The JACK CASTLE series...
'JACK CASTLE was born in England's Lake District, the eldest son of two doctors. He attended Edinburgh University until his 21st birthday, when the sudden death of his parents changed his mindset, and he joined the British Army.
After twenty years of service, and achieving the rank of Captain with the SAS, he left the military for the lucrative world of Private Security. Jack eventually took over the company and built it into a successful, worldwide entity.
His brother, Mathew, works for British Intelligence and from time to time solicits Jack's help, on the more sensitive international missions.
Jack lives in Berkshire with his wife Nicole and their twin daughters.
PICNIC IN IRAQ: A close-knit group of friends find an Iraqi map. They are joined by a glamorous war correspondent and travel the length of Iraq, following the original Knights Templar route in search of a treasure of unimaginable wealth. Encounters with the American security forces, Iraqi bandits and Islamic State do not deter them from their quest. From the desperate city of Baghdad they follow the Tigris River south, through the searing heat of the Iraqi desert and into Kuwait. Their journey culminates on the fabulously opulent Orel Island in the Arabian Gulf.
The huge steel door swung silently open revealing a long narrow room, ten metres by fifty. The polished steel floor shimmered in the soft blue glow of the concealed lighting and the air was pleasantly chilled by a silent a/c system.
Cellophane-wrapped bundles of bank notes were neatly stacked onto chrome shelving which ran the length of both side walls. A long central raised platform held piles of gold and platinum ingots in clear plastic cases. At the end of the vault was a row of polished steel cupboards.
The Iraqi colonel looked into the vault and nodded slowly, a sinister smile on his tanned face, his dark eyes wide in expectation. He turned and slapped the expensively dressed Kuwaiti hard across his face, almost knocking him off his feet. The man held his composure and stood upright, his shoulders back in defiance as a trickle of blood ran from the corner of his bottom lip. He took the white handkerchief from his breast pocket and dabbed at the wound. The colonel made a sweeping, almost polite gesture with his hand, inviting the man to enter the room, the sinister smile ever present.
The pair slowly walked the length of the room and stopped in front of the steel cupboards. Again the colonel offered the feigned polite hand gesture, directing the Kuwaiti to unlock the doors. The man took a Chubb key from his waistcoat pocket and dutifully moved along the row, unlocking each in turn.
The Kuwaiti stood back, his head upright, his defiant stance resumed and continued dabbing at his lip. The colonel stepped forward and opened the nearest cupboard as concealed lighting illuminated the interior. Twenty shallow Perspex drawers filled the cupboard from top to bottom. He slid open a drawer to reveal dozens of small white paper packets. Removing one, he carefully opened the tiny bundle. His thick black moustache twitched as his sinister smile widened into a huge grin.
TO CATCH A FOX: ‘The Fox’ is second in command of ISIL, the brains behind its international reign of terror. MI6 discovers a plot to extract revenge on Jack Castle & his friends, for the killing of The Fox’s sons in Iraq. A daring plan to thwart the plot and disrupt ISIL’s international expansion is hatched. Jack is in harm’s way and is captured by ISIL. Can Tom Hillman and the rest of Jack’s friends rescue him and capture The Fox? From the opulent Orel Island in the Gulf, to the heat of the Syrian desert, the rescue mission begins.
Dimitri Mikhailovich Orlov sat at the big desk that once belonged to Winston Churchill. Reflecting on the nights events, he couldn’t believe what had happened. How was it possible? He was a multibillionaire, Russian oligarch and yet his daughter had just been kidnapped, from his own private island. They had captured one of the kidnappers, but the other two had escaped with his beautiful Nicole. He pressed a concealed button on the underside of the desk and silently a small secret draw slid open. Removing the revolver, he felt the weight in his hand, as he considered his next actions. Dimitri’s two armed guards had taken Farad, to the maintenance building at the rear of the island. The young Arab kidnapper had soiled himself during the interrogation and now sat in a chair, still wearing the urine-soaked undershorts and T-shirt. Dimitri’s men stood as their boss entered the room. The kidnapper looked afraid, but defiant, as Dimitri approached him, gun in hand. The chromed revolver glinted in the fluorescent lights, as he raised it to the head of the trembling man. ‘Your friends took my, daughter. Whether she lives or dies, will no longer matter to you. You will die tonight.’ He pulled the hammer back, cocking the powerful handgun, as Farad’s eyes caught his. He’s not afraid to die, thought Dimitri and lowered the weapon from the shaking man’s head. He turned to his men, ‘Take him as far out to sea as you can. Then throw him over the side. If he dies or lives, it will be his God who decides. Just make sure you go far enough out, so the latter does not happen.’
