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24 Declassified: Operation Hell Gate

24 Declassified: Operation Hell Gate

4.3 21
by Marc Cerasini

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Within twenty-four hours a nightmare will be unleashed that could cause the death of untold millions and devastate a great nation. It's a plot being carried out by the unlikeliest of allies. A powerful mole within the deepest reaches of U.S. Intelligence has secretly conscripted the very criminals he's been charged with investigating -- former IRA terrorists,


Within twenty-four hours a nightmare will be unleashed that could cause the death of untold millions and devastate a great nation. It's a plot being carried out by the unlikeliest of allies. A powerful mole within the deepest reaches of U.S. Intelligence has secretly conscripted the very criminals he's been charged with investigating -- former IRA terrorists, Latino and Asian gang members, Middle Eastern assassins and others -- creating one of the most insidious terrorist networks law enforcement has yet to take down.

One man stands between the destroyers and the death tide: Jack Bauer, lone wolf operative for America's brand-new elite Counter Terrorist Unit. But he's three thousand miles from the CTU command center without backup in a strange city, New York. He's been artfully set up and is being hunted by the FBI for the murder of two of its agents. And time's almost up . . .

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HarperCollins Publishers
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24 Declassified
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24 Declassified: Operation Hell Gate

By Marc Cerasini

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Marc Cerasini
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060842245

Chapter One

9 P.M. AND 10 P.M.

9:04:52 P.M. EDT
The sky over Queens, New York

The steady drone of the jet engines suddenly changed pitch. Jack opened his eyes, instantly alert, surprised he'd slept at all. He sat in an airline seat next to Dante Arete, the fugitive still chained to his arm by a pair of nickel-plated steel bracelets. Two federal marshals sat across the aisle, in another cluster of chairs. The younger marshal's seat was back, he slept mouth open and gently snored. The older man -- perhaps forty -- was awake, though hardly alert as he sipped bottled water and leafed through a dog-eared copy of Sports Illustrated.

As for Special Agent Frank Hensley, there was no sign. He'd entered a separate compartment shortly after they'd lifted off from LAX and hadn't reappeared since. Jack suspected there was a bunk in the forward compartment, and Hensley had taken advantage of the hours to get some sleep.

Hensley reminded Bauer of an army, safely ensconced in a fortified town surrounded by the enemy. Instead of waiting for the inevitable attack, an aggressive commander would dispatch pickets to prick his foe into premature action. Hensley's barbs -- fired at Jack, at CTU, even at Ryan Chappelle -- seemed to be timed to divert attention from the psychological defenses Frank Hensley had erected to keep the world at bay.

Jack sat up and stretched as much as the handcuff on his wrist would allow. Then he looked around. The FBI aircraft was not laid out like a commercial airliner. There were no rows of airline seats, only clusters -- about a dozen in all. Some chairs were set around affixed tables, others were placed along the fuselage, near the windows. There were no air stewards, either. They'd been replaced by a stocked refrigerator, a coffeemaker, and a microwave oven.

Jack glanced at his watch, already set to Eastern Daylight Time. He discovered he'd slept for nearly thirty-five minutes -- the longest interval of rest he'd had in the last fifteen hours. Bauer leaned forward, rubbed his face. Then he checked on his prisoner. Dante Arete had curled up into a ball and had fallen fast asleep as soon as the FBI aircraft was off the ground and the "fasten seatbelt" lights went dark. Jack shook him awake, and Arete immediately demanded to go to the bathroom. Still cuffed together, Jack escorted the prisoner to the head, then used it himself. Even in the tight confines of the restroom, the two men did not exchange a word.

When they returned to the cabin, Jack was surprised to find Hensley had reemerged. The FBI agent sat at one of the tables with the two Federal marshals, who had roused themselves into a semblance of vigilance. Hensley looked up when Bauer and his prisoner entered, then went back to punching data into his PDA. The wall, Jack noted, was still in place. Either Hensley was the most professional law enforcement agent he'd ever met -- or something else was going on behind his half-lidded eyes.

"Strap in. We're landing in five minutes." Hensley commanded, wand poised over the tiny PDA screen.

