What have we been afraid of since 9/11? In Terror Red, Colonel David Hunt gives us a frighteningly realistic look at what could be the next major terrorist assault.
Colonel David Gibson is a recently retired Special Operations Officer. Together with political consultant Christina Marchetti, he must take down a terrorist organization bent on hijacking planes, blowing up cities, and much more. Their pursuit of these heavily financed, ruthlessly trained killers hurls Gibson and Marchetti into a whirlwind of death and destruction. If they can't stop this murderous conspiracy, America could well be plunged into World War III.
But can they stop them in time?
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|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
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About the Author
COLONEL DAVID HUNT has spent almost thirty years fighting our nation's wars, from Vietnam to Bosnia. He is a New York Times bestselling author and has been a commentator with Fox News for ten years. Hunt lives in Maine with his family.
CHRISTINE HUNSINGER grew up in New Hampshire, where she began volunteering on presidential campaigns. Since then, she has worked for Republican, Democratic, and third-party candidates. She currently serves as Communications Director for independent Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, where she lives with her children, Jacob, Zachary, and Kaileigh.
CHRISTINE HUNSINGER grew up in New Hampshire, where she began volunteering on presidential campaigns. Since then, she has worked for Republican, Democratic, and third-party candidates. She currently serves as Communications Director for independent Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, where she lives with her children, Jacob, Zachary, and Kaileigh. She is co-author of Terror Red.
Read an Excerpt
By David Hunt, Christine Hunsinger
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2013 David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger
All rights reserved.
New England Christmases are picture-postcard perfect, full of glittering, sparkling, twinkling everything. On December 26, everything turns gray: sky, snow, ice, moods, people; everything is Soviet-Union-stand-in-a-breadline gray. The shift is sudden, jarring and depressing. Brains hibernate, bodies autopilot and the countdown to St. Patrick's Day begins.
Today is December 26.
"I don't understand how you can work for that guy. He's completely sold out, you know. He's turned his back on everything the Democratic Party stands for. He's such a politician," my sister whined.
I fiddled with the dial on the heater, hoping in vain that switching it on, off and on again would turn the slightly warm breeze to tropical wind. Freezing my butt off driving my sister to Logan was not my favorite hobby.
"I'm a political consultant. I work for politicians."
Three years ago, I was working for the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania. I was splitting my time between two campaigns, and it looked like we might actually win both. And then the crazy started. One of my guys threatened to kill his opponent in a televised debate on gun control and was arrested. Two days later, my other guy showed up at a fund-raiser dressed as Elvis. Apparently he had gone off his meds and was hearing voices. A week after those charmingly eccentric incidents, I packed everything I owned into giant, lawn-sized Hefty bags, threw them in the back of my car and left town.
Christina Marchetti, political consultant to the hapless and troubled, as well as the queen of running away.
I gritted my teeth and laid on the horn. Traffic was crawling toward the airport. Five minutes ago it had been swerving wildly at unsafe speeds. Given Boston drivers, in another five minutes we might all be driving sideways. With any luck, we would arrive at Logan before I bludgeoned my sister with an ice scraper. I was on vacation until New Year's Day, and although part of my job was to worry about the fate of the Democratic Party and its agenda, I figured it could wait a few days. Right now all I wanted to do was get my sister on her plane, go home to my apartment and slip into a coma.
From the bottom of my pocketbook came the muted theme music from the TV show The West Wing. That was how my phone rang when it worked. Yes, I was officially a dork.
I rooted around and found it, hit the button and said hello.
It was the singsongy voice of Mary Katherine. Mary Katherine Connolly was typical South Boston: 100 percent Irish, devoutly Catholic, pretty face and amazingly competent. She is Senator Kerrigan's constituent service coordinator because she speaks the language of the district's natives; also because she's from a political family and knows where all the bodies are buried. She basically runs every other department and function of Kerrigan's office. Make no mistake. She's in charge.
"Hey, what's up?" I said with a pout.
"I can hear that you are still in your Happy Christmas mood, so I will make this short. Received another update on the terror alert. It's gone up again, but I can't really quantify how. Since we did away with the color coding it all seems very vague to me, but I thought I should call you. There is extra emphasis on this one because President Carson is spending the holidays in Maine with the Wheeler family."
The terror alert rose and fell three times a day. When I started working for Kerrigan, I cared. Now I ignored it. After all this time, with nothing happening, I embraced the myth that we were safe.
"Okay, so we're at persimmon? Or is it magenta? Go ahead and let the senator know."
