A plane bound for Amman, Jordan goes down in the Caspian Sea. The crash yields no survivors—save the Russian mercenary who hijacked the flight—and a cask containing an agent of unprecedented destructive potential is missing from the wreckage. A carefully plotted terrorist attack has been put into motion, and the resulting chaos might be enough to push America toward another costly war.
The one man who might be able to stop the attack is Jack Hatfield, a freelance reporter who has never shied away from controversy. After making a politically incorrect statement about Islamic extremists, he has been discredited as a journalist and left to pick up the pieces of his career. But when his half-brother Sammy calls him, saying that his neighbor Ana overheard something she shouldn't have and now both their lives are in danger, Jack realizes he's stumbled upon a conspiracy to destroy Mecca. Now he, and a group of likeminded friends on the fringes of the law, must uncover who is behind the plot and stop them—or else witness the collapse of the world into a war of mutually assured global destruction.
Michael Savage's COUNTDOWN TO MECCA is a gripping page-turner that takes readers on a journey where even the seemingly innocent aren't always innocent, the loyal aren't always loyal, and that even those counted on to serve their country, cannot always be counted on to protect it. With the threat of a third world war looming, Jack Hatfield must stop the destruction… before somebody can stop him.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Savage is a multimedia icon in the conservative movement. The Telegraph in the U.K. ranked him as one of the most influential conservatives in the United States, and with 10 million weekly listeners, the Berkeley Ph.D. is the third most listened-to conservative talk-show host. Recently featured in The New Yorker and Playboy, Dr. Savage is the author of more than two dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers, among them The Savage Nation and The Political Zoo, as well as Abuse of Power and A Time for War. His media presence and profile earned him the coveted Freedom of Speech Award from Talkers magazine in 2007.
Dr. Savage holds a master’s degree in medical botany and a second in medical anthropology. Additionally, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in epidemiology and nutrition sciences. He is an ardent conservationist, is dedicated to his family, and is a proud patriot of his country.
Read an Excerpt
Countdown to Mecca
By Michael Savage
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Michael Savage
All rights reserved.
San Francisco, California
Samuel Michaels was dozing on his comfortable, threadbare sofa when he heard a key move in the door of his second floor Montgomery Street studio apartment. As his eyes opened so did the door. A blonde, barefoot, platinum-eyed vision in a low-cut, form-fitting black micro-mini-dress jumped in, panting. His neighbor Anastasia Vincent and his half brother Jack were the only ones who had a key—and this definitely wasn't Jack Hatfield. Jack hadn't been here in over a year, which was the last time they spoke. It was to thank him for a jazz CD Sammy had sent as a birthday present and peace offering.
"Sam!" she gulped in her charming Russian accent. "They are after me!"
"Who is?" Sammy asked.
"Very bad men!" she said, shaking. Her eyes, normally alert as those as a Nordic wolf, seemed wary, frightened.
Sammy's Marine training was a little rusty. He hadn't worn a uniform for years, not since he was on one of his motorcycles when a teen driver had hit him, sending him into a year of physical therapy and paving the way for a handsome settlement with the insurance company. Still, as the saying goes, Once a Marine, Always a Marine. Sammy was up and moving past her in an instant. He slammed his apartment door shut behind her, rattling the painting he'd bought at a flea market showing a shipwreck in the Farallon Islands, out in the Bay. Then he locked and bolted the door and turned toward her.
"It's okay," he said. "You're safe now."
Her Arctic eyes locked on his. "Are you sure?"
He wasn't, but he said, "Absolutely. No one would ever expect to find a beautiful girl in my apartment."
She smiled halfheartedly. "You are making a joke."
"I wish. Now, relax and tell me what's going on," Sammy coaxed.
She began to calm. He maneuvered her to the sofa and sat next to her, looking intently into her eyes. It was easy. They were the brightest, lightest blue he had ever seen. But he kept one ear trained on the door, on the steps outside. They were old wooden steps and they creaked. It would be difficult for anyone to sneak up on him.
Anastasia Vincent was a strong, very special girl. Within weeks of her moving here from Moscow he had learned she was a high-class call girl. That was probably how she got into this country, paying her way with favors, but that didn't matter. If there was one thing he'd learned in his thirty-seven years, people did what they had to do. Hell, he was a professional party clown. Not a party animal, but a bona fide clown: big red wig, big red nose, big red slippers, and lots of polka dots in between. Who was he to judge others? Ana had character, wisdom, and she had seen more in her twenty-seven years than most women see in a lifetime. He figured she was on the lam from an angry john, someone he could handle.