BREAKFAST IN BEIRUT: A kilo of Plutonium has fallen into the hands of Vini Shahadi, the most notorious arms dealer in the Middle East. MI6 despatch Jack Castle to Beirut to find the dealer and recover the deadly material, but Jack is not the only one after Shahadi. And who is the beautiful Farida Mancini? Is she the key to finding the elusive Shahadi before he can sell the Plutonium?
Tahir Suri had worked as an engineer at the Chasma Nuclear Power Station since it went online in 2000. The plant, the first of five in Punjab province, provided electricity for over half a million homes in the northern region of Pakistan.
Tahir, a husband and father of six young sons was dying of bowel cancer. His life with his family had been a modest one and his salary, though much bigger than most in Pakistan, did not enable him to save for the future of his loved ones. His condition was terminal and he knew he would not see out the summer. The stranger had offered him a way to provide for his family, a way for them to be kept in comfort and security for the rest of their lives. The money promised was more than enough for a new home, enough to send all his sons to university, perhaps even to send them to Europe. It had not been easy for him to remove the material and he knew he was taking the greatest risk, but why not, the risk was worth the reward for his beloved family. He was lead- shift engineer in the plant and he was able to conceal the material in a small lead lined case, which fitted snugly into his rucksack. Even in the cool of the evening, he sweated profusely as he walked through the last security gate and out to the car park. He found his old Nissan and placed the bag in the boot, then drove slowly out of the worker’s parking area and onto the main road north. The drive to meet the stranger would take a little over an hour. He was tired after the long shift and the pain in his stomach was making him nauseous, but he did not stop. It was dark when he arrived at the mouth of the Pashtun Valley. He pulled over next to the old travellers’ shelter, got out of the car and stretched the muscles in his back. Taking a battered thermos flask from the glove box, he poured some of the contents into the cup. From a small plastic container he removed two capsules and washed the medication down with cold tea. As he replaced the thermos he was startled for a second by the headlights of an approaching vehicle.
‘Salam Alaikum, Tahir,’ said the stranger.
‘Alaikum Salam,’ he replied as he went to the boot of the old Nissan.
‘You have done well my friend,’ said the stranger, ‘and you have secured the future of your family.
‘Inshallah,’ said Tahir, as he handed the rucksack to the man, ‘You have the other half of my money, sir?’
‘Yes yes, I have your money my friend. It’s in my car.’
The stranger carefully concealed the bag in the boot of his vehicle and then turned back to Tahir. A single gunshot echoed up the Pashtun Valley, as the bullet entered the engineer’s forehead.
THE HOLLOW PRESIDENT: General Alexander Stonewall Mason is now President Elect but Jack Castle has discovered Mason’s dark secret. Now only Castle stands between Mason and the Presidency. Is there enough time to uncover the truth and prove the most powerful man in the world is a thief and murderer?
East of Kabul, the watery sunlight sparkled on the snow-covered peaks of the Paghman Mountains. At the controls of the C130 aircraft, Captain Mark Waterman spoke into the mic, ‘Hercules-901, Bagram control, request permission to take-off.’
‘Bagram control, Hercules-901, you are clear for take-off on Romeo-Two.’
‘Thank you, Bagram.’
The four engines purred as the big cargo plane lumbered onto the end of the runway. Waterman pushed the throttles to maximum and felt the control column shudder as the huge turbines roared into life. As the aircraft left the tarmac, the captain pulled hard back on the controls and banked to the south in a steady climb over the mountains that surrounded the ancient city.
The small fire had kept the man’s hands warm and fingers nimble. Through powerful binoculars he’d watched the plane move to the runway and climb into the clear morning sky. He’d prepared the weapon and checked it several times while waiting for the Hercules to leave the airbase. He lifted the cumbersome launcher to his shoulder and braced himself as the aircraft headed towards his position. His breath swirled around his head as he exhaled, then his finger gently squeezed the trigger.