Kate laughed and we disconnected.
Colleen picked up right where she'd left off.
"He'll never be President. My generation expects a lot more than Senator Brian Kerrigan has to offer."
Brian Kerrigan was the sanest politician I'd worked for, and while that wasn't saying a whole lot, I'd take it.
After the Pennsylvania debacle, twenty-six years old, spectacularly humiliated, close to broke and with limited options — my car had autopiloted its way in the direction of home. The eight-hour drive north had been just long enough for my brain to convince itself that the bizarre and embarrassing moments that make up my life would somehow be easier to deal with if I lived closer to my family.
My family is bizarre and embarrassing, in a lovable sort of way; we make a sport out of driving each other insane. We're loud and messy, but the truth of it is we'd be lost without each other.
Eventually I'd wound up living in Boston, one whole, if rather small, state away from my family. Part of my mental calculus definitely included that if I lived in Providence, every time I ran to the store in sweatpants and a ratty old T-shirt some relative would call my mother and tell her I wasn't dressed appropriately.
I didn't have any relatives in Boston, so way fewer tattling phone calls were bound to happen; distance was a good thing, in that absence makes the heart grow fonder; I could see them on my terms; and I was way less likely to discover that the cute guy I was talking to in a bar was a second cousin. It was a good plan, but there were flaws.
My sister Colleen had moved to Washington, D.C., but in typical New Englander fashion continuously found reasons to fly back home. Flights to Boston's Logan Airport were cheaper than those to Providence. Naturally, it became my job to pick her up and get her back to Rhode Island.
I could hear the evil little karma trolls laughing.CHAPTER 2
Snow and rain blowing sideways, ugly gray sky, no clouds, no sun, nasty New England day. We are driving down Route 128 southbound, eighteen miles from Logan Airport just outside of Boston, a poorly designed, always jammed piece of asphalt that is the lifeblood of the southern part of Massachusetts. Wicked cold, a few people walking around and those brave souls are bundled up to their ears. Cars sliding all over the road, what the hell are you doing out in this type of weather kind of day? My bet is that God saves the good weather for Christmas Day, then gets pissed off and gives us a day like this.
A Ford Escort just came up on my tail and wanted into the backseat. Then he passed me in the breakdown lane. The breakdown lane in a Ford Escort, for Christ's sake? If I were not carrying such valuable cargo, I would demonstrate for him just exactly how to drive. My vehicle is an oversized, powerful Cadillac Escalade with twenty-two-inch tires and a few other tricks up its shiny black sleeves. It's a thing of beauty. The only thing missing on this car is a ram, and at these speeds I may not need that. We in the car are safe, but the rest of the population had better think twice.
My cargo is the best damn woman in the whole world, my mother. For the first time since my father's death last year, she's finally cutting loose; which to her means going farther from the house than the local supermarket. Dad's death took a part of all of us with him. I bet it is harder for Ma than for me. But she is dealing with it, and this trip to D.C. with her friend Martha is a great start.
"David, you know your aggressive driving bothers me, son. What happens if a deer comes running out, or a bear, or squirrel, or a bird flies straight at us?"
I want to say, I will kill them; it is what I was trained to do, have done and will do again. I have been to a dozen driving schools and been in enough firefights in and around roads with things blowing up that this little excursion is simply not a problem.
But instead I say, "Ma, I got this. Please trust me, and I love you."
"If you are so smart, wired and connected, how come you didn't know where bin Laden was hiding?" chirps my wicked, sarcastic mom.
"Who do you think told SEAL Team Six?" I say with a smirk.
Multiple pieces of popcorn come flying from the backseat, one even hitting me in the head. They are eating popcorn in my car? They must have packed snacks for the plane ride. Airport security is going to love that.
"You two lovelies will pick up all the kernels in the backseat before you leave." Usually I don't allow food in the car, but since it's Mom and Martha, okay.
The banter is cut short by a call coming in on my Bluetooth. It's an unknown number, which means either the government or one of the boys is calling. I tap the screen on my Kensington 1600 system.
"Dave Gibson speaking."
"Gibster, Kor Dog here. Where are you now?"
"Tony, how are you? I am south of Boston."
Tony is a contract officer with the CIA. Tony and I have worked together, officially, a couple of times. He loves to call and update me just to see if my information is as current as his. Most of the time it's as good; sometimes it's better.
"Look, the terrorist chatter is getting very loud. We keep hearing about the East Coast. Why the hell would they still care about the East Coast, Colonel?"