Jack pushed Arete into a seat near a window, then strapped his prisoner down. After his own belt was fastened, he gazed out the window. Far below, Jack could see the winking lights of the Borough of Queens spread out before him, a muted golden glow against a purple-black evening sky. Jack's stomach lurched as the aircraft dipped sharply, then leveled off as it began its final approach. A high-pitched whine, then a thump, signaled the deployment of the landing gear. The flaps dropped and the aircraft slowed drastically.

Jack watched out of the corner of his eye as Hensley unsnapped his seatbelt and stood up to stretch. The marshals ignored him, gazing out the window or straight ahead. Hensley turned his back to the others, reached into his jacket to carefully tuck the PDA into his suit pocket. When his hand came out again, it was clutching a Glock 19, the semi-compact version of the standard 9mm recoil-operated composite handgun, undetectable to weapons scanners. In one smooth motion Hensley disengaged the safety, cocked the striker. Then he turned and pointed the weapon at the larger of the two marshals.

The man saw the Glock, and his mouth opened in surprise. Then the noise of a gunshot reverberated throughout the cabin. The dead marshal jerked spasmodically as the back of his head blew out, but the safety belt kept him erect in the chair. Gore splattered the beige plastic panel behind the corpse, splashed to the floor in thick black drops.

Shocked, the other marshal stared up at Hensley while Jack reached for his P228. Bauer had just slipped his own gun free of its holster when Dante Arete punched him full in the face with his free hand. Jack reeled when he felt the hot sting on his jaw. The SigSauer flew from his hand and bounced across the floor. Bauer felt Arete's hands groping for his throat -- ineffectively because of the handcuffs that hobbled his movement. As Arete continued trying to strangle Jack, Bauer released his safety belt, pushed himself out of the seat, and slammed the heel of his hand under Arete's jaw. The man's head snapped backward.

Meanwhile, with a bored expression on his face, Hensley shot the second marshal in the forehead before the young man could even draw his service revolver. Then he swung around to train his weapon on Jack Bauer -- only to find the CTU agent hiding behind Dante Arete's body, his arm locked around the helpless prisoner's throat. With a muttered curse, Hensley dropped the Glock on his empty chair, drew his own FBI service revolver, and aimed it at the two men.

"Don't shoot, man," Dante Arete whined, free arm extended to ward off destruction. "Don't fucking shoot me."


Excerpted from 24 Declassified: Operation Hell Gate by Marc Cerasini Copyright © 2005 by Marc Cerasini.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marc Cerasini's writing credits include The Complete Idiot's Guide to U.S. Special Ops Forces and Heroes: U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor Winners and several projects for Tom Clancy, including creating the bible for the Clancy Power Play series, writing the YA action/adventure thriller The Ultimate Escape for Clancy's NetForce series, and writing a major essay on Clancy's contribution to the technothriller genre for the national bestseller The Tom Clancy Companion. Among the movie tie-in novelizations Marc has written are Wolverine: Weapon X, based on the popular X-Men series, the USA Today bestseller AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, based on the motion picture from 20th Century Fox, as well as five original novels based on the Toho Studios classic "Godzilla," and co-authored (with J.D. Lees) a nonfiction look at the film series, The Official Godzilla Compendium. Marc's other credits include the book 24: The House Special Subcommittee Investigation of CTU, which he co-authored with his wife, Alice Alfonsi, and the previous 24 Declassified novels Operation Hell Gate, Trojan Horse, and Vanishing Point.

