put his ears against her chest. She is breathing. He moves her further from the fire and ghosts out.
The next hut a young girl raped, alone and unconscious, another hut an old woman beaten and bleeding, laying on the ground her clothes barely covering her body, moaning softly. She sees him with blank eyes not registering his presence. He crosses the road to the huts on the other side. The first hut he looks into has a young girl maybe seven years old lying on her side facing the door. The stench of blood and burning hair fills the hut. Her long hair is stretched behind her going into the oven. He scoops up the hair, kills the fire, kneels beside her. Her dark eyes look at him as she rolls on her back pliantly, thighs spread. Empty eyes saying nothing, her silence saying it all.
Looking down at her, Zeb allows the rage to blossom, unfurling from its tight core within, spreading through him, reaching out across his body to his extremities, making him the most efficient killing machine on earth. Those eyes are still staring at him as he leaves the hut.
Next hut, scuffling and grunting from within. White male nearly six feet, laying on top of a young girl his hand choking her. Sight is action, the blackness in him is lightning fast as he grabs the man by his collar, flings him back against the wall and pins him there. Jason Boulder, ex Delta, ex Iraq, Somalia and now here. Zeb recognizes him from Andrews’ dossier. Boulder looks at him in disbelief and is about to yell out when Zeb’s blade punctures his carotid. Zeb rolls the body on its belly to lie on its spurting blood, spreads a tattered blanker over it. All this in just a few seconds with the girl not fully comprehending what has happened. He slips out of the hut and pauses in the shadow of the hut to take stock. Still the same; women wailing, others consoling them, no one running in his direction, no bullets fired at him. No men of any kind.
He quickly checks all the other huts in that row and discovers more carnage, more blank eyes, but no other soldiers or mercenaries. It takes him another hour to go through all the huts on that side of the road before he heads towards the huts where the Jeep is parked. He reckons there must be about two hundred women beaten, raped, many of those young girls. His iPhone is nearly full of the pictures he has taken and he makes a mental note to transfer those to Andrews when he has a good connection.
He doesn’t know how many soldiers have stayed behind and whether the mercenaries he is seeking are here. The only clue he has is Boulder’s presence. The Jeep might have some answers.
The Jeep is parked on the central road in the village with four huts on either side of the road, in its immediate vicinity. All those huts are lit from within throwing the vehicle in sharp focus. He moves along the far row of huts, towards the driver’s side, keeping an eye on the Jeep and at the same time checking out the huts. In some of these huts he sees some men shot and dead. They account for the shots he has heard. Still, for a village of this size there should be more men about and their absence bothers him. Maybe they weren’t in the village when the trucks arrived or they were carted off in the trucks by the soldiers. He tucks this mystery at the back of his mind and concentrates on the Jeep and the huts in its immediate vicinity. After clearing the huts in his row, he lies prone on the ground in the deepest shadow and looks at the Jeep from the side of his eyes to see if he can detect any movement or any presence of people. He takes a risk and runs at a half crouch towards the Jeep keeping out of its windscreen’s sight line. The Jeep is a standard FDLR vehicle, battered but serviceable with its keys still in. He is tempted to pocket the keys but squelches the thought. Not knowing the strength of the soldiers left in the village, he doesn’t want to give his presence away.
He looks across the driver’s seat towards the other row. He thinks he hears some murmuring above the women’s anguish but he isn’t sure.
He crouches and runs towards the row of huts. The first of the four is empty. The next one has a woman facing the door and when he peeks his head through, her eyes widen and mouth opens. All she can feel is a rush of air as he flows across the hut, clamps his hand over her mouth, squeezes a pressure point on her carotid and renders her unconscious. He lays her in the dark shadows in the hut and moves on to the next. This is where he can hear the murmuring louder. He goes around the rectangular hut to see if he can peer through any crack in the wall but there is none. The hut has two windows on the two opposite walls, peering through them would throw the light on his face.
Over the years of working as a PMC with the Agency, he has amassed exotic gadgets from shoe heel cameras to bug sized remote controlled robots. He unsheathes a meter long slender cable from the leg of his fatigues. One end of the cable has a USB plug in and the other end a self-focusing 20 Megapixel camera. The camera plugs into his iPhone and draws its power from the phone. He plugs the cable camera into his iPhone, loops the camera through a corner of the window and watches its feed on his phone.
Two white males, one with his back to the door the other sideways, are squatting beside an almost naked woman. She is still and he can’t detect if she is unconscious or dead or just lying still. The men are counting something and one of them is stuffing what looks to be gravel and large pebbles into pouches, and then packing those away into a duffel bag. The other is making notes in a dirty folder. He turns the camera 360 to get a full view of the hut. Nothing, no one else in the hut.
He slips the camera out and sheaths it back on his fatigues. He goes to the back of the hut and slips across to the last one to recce it. It is empty though showing signs of being ransacked. Clothing strewn across the floor, the meager utensils scattered across the hut.
