Dead Shot

Dead Shot

4.2 85
by Jack Coughlin, Donald A. Davis
     
 

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In this follow-up to the highly successful Kill Zone, former Marine sniper Kyle Swanson faces his most deadly enemy yet, a legendary enemy sniper working with a fringe Islamic organization that has created a terrifying new weapon of mass destruction

In Baghdad's Green Zone, an Iraqi scientist is murdered just

Overview

In this follow-up to the highly successful Kill Zone, former Marine sniper Kyle Swanson faces his most deadly enemy yet, a legendary enemy sniper working with a fringe Islamic organization that has created a terrifying new weapon of mass destruction

In Baghdad's Green Zone, an Iraqi scientist is murdered just before he is to reveal the monstrous secret that Saddam Hussein took to his grave: the Palace of Death, home to a chemical weapon that Islamic militants quietly have been developing and whose formula is nearly complete. The assassination is the work of a mysterious sniper called Juba, who was originally trained by the British but now works with a twisted mastermind determined to wrest leadership of the terrorist world from Al Qaeda.
Kyle Swanson, once the top sniper in the Marine Corps, has become the key member in a secret special operations team known as Task Force Trident. When Juba tests the new weapon by killing hundreds of people at a British royal wedding in London, Swanson is assigned to hunt down his old special ops rival.
The birth of a new reign of global terror can be stopped only by a confrontation between the two best snipers in the world, a duel in which the first shot wins. Usually.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Former Gunnery Sergeant Coughlin teams up with Davis to offer yet another wartime novel that thrills with its realistic depictions of combat. Sgt. Kyle Swanson has returned to duty, emerging from undercover to stop a terrorist group that possess a weapon so deadly it threatens the entire planet. Scott Sowers steps into Swanson's boots and delivers a gritty and intense reading. More than merely doing justice to the earnest narrative, Sowers fully inhabits his role, and his performance is riveting. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 12). (Mar.)

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From the Publisher
"Scott Sowers steps into Swanson's boots and delivers a gritty and intense reading. More than merely doing justice to the earnest narrative, Sowers fully inhabits his role, and his performance is riveting."—Publishers Weekly

"The new writing team of Coughlin and Davis offers a gripping account that is sure to enthrall listeners with its authentic approach and suspenseful plot twists.... Capturing the urgency of the story through his terse, unwavering tone, Sowers breathes life into the characters and credibly delivers the heart pounding action."— AudioFile on Kill Zone, winner of the Earphones Award for Truly Exceptional Presentation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429962131
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/03/2009
Series:
Kyle Swanson Sniper Novels , #2
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
28,402
File size:
703 KB

Read an Excerpt


THE GREEN ZONE

BAGHDAD, IRAQ

It was just a matter of waiting. Juba was good at waiting. Patience was an important tool for him, as it is for all snipers. The Iraqi desert sun baked and parched him, but his soul remained calm, soothed by the instructions of his two fathers and the sure knowledge that the hunt was on. Once again, he was the sword of the Prophet. God is great! he whispered, feeling guilty for breaking his oath and speaking the words of praise.

He had been in the hole for three days, shaded only by a few bushes during the hottest part of the blistering afternoons. He let his face and neck become sunburned and measured his rations carefully, eating and drinking only enough to survive. The last chocolates from his field rations had been eaten, and he had intentionally drained the last water from his canteens the previous day. He was hungry, and thirst clawed at his throat. Good.

Throughout the time in the hide, he had heard sporadic traffic passing unseen only fifty meters away and the occasional boom of an explosion somewhere down the track. Each morning an American patrol rolled past, clouds of dust following the big vehicles. He could have gotten help anytime he wanted it. Didn’t want it.

On the fourth morning, the sun was up and the temperature was climbing when he saw the faraway dust clouds kicked up by the oncoming patrol. No wonder they were so easy to ambush. He crawled from the hide, brushed away the signs of his stay by brooming the area with a bush, and staggered to the road. The vehicles now could be seen with the naked eye, which meant they could see him, too, a wobbling soldier alone in the desert.