"You mean besides Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and D.C.? Tony, you are losing it. I've got my own problems. It's the day after Christmas, I'm retired and I'm driving my mother to the airport. Let me know when it's more than chatter. Thanks for the call."
Since 9/11, this business of interpreting terrorism chatter has become a growth industry. More often than not, everyone's guessing, and there seems to be another looming crisis every week. I'm glad he called, but there is no there there, yet.
I know the world has its problems, but right now I've got my own. I'm really not looking forward to this. I hate airports. They're messy and crowded; half the people are depressed because they're being left behind by someone, and the other half are close to certifiable because their best something — girl, guy, whatever — is coming off the plane and who knows how things have changed since they've been gone. I gained this insight in the service of our country, in the United States Army Special Forces flying in back or on the floor of transport planes for more years than I can count. Colonel David Gibson, technically retired.
Another reason I hate airports is that, for some stupid reason, they always make me think of my father.
My father, who besides being a genuine hero of World War II, having the brain of a genius and being an Olympic-caliber swimmer, was also the best man I ever met — period. But he could be more than painful about things like getting to an airport on time. He gave me enormous love and support in whatever I did, and I miss him every day. Lately I sometimes feel lost without him. I am probably a bit too old to be that way ... but there is just something about fathers and sons.
Took me years to realize that there was a one-sided competition going on and that I was trying to be a better man than my father. Hell, I was trying to be better at anything than he was. I may have been a better officer in the Army, but he had World War II and I had Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia, all in and out of uniform. His was a war we won that they made movies about; mine just lasted too damn long for anyone to care.
I usually manage to avoid the airport thing, but for Mom, anything. She has lost her husband and two sons. It's just me and my sister left, so I will stand in a bucket of cold water in front of the United Airlines ticket counter if it will help my mother.
The car in front of me taps the brakes and slides to the left. Cold-ass December with a little snow falling only makes bad drivers worse. Now we stop while the idiot in front tries to get his vehicle back to straight as opposed to sliding.
I hate traffic. I hate all forms of traffic. Traffic is a line, and after twenty-nine years in the military I have a strong aversion to and a deep hatred for lines. Hence, hating traffic is unavoidable. Boston traffic is so bad it should be illegal.
Mom and Martha are nattering nonstop in the backseat, the radio is playing Bob Seger which makes me want to drive fast but I'm trapped in traffic on my way to the airport.
Happy holidays. You have got to be kidding me!CHAPTER 3
Colleen was going on and on, traffic was still sitting still and I was making a list of creative ways to kill myself.
1. Freeze to death in snowbank.
2. Leap from moving vehicle — except the car wasn't moving.
3. Spontaneously combust.
The list was originally supposed to be all of the things I'd rather do with the hour and a half of my life that this trip was devouring, but the list took a nasty turn south when Colleen launched into a cataloguing of the psychological ramifications of being related to me and the rest of our family.
For Christmas I had given Colleen a sweater. She'd given me a book called Finding Yourself: A Guide. I'd never had finding-myself issues. If I needed to find myself, I looked down. I was usually there.
This last week she must have tried to engage me in the how-it-sucks-that-we-don't-have-a-real-family-anymore conversation about a hundred times and kept repeating, "It's such a shock to find out your whole life is a lie."
Mutter, eye roll, big sigh: Come on! Get over it already; it'd been ten years since our parents divorced.
Colleen is four years younger than me. She's five-foot-five and what she calls voluptuous. She's trendy and chic and her clothes only cover half her body, half the time. I'm six feet tall, skinny as a rail and not even the eighty-five-dollar bra from Victoria's Secret can get me close to voluptuous. She's dark-haired and olive-skinned, "Just like Sophia Loren," says my Italian father. If Sophia Loren had a butt the size of Cleveland — but no, I'm not bitter. My red hair and pale complexion come from my mother and make up the Irish side of the genetic coin. Colleen and I are both difficult and argumentative and will fight to the death for the last word.
Recently, my mother had given me a lecture on the finer points of sisterhood and guilted me into the trying-not-to's: trying not to argue with Colleen, trying not to get angry with Colleen, trying not to comment on the size of Colleen's ass. Today it was causing me physical pain. Colleen had been a philosophy major in college, which she figured entitled her to share her opinion on everything. Trouble was, Colleen was convinced her opinion was the only opinion and she'd argue with you until you either gave in and agreed with her or attempted suicide with the closest implement that would open a vein.