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24 Declassified: Operation Hell Gate 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 15 years old and I love the show 24 so when I heard that there were books I obviously had to read them. This book is so freakin' awesome. Mark Cerasini portrays Jack Bauer and all the other characters very well. I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes the show 24 or simply enjoys action!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ran in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Safehouse if you are ever in trouble
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Guest More than 1 year ago
What a way to start off a series of books about one of the most intense shows on television! It was great to see the story take place in another location besides LA. Cerasini has definately got the 24 formula right. Reading his books are just like watching the show.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the series so when I heard there were books I had to get them. I really injoyed Operation Hell Gate. There was plenty of supense and action just like the tv series. Jack and the other characters are discribed well along with the suroundings they are in. There is one thing different about the book. The sense of time in the tv series is better because each episode is about an hour long, but in the books they can be just a few pages. Overall, the book is worth reading. I've got three other 24 books and can't wait to read them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a HUGE fan of 24, when I found the novel series, I didn't think twice about purchasing Operation Hell gate. Jack Bauer does it again, delivering the cunning, and explosive action 24 fans have come to know and expect. Ofcourse there are some characters we are unfamiliar with because it takes place before season 1, but it adds to all the drama. This one was a winner! I can't wait for the next one which is on the way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If You love 24, by all means BUY THIS BOOK!!! just when you think you figure out the plot, the author throws you a curveball, just like the writers of the series. great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel based off the hit FOX show 24. I'm not gonna rehash the plot, since there is already a description here. Operation Hell Gate takes place prior to the first season, so therefore most of the characters in the book are no longer on the show besides Jack and Tony. The novel written by Marc Cerasini is very well done, but nowhere near the level of any of the 4 seasons. I'm not sure what non-24 fans will make of it, but fans will love it. It was interesting having characters like Nina still around, but I would have rather the novel set sometime later with characters such as Michelle. At times the novel seems a bit dumbed down, but overall it's a really great read. If you are a fan of 24 read the book. The chapters are an hour in the day keeping the real time angle, and each chapter is only about 10 pages or so making it an easy and fast read. Operation Hell Gate isn't on par with the show, but again a great read for fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could not put book down. Its a live read from start to finish. Its action packed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The headline says it all. Its not nearly as good as the show, the real time seems to be less for accuracy and more concept (I'm not 100% sure, but I think that certain things that were supposed to overlap occurred at different times). That's not really an important point but it did confuse me a bit. The action is good, with the suspense we all expect from our dear Bauer. Overall good, not the best book I've ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I were writing a book about heart surgery, I would consult a heart surgeon for technical accuracy. The author (Mark Cerasini) likes to describe in detail the weapons the characters are using, and how they are using them. This would be excellent if he knew what he was talking about. He makes a ridiculous comment that one of the characters pulls out a Glock 19, disengages the safety, and pulls back the striker. Glocks have no external safety and they do not have hammers to pull back. This is a ridiculous oversight that would have taken 30 seconds of research to correct. Also, he claims that a Glock is undetectable to airline security since it is a polymer frame gun. This claim is more ridiculous because the whole slide, barrel, firing pin, and slide stop are metal on a Glock. He also describes how Jack Bauer did a ¿tactical load¿ to top off his gun, but gets the process completely wrong. The author claims in the book (like in the TV show) that Jack is ex Delta Force. A Delta Force team member would know how to re-load his weapon. You would think the author would consult a military or law enforcement officer about firearms operation. The action is great, and the author has the characters right on. However, I¿m constantly pulled out of being engaged in the story due to the basic and blatant technical blunders. Did the author just not care? We deserve better and so does Jack.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're a HUGE 24 fan like me, who cannot wait for the next season to begin, this is the answer. In this book, we have the equivalent of one entire season of 24, and all I can say is WOW. As a die-hard fan of this kickin it show, I was impressed with this book's intensity, a level of action equal to the show and then some. (A big THANK YOU to the author for that! I've waded through enough slow-moving, badly plotted plodding novels to make me plenty skeptical). The suspense never lets up in this book. The twists and turns of the plot are impossible to second guess, and the driving force of Jack Bauer is on the money. Jack is in top form here, once again a rogue agent who's put in a position of pretty much single-handedly having to use his wits and training to save the world. Operation Hell Gate has a great cast of bad guys and also gives you a window into Bauer's internal thoughts as he moves through the story, showing you how Jack (like the chess-player he is) maneuvers his way from one move to the next. Like a good military thriller, Operation Hell Gate presents an interesting