He held up his hands as if in surrender to the first Bradley Fighting Vehicle that approached, with its .50 caliber machine gun trained on him. Then he collapsed. A lieutenant of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division instantly recognized the disruptive pattern camouflage uniform and weathered beret worn by the British soldier and jumped down to help. They pulled him into the shade of the big vehicle.

Sweat caked the dusty face and dirt clung to the filthy uniform, and when they started pouring some water into his mouth, he greedily grabbed for the canteen. The American pulled it back. "Easy, pal. Just a little bit at a time. You’re gonna be okay." He offered another sip. A medic smoothed a wet salve on the sunburned face, neck, and hands. Juba slowly responded in a British accent, haltingly explaining that his sniper team had been discovered a week ago and his spotter killed in the ensuing fight. The Englishman had evaded the searching insurgents, found this road before dawn today, and walked next to it since then, hoping that a friendly force would spot him before the insurgents did. The Americans were unaware that his uniform and the rifle hanging from his shoulder had been stripped from a British soldier he had killed outside of Basra.

Juba was able to stand unaided by the time a helicopter arrived, and he thanked the American soldiers and climbed into the bird. Within thirty minutes, it delivered him to the landing pad of a military hospital inside the Green Zone of Baghdad. A stretcher team met him, but he waved them off, and they led him into a cool corridor, then into a big room where other soldiers lay on cots. A nurse helped him remove his tunic and stuck a needle into his arm to start a slow drip of hydrating fluids. He had been outside in the heat for so long that the fresh liquid going directly into his veins, plus the air-conditioning, caused a deep and instant chill, and he began to shake as if he were freezing. The nurse recognized the reaction as normal and wrapped a blanket around his shoulders as a doctor came over to check him. Exhaustion, sunburn, and dehydration, but no wounds. Juba lay back on the cot, enjoying the brief rest and the air-conditioning.

As the IV drip was finishing, a courteous U.S. intelligence captain came to his cot, having already notified British commanders that their man had been rescued. "They thought you were dead," said the captain, settling into a chair. He thought the guy looked like hell. "So what happened out there, Sergeant?"

The officer took a few notes as Juba repeated his tale of a mission gone wrong. "Sorry about your buddy," the American said and put away the notebook. "Bad shit."

"Part of the job, mate." Juba sighed and leaned back on the green sheet of the metal-framed cot.

"Your instructions are to rest up and then return to your unit as soon as medically fit," said the captain.

The busy doctor in uniform came by just long enough to look him over for a final time and remove the needle. "I’ve signed your discharge slip, Sergeant. You’re going to be fine except for a few aches and pains and that sunburn. Drink a lot of water and have some chow. Here’s some ointment for the burn, and if you need more, just come by the pharmacy. You want something to help you sleep tonight?" "No, sir. I’ve dealt with worse than this."

"Okay, then. You’re free to leave. Good luck."

The intel officer was still there. "Come on with me, soldier, and I’ll take you over to the mess hall, then give you a chit for a bed tonight in the guest quarters. Your orders from British HQ are to rest up and then report back to your unit. Meanwhile, you’re a guest of Uncle Sam." Juba pushed himself from the cot, acting wobbly, then drew himself erect and stretched, turning side to side. The body was lean and muscular. He put on his tunic. "Thank you, sir, but I plan something a little more upscale. I’m going to get a hotel room, raid the minibar, take a long shower, get some decent food, and then sleep for two days." "I hear ya," said the officer. "I’ve got everything I need. Stay safe." He waved Juba through the door. The sniper ducked into a bathroom, locked himself into a stall, dropped his trousers to retrieve some documents from a plastic bag that had been tucked just above his right boot, and put them in his shirt pocket. He came out, signed for his rifle at the makeshift armory, and left the hospital. Back on the hunt. Closer than before.