I was about to rummage around in my pocketbook for a nail file when we reached the end of the Ted Williams Tunnel and traffic magically cleared. Five minutes later, we pulled into the parking area of Logan Airport. In ten more minutes she'd be on a plane and I'd be back in my car and on my way home, free to enjoy the rest of my vacation.CHAPTER 4
"David, what is it exactly that you do?"
Ever since I've retired, Martha has developed a fascination with my work. She's taken up reading spy novels and such and asking me bizarre questions. Last week she wanted to know if it was really possible to kill a person with a pencil eraser.
"Your mother and I were wondering what to tell people when they ask."
"Oh, no, Martha. You leave me out of this," my mother says.
"Oh, hush. David, we know you did do some rather seedy things in the military, but what exactly do you do now? Is it the Masked Marvel comic book idea you had when you were twelve, or is it more the Mad-Mercenary-laying-waste-of-African-villages type of work that we have been reading about?"
I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself.
"Martha," I say in a very serious voice, "I live in a very dark cave and only come out when it's time to feed. If I tell you any more than that, I will have to kill you."
Actually, I just finished a job in South Africa, and it didn't involve erasers or caves. The South Africans have some great special forces and a world-class intelligence service. It was a real pleasure doing executive protection contracts for a handful of European fat cats on holiday. I will use some of the South Africans on my next job coming up in Belgium. The job is boring but the boys will make it fun.
Sometimes I get to do some work for Uncle Sam; usually it's just looking someone up or checking on something for the FBI or CIA. This time I spent a few days checking out recent bombings as a favor to our embassy, while in Cape Town doing some executive protection for a European firm.
Last year at this time, just before I retired, I was running around the mountains and setting up operations with the boys from Langley and our special operations forces. It was a hell of a way to end a career. We did good.
I really miss it. I miss the soldiers; how they laughed, cried and loved to hate most of us in the officer corps. I miss the things we did together, the impossible tasks solved in the middle of the night. I miss the women I loved and left — who probably only loved me because I was leaving.
I don't miss the endless meetings, nor the poor pay, nor the times of senseless killing. Most of all, I do not miss the incompetence of some of those who presumed to lead without the slightest idea of what that meant. They were supposed to be leading soldiers into battle when instead they were promoting themselves and playing politics.
Excerpted from Terror Red by David Hunt, Christine Hunsinger. Copyright © 2013 David Hunt and Christine Hunsinger. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
“Terror Red is an exciting, tightly written thriller that could actually happen. Let’s hope it does not.”
—Bill O’Reilly, anchor, Fox News Channel
“A page-turning, electrifying read!”
—Major General Sid Shachow (U.S. Army Special Forces, ret.), author of Hope and Honor, winner of the William E. Colby Award
“Terror Red is everything a great thriller should be...you won't soon forget it.”
—W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV, Wall Street Jounral and New York Times bestselling authors of The Spymasters
“The best thriller you will read this year, Terror Red has all the forward momentum of a mach-five rocket-sled. It starts high and just keeps going higher. The book cooks!!!”
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Constitution and The Lincoln Letter
“At last, a thriller that truly thrills! Written by a superb soldier's soldier and a co-author who knows the battlefield of politics from the trenches, Terror Red is a big win for the reader.”
—Ralph Peters, New York Times bestselling author of Cain at Gettysburg
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great read..very timely and plausible...full of interesting characters.....
I'm a little jaded with the terrorist theme. So this was a little reluctant purchase. I saw the Colonel on Fox while the search for the Boston bombers was on. He was remarkable for his candid assessment of the situation. I got the book because of that. It turned out to be really entertaining, even with the frightening theme. It was a two sitting delight - well done guys!
Special operator Col David Gibson is faced with a well armed and highly skilled international cabal bent on destroying large parts of Boston. Enter Christina Marchetti, tall and beautiful, ivy league political apparatchik. One problem, this chick is such a thoroughly naïve pedant that Gibson is forced to give her the time honored "sit down, shut up, and don't get in the way" instruction which she promptly ignores. The story gets on shaky ground as Gibson baby sits wannabe wonder woman through the carnage. Special ops details and minute by minute conflict narratives are great. Whinny civilian in the midst, not so much.
A frightening prediction of what came to pass in Boston. The forces behind this evil will plague the world for another 100 years.
The book makes light of terror issues and is too strident and too one sided. The main characters are plastic and poorly developed. Didn't finish it as I didn't want to waste anymore time on this poorly written book.