The rocket shot skyward, the vapour trail white in its wake, screaming towards the target.
‘Incoming! Incoming!’ yelled Waterman.
The co-pilot fired the counter measures but it was too late. The ground-to-air missile struck between the first and second engines and the wing, loaded with fuel, added to the explosion.
The man eased the heavy launcher from his shoulder and watched as the huge fireball engulfed the doomed aircraft.
AMERICAN RONIN: An ex-CIA assassin is recruited by North Korea to release a weapon of mass destruction, but what is the target, Washington, London, or Mecca? Only the killer knows where and when the deadly virus will be released.
MI6 dispatch Jack Castle to track down the rogue agent and prevent the unthinkable from happening. With thousands of lives at stake, will Jack stop the madman in time?
A fast moving international thriller that begins in Panama and culminates in Istanbul.
The floor was cold beneath his bare feet and the air-conditioning made his naked body shiver slightly. The other two men in the room looked on disinterested as a third snapped away with a large camera.
‘Turn around,’ said the cameraman.
He did as instructed and listened to the click of the shutter as the photographer took more pictures of his body.
‘Okay, that’s it. You can get dressed.’
On the table was a small pile of new clothes, under-shorts, cotton slacks, a T-shirt and a pair of light canvas shoes. The photographer checked the camera, nodded to the other men and left the room.
‘Move your ass, 716,’ said the bigger of the two men.
‘Where am I going?’
‘Just get dressed.’
He looked at the big man as he pulled on the slacks. ‘Taking pictures of me to show I have no cuts, bruises or scars. You’re taking me back to the States.’
The shorter of the two spoke. ‘Just get dressed, you fucking traitor.’
After putting on the T-shirt he smirked, then held out his hands.
‘That’s right, 716,’ said the big man, as he clipped on the handcuffs, ‘you’re going back.’
716 smirked, as a cloth hood was pulled over his head.
POSEIDON'S RANSOM. HMS Poseidon, the Royal Navy’s newest submarine is hijacked. An elite team of terrorist now control this deadly warship.
Can the hijackers be stopped before they release Poseidon’s missiles? Will the British Government pay the 3 billion ransom?
Or will they destroy the most powerful nuclear submarine every built?
It felt as though his face was on fire. The pain was unbelievable. The surgeon, reputedly the best in the Far East, had explained the procedures and outlined the issues during the post-op period. But Greg Stoneham had not expected anything as painful as this. The morphine helped a lot. But he was concerned he may become dependent and chose to bear the pain as much as possible, taking short periods of relief from the effective opiate.
The clinic in Manilla was expensive, in fact, probably the most expensive in the world. The one-and-a-half million dollar procedure he’d selected was full facial reconstruction. Drastic, costly, but necessary. The alternative was to spend the rest of his life living in the shadows. Not an option. Greg Stoneham, rogue CIA agent, now contract terrorist, had to disappear.
A team of three surgeons had taken slivers of bone from his pelvis and laminated his cheekbones. The same procedure altered his jawline and chin. The insertion of small pellets of gel, changed the look of his eyebrows, and his broken nose had been straightened and rebuilt. The scar across his head was removed and the old leg injury, sustained in a helicopter crash in Panama, had been corrected. The leg, now in ankle-to-thigh plaster, would not have a limp.
His head and shoulders were encased in a state-of-the-art cocoon, giving total protection against infection, during the critical, forty-eight hour, post-op period. Full recuperation would last seven to eight weeks, during which time a complete hair transplant would be done.
As the pain level in his face increased, Stoneham pressed the button to release the welcome hit of morphine. The nurse at his bedside stood up and checked the various drips running into his arms. As she sat down she thought she saw her patient smile.
He pressed the button again. The pain in his face subsided to a dull ache, as his thoughts flashed to the future. Greg Stoneham is gone. There is no Stoneham. In a few weeks’ time Mr Michael Washington will take his place.
What has the death of an American Interpol agent to do with the Destabilisation of Europe?
Conspiracy theory, master plan, or fake news? Only the Head of the Dragon knows.