"You want a drink? Water? Something stronger?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Thank you, though." Once Ana caught her breath it all came out in a rush. "I met a military officer six months ago at a party hosted by a wealthy armament manufacturer. He introduced himself as General Montgomery Morton. He seemed very taken by me."
Sammy smiled. "That doesn't exactly put General Montgomery Morton in the genius class for pickers."
"You are very sweet," she replied graciously.
Ow. Sammy was used to hearing that from women, which is why there weren't many of them trying to get in to see him. They wanted the younger, the studlier, the wealthier. Even in San Francisco, there were still enough straight guys like that to shrink the dating pool for guys like him to zero.
"So you met this general," Sammy said.
"Yes. Soon he was calling me every week and paying very well," she said. "We were always staying in the city's best hotels, ordering room service, expensive champagne." She smiled wryly. "No gifts, though. Nothing that could be traced. But that was all right. His money was good. The last time we met he asked me to bring other women to party with his friends. That was today. He said it was a special occasion."
"A birthday? A promotion? An appointment?"
"He did not tell me," Ana said. "We met at a Tower Suite of the Fairmont Hotel."
She was right about him spending lavishly: a suite like that, high on Nob Hill, cost more each night than he made in a couple of weeks.
Anastasia explained that she had brought along Ritu, a voluptuous girl from India, and Miwa, an ethereal Japanese girl. The oldest man, whom she mentally named "Pallor" for the whiteness of his skin, lit up at the sight of Miwa. The youngest man—whom Anastasia nicknamed "Kid"—immediately put his arm around Ritu's shoulder and drew her toward the bedroom.
"The general took me to the couch," she said. "He seemed to be thinking about something far away. But I had gone there to do a job and—I did."
She said that for the next hour the general was rougher than usual, though it was nothing she couldn't handle.
"Still, I was relieved when it was over," she said. "The two other girls left but I stayed to get ready for my next engagement. I went to dress and fix my makeup in the bathroom and was about to step out when the general's smartphone rang. As he answered he jumped over and slammed the bathroom door but didn't realize there was a towel on the floor. The door did not shut all the way."
Ana decided to wait until he was done. There was a short silence and then the general uttered a single word. "Good." The next pause was longer, so long that she thought the call was over. But just as she placed her hand on the doorknob she heard him again.
"He said, 'Firebird moves to stage two,'" Ana told Sammy. "It was spoken softly, almost like a prayer."
"Military code?" Sammy wondered.
"That was what I thought," Ana told him.
When the call was finished, she said she shook her hair, opened the door, and froze. The general's eyes were on the rumpled towel, on the open door. And then they were on her.
"His expression was dark and very, very angry," Ana said. "He demanded to know what I had heard. I told him I hadn't heard anything. He just stared at me with those evil eyes. "'What did you hear?' he shrieked, this time rising from the bed and coming toward me. I repeated that I had heard nothing, but he didn't believe me. He lunged for me, like he wanted to grab my hair, but I got around him because he was still tangled in a sheet. I ran toward the door."
"Wow," Sammy marveled. "That's quite an extreme reaction, especially for a high-ranking military officer." He shook his head after considering the matter. "He must be under enormous pressure to go off like that."
"No, he wasn't under pressure once we finished," Ana said innocently.
Sammy stifled a grin; he knew she meant it as a professional observation.
There were tears in the girl's eyes as she recounted how he had shouted for the others to stop her. Pallor and the Kid tried to grab her, but Ana said that she had spent a lifetime escaping—from local bureaucrats who wanted favors when she was sixteen to border dogs when she was eighteen and left the country without permission. The next thing she knew she was out in the hall, running.
"You ran here from the Fairmont?" Sammy asked. He glanced at her legs, following their shapely curve down.
She raised her luminous eyes to the face of a man she had come to like, to trust. She nodded.
"That's nearly a mile, most of it up hill!" Sammy said incredulously.
She nodded. "I have run farther."
She seemed surprised when he said that. She looked at her feet. Her stockings were torn, the bottoms bloody. "Oh. I could not run in those heels and I dared not stop. I just left them in the lobby."
"A regular Cinderella," he said, trying to inject some levity. It didn't seem to work. Her eyes were still full of fear. "Did they follow you?"