He took his time crossing the military areas of the Green Zone as he made his way over to the new Nineveh Hotel, a five-star, four-hundredroom edifice that offered safety, opulence, an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool, a gourmet restaurant, and other luxury conveniences to foreign visitors, diplomats, and business executives. The gleaming signature spire and a communication array on the roof made it the tallest building in Baghdad.

Despite the outward appearances of commerce, Baghdad remained a military town, and it was not thought strange at all when Juba unfolded the papers that he had carried in the plastic bag and handed them to the concierge of the Nineveh. The documents allowed him to commandeer the corner suite on the twelfth floor for an unspecified "military necessity," the code that unlocked any door in the city. The civilian led him to the suite and joked during the elevator ride about how things were improving. Soft music played in the background.

Juba thanked him, locked the door, and dumped his gear and clothes. He showered, shaved, cleaned his uniform, and put it back on. He snatched three pillows from the bed, piled them on the small dining table in the center of the suite, and stacked his pack atop them to provide a solid support for the long rifle. Crawling on his knees, then his stomach, he moved to the sliding glass door that led onto the balcony and pushed it open by a narrow six inches. Then he wiggled back about seven feet and stood in the shadows of the room, overlooking the neat front garden with lawns of grass that was irrigated to a deep lush green.

Juba lifted his L115A1 long-range rifle, made by Accuracy International UK, the standard weapon of a British sniper. It fired a .338 Lapua Magnum round that was accurate up to 1,100 meters, and it had a Killflash silencer on the muzzle and a bipod. He had zeroed the weapon two days ago and was confident it would hold enough for the task today. From his position, he could see the outside world, but no one on the ground could see him.

Juba had exchanged the standard Schmidt & Bender PM II telescopic sight for the better Zeiss version used by the Germans, and he peered through it to examine the foot traffic along the pathways. A wolf eyeing a flock of sheep. The people below seemed startlingly close through the clear optics. The first potential target to stroll through his kill zone was a civilian wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and tan trousers. Too easy: a foreign contractor who meant nothing, and killing Americans was not his mission today. It had to be the man with the secret. Sooner or later, he would come along, if the intelligence was correct. Juba would wait. He knew how to wait.

He put down the rifle, sat in a soft chair, and flipped through the English-language newspaper that had been delivered free to the hotel room and checked the football scores to see if Manchester United had won. He sipped chilled water from a plastic bottle. Scorching outside air oozed through the slightly opened door and did battle with the room’s buzzing air conditioner. The flat-screen color television set mounted in the wall was on, and he adjusted the volume slightly to the loud side. News readers rattled on about next week’s royal wedding in London, elevating the event steadily so that by Tuesday, the marriage of the prince and his girlfriend would be considered the most important thing in the world. Millions of people would watch. As a British subject, he vividly remembered the legends of the glory days of the monarchy, lessons that had been pounded into him as a student and later as a soldier defending the Crown. He planned to be there for the wedding.

Juba was slightly under six feet in height and slender at 170 pounds, with the fair hair of his British mother and the dark eyes of his Arab father. His skin was several shades darker than the normal Briton, more of a nice California tan that had been darkened even more by his work in the desert. It helped him move with ease in the twilight gulf between Christians and Muslims. Juba could be anybody he wanted to be, and for the past few days, he had again chosen the familiar role of a British Army sniper. It was his best disguise, because he once had been awarded the coveted sniper’s patch of two crossed rifles with an S between the barrels.

After reading the sports in the newspaper, he put his eye back to the scope and considered the next possible target, an approaching soldier who, despite the midday heat, wore a helmet and a flak jacket. This had once been the safest place in Iraq, the International Zone, home of the giant U.S. Embassy. It once had been known as the Green Zone, and although bureaucrats changed the name to better claim that the war was the effort of many nations, the Green Zone name stuck. Juba was tempted by the soldier, for he always enjoyed the challenge of placing a bullet in the small gaps of the armored vests or between the ceramic plates. Not the mission: Let him pass.