mix of real military weaponry and (like the 24 show itself) extrapolation into futuristic possibilities for a weapons technology (the Long-Tooth missile launcher) that may not actually exist yet but-what if it did? I was also happy in the extreme to see the season one cast working together again, (Nina, Jamey, Richard Walsh) and Tony Almeida is great in this book with his own challenges (he's paired with a headstrong, politically well-connected female Marine captain). Cerasini's previous 24 book (The House Special Subcommittee's Findings at CTU) is on my keeper shelf. In it, he covers Operation Nightfall, Jack's disastrous Delta mission , and he doesn't disappoint with this one. The epilogue also sets up some intriguing questions, and I'm looking forward to more books in this series. If you're a true 24 fan, you won't want to miss this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is perfect. The structure is in real time, but without the filler subplots that are forced on the show to fit the 60 minute time spot. The author, who wrote the guide to the first season (really a novel, too), knows the show inside and out, and fan fanatics will love the details he tosses in. The plot is classic 24 and very tense, with the situation and the threat changing from hour to hour, escalating to the fiery climax. The novel moved so fast and was so tightly plotted that I finished it in a few hours instead of going to class. I enjoyed the New York City setting. With Jack thousands of miles from CTU, he's alone and must forge new alliances to save millions of lives. The villains are interesting and very realistic. I can't wait for the next novel in this fun new series. Recommended, even if you do miss class!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This 24: Declassified book by Marc Cerasini 'Operation Hell Gate' is the first original novel based on Kiefer Sutherland¿s hit TV series 24. A true thriller, this novel uses 24¿s ingenious real-time format, it's a breakneck read for a 24 fan like me, giving me what amounts to an entire season in one book (a feat in itself). Each of the 24 chapters covers one hour in Jack Bauer¿s very long day ¿ in this case, you¿ll learn about one of Jack¿s pre-9/11 counter-terrorist missions that has just been ¿Declassified¿ called Operation Hell Gate. In true 24 fashion, the plot is complex and features numerous, well-drawn characters, none of whom you should get too attached to! This is a non-stop ride of chew-up-the-scenery action, intrigue, and complex characters (good and bad). Jack Bauer is in top form here, leading the charge against a terrorist threat targeting several aircraft across the country simultaneously (staged to support an even larger terrorist climax). You will watch Jack figure out how to out-play moles, gang members, viruses, terrorists, and a corrupt FBI agent. Jack¿s humane side also comes out as he involves himself with protecting an innocent woman, an Irish immigrant named Caitlin, who becomes caught up with her younger brother in a deadly web involving her IRA boyfriend. While we know Jack will come out alive (because this is a prequel), the true fun here is not the end, but the race against time to get there. With conflict on every single page and a climax that will positively knock you out, there's a lot here for 24 fans to love. Military weaponry is also handled deftly by an author who clearly knows his stuff. Cerasini is the author of such military nonfiction as The Future of War, The Idiot¿s Guide to Special Ops Forces, and U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor. He¿s also written an amazing prose novel based on the Marvel graphic novel Wolverine: Weapon X, a Tom Clancy NetForce novel, and the well-received AVP and Cinderella Man novelizations based on the motion (and many more books including a NYT best-seller about O.J. Simpson). With an epilogue that sets up future novels, 24 fans will find much to enjoy in this first 24: Declassified novel. I certainly did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Operation Hell Gate adheres faithfully to the 24 formula. This tightly scheduled narrative maintains consistent levels of suspense throughout and handles the action genre adequately. The writing was a little sketchy at first then improved as the story developed and the hour-by-hour format became more comfortable.The author has a firm grasp on the tech-speak and weapon-speak required for this discipline. (Although I'm told he made some errors regarding weapons.) The plot doesn¿t have any gaping holes in it. The only question left unanswered for me was intentional, perhaps to segue to the next installment in the series. Set in a pre-Day One time frame (in fact pre-9/11), I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed having Richard Walsh, Jamey and a not-yet-corrupt Nina alive and acting like the professionals we always knew they were. Throughout the first 23 hours of the book, Jack has been reduced to the status of a generic action figure. The book fails utterly to capture Jack¿s essence even a little bit. The `voice¿ of his character has such a distinctive cadence and rhythm, such an unmistakable presence that I would have thought it would be a no-brainer to replicate. To fall short in this task is a grave disservice to the audience for this series. I must say that I felt like it was the very soul of Jack Bauer who reached out through the author and wrote the final and finest hour himself out of sheer force of will. Otherwise the only hint of the man would have been the photo on the cover. Nothing of his virile, righteous, compassionate and flawed nature is evident. We learn nothing new about him or his background. The only time his thought and decision-making process comes into focus relates entirely to which weapon to choose from an assortment. Oh how I wish a novelist had been handed this assignment instead of an author who specializes in writing books based on television shows. I¿ve long been a fan of the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 re-launch, so I¿m well-acquainted with television programming being treated with mastery and depth (Andrew J. Robinson, Heather Jarman). Operation Hell Gate is a true missed opportunity to handle this concept with anything resembling artistry. If it were a movie, I¿d say wait till it came out on television.