"I do not know," she admitted.
Even if they had, Sammy did not think a group of officers would go after her in broad daylight. "Well, it's over now. Relax and we'll see what we can find out about this General Morton and Firebird."
He walked around the kitchen table and moved the clown suit that was stretched out there to dry after he had sprayed it with fabric freshener. He had come back from a gig just an hour before and, as usual, the costume was damp with sweat, along with splashes from excited kids holding cups full of juice. Anyone who thought making balloon animals, doing magic tricks, honking a horn on his belt, and talking in a funny voice was easy should walk a mile in his oversize shoes.
He grabbed his laptop from the table and brought it back to the sofa. He pressed the ON button and looked at Ana.
"I have never seen and heard a man so frantic," she said.
"When men take chances, and those chances bite them in the posterior, they are already a little on edge or guilty or both," Sammy said.
"He never worried about that before," she said.
"Maybe he was afraid you heard someone's name and would blackmail him, threaten to tell a wife or superior."
She shook her head. "I only heard 'Firebird,'" she insisted. "No names."
"Well, we're gonna get through this," he assured her as he tapped in the word 'Firebird.' "Sammy Michaels doesn't know the meaning of the word 'retreat.'"
"You can look that up after 'Firebird,'" she joked.
He grinned. That was actually pretty funny coming from a woman who was afraid for her life.
The first cite on the search engine was from that day, just ninety minutes earlier. He clicked on it as Ana sat and hugged his arm. It felt good.
"I feel safe with you," she said. "I always have."
"Even if it was just talking at the mailbox, you made me feel like I had a neighbor, a home, a friend."
Those weren't exactly the words Sammy had wanted to hear, though it was a start.
"But who is—what did you call her?" Ana asked. "Sindrella?"
He grinned. "Cinderella. A fairy tale character. A poor girl with a fairy godmother, loses her glass slipper at the prince's ball—"
"Ah, Zalushka!" she said. "It is a Russian story."
"Of course it is," he said as her cell phone beeped. "The Russians came up with everything."
She didn't seem to have heard him, her expression souring as she retrieved her phone from her purse.
"You expecting any calls?" Sammy asked. She shook her head as she looked at the text message. Sammy started reading the Firebird reference on the computer then heard Ana gasp. "What is it?"
Her breathing sped again as she handed Sammy the phone. We know where you are. Come back now.
"How could they know?" she asked.
Sammy felt a chill but remained composed. "With the NSA spying on every American, you ask how the military knows something?" he asked. "He probably cloned the GPS signal from your phone the first time he met you."
"Copied your data, just in case you ever tried to blackmail him."
"Chyort voz'mi!" she said and rose suddenly.
Sammy didn't know any Russian, but that sounded like something you wouldn't say or hear in polite company.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"I don't know, but my father taught me that waiting for the executioner was the worst way to live. It is better to keep one step ahead. I'll have to go."
"You mean—for good?"
"What choice do I have?"
"I don't know, but there has to be one."
"An escort cannot go to the police—"
"No," he said firmly. "But I have another idea."
He took his own cell phone from the end table beside the couch.
"What are you going to do?" she asked.
"I'm calling the one man in this town who can help."
"Someone I thought I'd never call again," he responded hollowly. "My big brother."CHAPTER 2
Before going to the hotel for a press conference, Jack Hatfield walked around the park atop Russian Hill, the prime real estate location in the Gilded City. As he did, he wondered about exclusion. How the uber-liberal city "leaders" excluded all but their sycophants from any and all recognition. Jack had long ago accepted his status as an outcast and wore it as a measure of pride in a corrupt and soulless place. The top families were filled with whores, thieves, drug addicts, alcoholics, and sex maniacs. Of course there was the Petty family, living off the old man's oil fortune while espousing "green" nonsense, cashing in on fraudulent solar contracts. Then there were the two politicians. One whose husband did deals with China that crossed the borderline of treason and the other whose husband and son did land deals that violated zoning codes while appearing on the boards of other "green" groups. Then there was Mr. Berkowitz, one of the chief donors to socialist causes the single largest recipient being the ACLU. His money was made by selling his savings and loan chain to a major bank just before the housing crash of '08. He made billions while the bank that bought his junk mortgages went under. Jack could only ask how a city, let alone a nation, could survive with such abject thieves running the show.