An hour before sundown, four soldiers in full armor appeared, moving in a box formation as they escorted a smaller man toward the Coalition Headquarters building where the first formal interrogation was to take place. The soldier on the left front corner was talking and making sharp, descriptive motions with one hand, probably an officer directing the prisoner transfer. Except that the man was not a prisoner, more a valuable guest of the Coalition. He had arrived yesterday in Baghdad, with the secret locked in his head. The Iraqi physicist planned to hand the information to the Americans and the British officials, but he had made too many mistakes in escaping from the laboratory in Iran. The biggest error was in trusting his coworkers, who were able to provide almost a minute-by-minute schedule for the defector. Then Juba had been summoned.

The traitor could not be allowed to reach the interrogation room alive. Juba pressed his cheek into the cool stock, his fingers roving with familiarity over the rifle to make sure it was ready. They were three hundred yards away, and he checked the flags on the government building. He estimated the wind at seven to ten miles per hour full value, right to left, which would move the fired round two inches to the left at two hundred yards. He adjusted the scope to compensate. Humidity was zero.

He settled the scope on the officer and looked for a weakness. The waving arm! The officer was describing something, and his right arm windmilled to make his point. Juba exhaled and let his heartbeat slow almost to nothing. Under the arm, that’s the place.

At two hundred yards, almost point-blank range, he squeezed the trigger back, slow and steady and straight, just as the American raised his arm above shoulder level. The big rifle fired, and the Killflash ate up the noise as the bullet entered beneath the right armpit of the officer, smashed down through the rib cage and exited out of his lower left side, crushing bones and shredding every organ in its path. The officer died before anyone could reach out to help him.

Juba accepted the light recoil and cycled another round into the chamber as the startled group stopped in its tracks. He brought his scope to the small man in the middle. They had heard nothing, but the colonel had just been shot! The soldiers spun around, looking for the threat but leaving the target uncovered. The Iraqi automatically bent down, turning to aid the fallen American. That exposed the left rear side of his neck, and Juba centered the crosshairs right there and pulled the trigger again. He was able to see the vapor trail of the bullet, which impacted right below the base of the skull and ripped out the throat when it came out the other side. Two catastrophic kills.

Juba put aside the rifle, ducked down to the floor, crawled forward, and reached up to slowly close the door to the outside patio. He went back, retrieved his kit and the rifle, tossed the pillows back onto the bed, and left the room.

He increased his pace through the lobby and hurried outside with other armed soldiers and civilian private security company guards who were moving into the attack area. A Quick Reaction Force would arrive within minutes, and uniformed men would be all over the place, with all sorts of weapons pointing everywhere, and Juba would be just another soldier with a gun. He made his way through the crowd and walked out of the Green Zone unmolested.

That evening, a small Royal Jordanian Airlines Fokker plane took off on schedule from the Baghdad International Airport. On its manifest was a quiet Canadian civilian engineer with fair hair and dark eyes.

Juba was going to London.

The secret that Saddam Hussein had taken to his grave remained safe. The Palace of Death was secure.

Excerpted from Dead Shot by Jack Coughlin.

Copyright © 2009 by Jack Coughlin.

Published in March 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin was the Marine Corps' highest ranked sniper in the Iraq War. He served with the the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines during the drive to Baghdad and has operated on a wide range of assignments in hot spots around the world. He is co-author of the Kyle Swanson Sniper Novels, and of his autobiography, Shooter.

Donald A. Davis is the author of Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor, and numerous other books, including several New York Times bestsellers. He lives outside Boulder, Colorado.


Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin's autobiography, Shooter, describes his experiences as the top-ranked marine sniper in the Iraq War. Coughlin is also the author, with Donald A. Davis, of the Kyle Swanson Sniper Novels Kill Zone, Dead Shot, Clean Kill, and An Act of Treason. Coughlin grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts, and joined the Marines when he was 19. He served with the Marines during the drive to Baghdad and has operated on a wide range of assignments in hot spots around the world.
Donald A. Davis is co-author of New York Times bestseller Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper and author of Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor. He lives outside Boulder, Colorado.