He has to go in to see if these two are part of the Rogue 6, see if that woman is alive. He also wants some answers to what happened in the village. No camouflage, no way to get in stealthily, so he just slips inside the door, moves to its side and stands with his back to the wall. Sideways is still counting when he feels the weight of Zeb’s stare and looks up. His face goes slack with astonishment and then blurts, ‘Who the fuck are you dude?’ Zeb gives him impassive. He recognizes Sideways. Conley Stark, 35, ex Rangers, served twice in Iraq, likes knives, dishonorable discharge for raping a woman. Stark makes another attempt, ‘Qui etes-vous?’ Zeb has never believed in pleasantries. Backside now turns around to see what the fuss is about. Brink Schulte, ex Rangers, served with Conley in Iraq. ‘Who the hell is the dumbfuck Con?’
‘Whoever he is and he’s certainly dumb, will be pretty soon dead.’
Zeb calm, allowing his presence to fill the room. This will end in only one way. Stark limbers up smoothly and a FS- MK II knife appears in his right hand. Brink pauses from his book keeping to watch Con take out the intruder. He loves a good fight and Con is the best he has seen with a knife. The book keeping can wait for a few minutes. Or maybe not… The intruder moves from still to attack in a nanosecond, a blindingly silent high leap from standing. His left leg takes out Con’s knife arm. Brink can hear the bone snap, even as his right leg collapses Con’s throat. Zero to dead in less than a second Brink thinks dimly as the intruder lands smoothly and faces him. Not a glance to Con who is in his death throes.
Even as Zeb launched his Kalari Payattu strike on Con, he is aware a third had entered the room, uttered something in astonishment, grabbed the duffel back lying near Brink and escaped out. Once Stark is out of the equation he turns his gaze on Schulte. Answers. Schulte has them. Zeb wants them. Schulte will give them. He hasn’t a choice.
A long hour later Zeb comes out of the hut. The Jeep is gone, presumably taken by Holt. It was he who had come into the room during the fight. Carsten Holt. Unofficial leader of the Rogue 6. Rogue 3, he corrects himself. Ex-Seal, used by the Agency for wet work, expert in close protection work and explosives. Quit the army to go freelance and earned a reputation for not being particular how he earned his money. Now running a mine hijacking and mineral trading racket in the Congo. The Agency had him on a watch list for some time and was in the process of blacklisting him and his closest associates when Congo happened. The surviving two with Holt are Quink Jones and Pieter Mendes. Both of them Ex Rangers.
He powers up his satellite phone and wakes up Andrews. Over 200 women raped, some of them young girls, some children and infants killed, by about 40 FDLR soldiers and 6 Agency mercenaries. The Rogue 6 headed by Holt were involved in mine capturing, smuggling of drugs, ivory, gold copper and cobalt. Many of the villagers in the DRC who worked in the mines, had a private stash of the ore which they used to trade and it was in search of such homes that Holt and his band had come to Luvungi for. The men in the village had been working in the mines and yet to return when Holt and the soldiers had arrived. Cobalt ore and pebbles were what Stark and Schulte were weighing and recording when Zeb had rudely interrupted them and helped them on their way to their Maker. Rape and killing was part of instilling fear and cooperation. Schulte knew that Holt was working with someone in the States for mine capturing and selling the minerals but did not know who that was.
Andrews goes Chernobyl, his tirade lasting a good few minutes, burning the air. Andrews calms down a long while later. ‘You have to come back immediately. We need you to meet the UN and depose. You are the first eye witness account of this horrific… this atrocious… this sickening… whatever one calls it.’
Zeb is silent.
‘I know you want to track Holt, but that can wait. I guess Schulte, Stark and Boulder are in no position to embarrass the Agency?’ Andrews, knowing fully well what the answer is. Zeb doesn’t answer.
‘You should come back immediately. Once the news breaks out that FDLR soldiers and some mercenaries who seem to be American were involved in mass and multiple rapes in the Congo, the shit will not just hit the fan, it will create a mushroom cloud over Washington and the New York. The White House will be brown. I need you back with your photographs and your record of the events to prevent collateral damage here. Your being there, we could spin it that you helped stopped the most horrific abuse in Africa in history. I can see the headlines now.’
Collateral damage. Andrews speak for covering his and the Director’s ass and playing the D.C. game.
‘I know you want to track Holt, Jones and Mendes, but this is more important than them. I will put them on an international black list and get international warrants issued on them. In any case Holt and the other two have left and will likely disappear now that you have located them.’
‘I just realized there is another reason for you to return immediately. Given what has happened, the villagers there may not be able to distinguish you from the rogue soldiers. Tempers are no doubt going to be high there for some time. I also don’t want to explain your presence to the authorities there right now, even if you are guised as an aid worker. You are not exactly unknown to some intelligence agencies around the world. It’s best you disappear from there.’
Zeb looks back at the hut which has the girl with the vacant eyes and makes his mind up. Holt is on a countdown. He just does not know it.
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