Can Jack Castle & Lisa Reynard discover the truth, or is it all too late?
SILK ROADS, is an international thriller, that takes the reader on a head spinning journey. From Marseille to Hong Kong, this fast paced adventure culminates in Paris, and will have Jack Castle fans reading till sunrise . . .
Marseille Cargo Docks, Midnight
The stench as the shipping container door creaked open was overwhelming. Sweat, urine and faeces, mixed with a fourth . . . the rank odour of despair.
The 40 foot container had been fitted out to accommodate forty souls. Slim bunks, not much wider than a shelf and stacked three high, lined the walls. Two oil drums, cut in half and fixed in the corners of the metal box, served as makeshift lavatories. The only light and ventilation, once the watertight doors were closed, came from a dozen six-inch square holes cut along the roof.
The cargo ship Venetia had departed the Albanian port of Durrës over four days ago. Now unloaded and on the Marseilles quayside the container doors had, mercifully for the occupants, been hauled open.
The men on the dock yelled, ‘Out. Out. Everybody out,’ as the wretched cargo shuffled from the dark interior.
Dehydrated, hungry and afraid, they whimpered past the man with the clipboard. On the back of their right hands a number had been scrawled in felt-tip pen. Mr Clipboard noted each number as the dishevelled line of women clambered weakly into the waiting trucks.
A young girl, no more than seventeen or eighteen made a dash for it. Running from the vehicles, away towards a row of darkened warehouses. The other women looked on hopefully as she made her break for freedom. They were surprised none of the men pursued her.
As she reached the first warehouse a looming figure stepped from the shadows. The blow to her stomach, from the heavy baton, knocked the wind from her lungs. She fell to the ground moaning.
The man waited as she gulped in the salty night air, then hauled her to her feet. As he dragged her back to the trucks the tears rolled down her filthy cheeks.
With the last of the women loaded, four men entered the stinking container. To the right of the door were two large wooden packing cases. The heavy loads were manhandled out and onto a small van. Mr Clipboard nodded to the driver and the van pulled away. Next, he spoke quietly to each of the truck drivers, then watched as the human cargo was driven from the quay and into the dark Mediterranean night.
The bodies looked to be sleeping. The man on his back, his arm around her. The woman, close against him, her head on his chest in a romantic embrace. They looked serene and peaceful. There were no signs of a struggle. No visible wounds evident.
Inspector Sabine Ludore stood at the window and watched the riverboat sail slowly along the Seine towards Île de la Cité. At forty-two, she was a brilliant detective. Her early career had been spent in the French Police Service but now, and for the last five years, she held the position of Inspector with Interpol.
‘Death occurred no more than forty-eight hours ago, Inspector. Rigor mortis is still evident,’ said the Crime Scene Investigator.
Ludore turned from the window as the first raindrops hit the glass. ‘Cause of death?’
‘They appear to have died in their sleep, so I would say poison, madame. I’ll let you know as soon as possible.’
The woman looked at the couple for several seconds, then turned to the CSI. ‘Good. Thank you, Pascal.’
The flash made her blink as the other CSI snapped away with his big camera. She left the room and slowly made her way down the elegant staircase. At the bottom she removed the latex gloves, overshoes and blue paper coverall, dropping them into the container. The police officer in the hallway stood to attention and nodded. ‘Madame.’
Outside, three police cars their lights still flashing, cast a blue haze across the classic frontage of the old building. Sabine waited under the portico as a couple of vehicles passed, then rushed across the rain-soaked street and into her BMW.
Shaking her head, she flicked the raindrops from her short hair, then took out her phone. For several moments she held the phone, her mind racing. She stared through the blurred windscreen and gazed at the brightly illuminated Notre-Dame, half a mile away. She sighed heavily, then swiped the screen.
It was early evening in Washington when Lisa Reynard’s phone beeped.
‘Lisa, hi. It’s Sabine.’
‘Ah, hello, Sabine. How are you? You have news?’
‘Not good I’m afraid, darling.’
The line was silent for several seconds . . . Ludore could hear her friend take a deep breath.
‘I’m so sorry, Lisa. We’ve found your sister Michelle . . . She’s dead.’