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Dead Shot 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the sequel to "Kill Zone", "Dead shot", a sniper named Kyle Swanson, with the aid of the special-ops unit Task Force Trident try to save the world from a new WMD. Swanson is "dead" by all accounts and records, and now serves the military as a secret weapon that cannot be touched by the law. Juba, a British trained sniper who secretly serves under al Qaeda, is now trying to get the WMD into use. After Juba tests the weapon at a British royal wedding, it becomes Swanson's top priority to neutralize Juba and the WMD. All of which leads up to a climactic ending which leaves the reader without many loose ends that need to be answered. This novel is a good read for a rainy day and provides the reader with hours of enjoyment. The reader should be warned though, that this book does contain a lot of violence which may make it less appealing to some. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it immerses the reader into the mindset of a sniper. The only real negative comment about this book was that some of the parts of the plot were unbelievable. Not having read "Kill Zone", a lot of information was lost about the history of some of the characters, so I recommend that anyone interested should read "Kill Zone" first. I give this book a 4.5/5 as it was a great read that consistently held my interest, but did become a little hard to believe in parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not my first book by this team. It makes me glad that Jack Coughlin was and is on our team. We need more like him. His matter of fact approach to a world totally foreign to the majority of the United States and in fact the majority of the world is at once comfortable and disturbing. It is a fact that we live in a volatile and violent world and just knowing that there are individuals out there who are willing and able to protect not only us but our interests in world peace is greatly appreciated. My twelve year old grandson asked if he could read Mr. Coughlin's first book, Shooter, and my answer was decidedly yes. I look forward to new adventures and would recommend this book to anyone seeking a 'good read'.
Buddy Boylen More than 1 year ago
This book is as action packed as it can get! Can't wait to read the other two!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book after my boyfriend and I must say that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The characters are believable, the story caught my attention and had me cheering for the good guys and waiting for the bad guys to get their due.
sdl More than 1 year ago
Unrealistic plot, lots of sub-plots and explanations that don't fit with the original plot. As a former military member I was disappointed. There are way to many non-fiction sniper books out there to spend your time reading this fictitious garbage. Save your money. Look elsewhere for a good book.
Brian_Baker More than 1 year ago
In the sequel to last year's exciting "Kill Zone", former US Marine master sniper Kyle Swanson has recovered from his injuries and now functions as the President's secret weapon in the war against America's enemies, in this case a psychotic Islamic assassin and former sniper code-named Juba. Juba's a formidable foe, as he's undergone the same training as Swanson, and is bent on unleashing a new and terrifying chemical WMD against the Western world to enrich himself while assuaging his own psychotic obsessions. To defeat him, Swanson must penetrate the defenses of radical Islam, in Iran and Europe, as well as in the United States itself. Fast-paced, tightly plotted, with engaging and memorable characters, authors Coughlin and Davis prove that "Kill Zone" was no flash in the pan. Kyle Swanson's a hero for the 21st Century in the mold of Mitch Rapp and Bob Lee Swagger. This is a terrific novel. I eagerly await the next installment.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written. I've purchased 4 so far and plan on many more in the series. Very believable, technically sound, fast paced, well researched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An OK read, but erred a little too much on the super-hero side to be a credible yarn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole Kyle Swanson Sniper series is very exciting to read. Id recommend this series to anyone who like excitment and adventure
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Book. Enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very deep and good read from beginning.
kgailf More than 1 year ago
This was a good read. Fast paced and fun.
saxmanOH More than 1 year ago
Well written. Very suspenseful. I enjoyed this book very much. My only criticism ....way too much use of the f... word. Aside from that, I would highly reccommend this book as it was hard to put down.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great way to take realism and add in a bit of fiction. Book was a great story that kept me glued to every page. As a former soldier it was as real as it could get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rate this book as a 6 on a 0 to 10 scale with 10 being outstanding. The plot is believable and interesting. It seems to be pertinent to today's environment with terrorists and new weapons which are a threat. It is not written with the skills of a Baldacci or a Grishham but is good enough to be a fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting and realistic. The bad guys get their due!