Yet, of the many species of liars Jack Hatfield dealt with, no one topped a CEO. This was not because they were particularly skilled at lying; their techniques were obvious and predictable: deny, deny, deny. Jack's interest was entirely philosophical. He wondered if having renounced their moral compass as they climbed the corporate ladder, they could no longer distinguish between truth and falsehood. He suspected that they believed every word they spoke was the truth.
Not that all CEOs were liars. It was just that he had personally dealt with quite a few: those who had appeared on his cable TV series Truth Tellers, and those who had pressured the station to cancel his controversial show because of an hypothetical question: "If it came down to it, would you rather see a hundred million of us killed, or kill a hundred million Muslims?" Jack lamented the fact that in the old days—the veryold days, the time of the Continental Congress—one delegate, he forgot who, seconded the debate on Independence because he felt there wasn't a topic so dangerous you couldn't at least talk about it.
Now, if talk wasn't all about political correctness and spin, the mainstream media and CEOs shunned it.
Take the man standing at the podium across the Hyatt Hotel's meeting room, holding forth to a group of eager news stringers and bloggers for a cross section of business websites. As CEO of Der Warheit Unternehmen, Helmut Schoenberg represented a German multinational company with a wide array of products and interests from coal mining to health care, with high tech and textile manufacturing thrown in on the side. It was German in name only; like many internationals, it had long ago located its corporate offices in a tax haven.
Jack wasn't here to talk to Helmut about DWU's pledge to donate several million dollars to a Silicon Valley fund aimed at finding jobs for the homeless. The press already knew that the real purpose of the donation was to burnish Der Warheit Unternehmen's image after a horrendous fire in one of its computer chip factories in Manila where hundreds of poor Filipinos perished. They were lobbing softballs, since DWU was a major advertiser in print and on the web.
Finally, Jack raised his hand. "Jack Hatfield, Hatfield Independent News," he said when the German nodded in his direction.
There were muffled groans among the assemblage. They actually made Jack smile. A reporter who didn't piss people off wasn't doing his job.
"Sir," Jack said, "I was struck by the speech you gave last year, denouncing the work by Der Schlauch on the Iranian-Pakistani pipeline. It was quite courageous. You were criticizing a brother German company."
Schoenberg smiled superciliously. "Any trade at all helps Iran build a bomb."
"Right." Jack looked down at his tablet, which was also recording the press conference. "Yet earlier this year, one of your subsidiaries, Der Große Kreis, shipped two hundred centrifuges to France, supposedly for medical use. But they never got to the institute in Nice. Instead, another company owned by DWU picked them up at a warehouse in Dresden, took them directly to the airport, and flew them to Tehran over a period of ten days."
Excerpted from Countdown to Mecca by Michael Savage. Copyright © 2015 Michael Savage. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As rediculas as it seems, the pipeline seems to be enlarging to allow for more radical activity in the U.S. Forget the P C and allow for more "Jacks" and "Dovers" to do their work. In the meantime, good reading.
Savage has plunged a spigot into the national zeitgeist and siphoned it into fictional form. Fans of Brad Thor and Tom Clancy will also want to take notice of Countdown To Mecca, as will anyone paying attention to the global war on terror and current news stories in America. Several of the characters are familiar and seem likely to be drawn from people Savage knows in real life. Buy an extra copy so you can read it in public and shock fragile oversensitive liberals.
Great yarn of possibilities /but hopefully not probabilities... Surprising turns and engagingly woven theme.. Not a Baldacci or Flynn.....yet ! Love his show on radio.... You should hear his program ! Great insight on current affairs !
A classic thriller with international espionage, where the macho hero saves the day with the help of his diverse friends. Is this isn't your style, you hurt nobody but yourself if you buy it. A good yarn, and some alternative political philosophy thrown in, but some of the cliches are a little thick.
Another great read from the prophet of our times, Dr. Michael Savage. Dr Savage has the ability put his timely messages into even his fictional writing. If you are a follower of his radio show, The Savage Nation, you will instantly relate to this story. This thriller is hard to put down. Once you read the first page you are immersed and spellbound. Dr. Savage has stated that this is his last fiction novel. But is this really fiction? Maybe this book should be cataloged under prophesy?? Bravo!
Pretty damn good read. Savage wrote this while drinking a six pack of monster energy drinks ;)
He ripped off "24" and turned a 60 minute episode into a novel............Plagiarized and predictable.