Robert Gleason brings his A-game to The Evil That Men Do, a terrorism thriller steeped with equal parts terror and wit
Income inequality and the offshore hoarding of illicit black funds have reached such extremes that the earth’s democracies are in peril. The oligarchs are taking over. The People worldwide, however, are rising up, and they demand that the UN seize and redistribute all that illegal filthy lucre. But it will not be easy. The world’s oligarchs will not go gentle.
Mikhail Putilov, Russia’s strongman; J. T. Tower, the American president, and Wahid al-Waheed, the Saudi Ambassador to the US will do anything to stop and destroy this global expropriation momenteven if it means nuking the UN. Only three people can stop them: the crusading, muckraking, investigative journalist, Jules Meredith; ex-CIA agent, Elena Moreno; and her boyfriend, the ex-Special Forces Operative turned cybersecurity billionaire, John C. Jameson. If these three fail, democracies around the world will die; and the Age of the Great Global Oligarchs will begin.
If these the three friends fail, the nuclear fireballs will blaze, the UN will burn, and a New Dark Ages will ensue. People everywhere must hold their breath and wait.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
ROBERT GLEASON is a highly regarded expert on nuclear terrorism. He's spoken on the topic at Harvard four times, and on the Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs TV shows, and also starred in a two-hour History Channel special largely devoted to the subject. He has discussed it on George Noory's Coast to Coast AM, NPR, and many other shows. Gleason is the author of And Into the Fire, The Nuclear Terrorist, and End of Days. New York City named a day after him for his work in prison literacy, and he was instrumental in getting the 86-year-old anti-nuclear nun, Sister Megan Rice, out of prison. He lives in New York City. His website is www.RobertGleasonBooks.com.
Read an Excerpt
"The show must go on ..."
— Jules Meredith
Jules Meredith stood next to Danny McMahon in the wings of the 44th Street Theater. They were about to record his weekly TV talk show, in which his guests would discuss the week's major news stories, often with a comedic/satiric slant.
Catching her reflection in a backstage full-length free-standing mirror, Jules felt momentarily embarrassed by her black five-inch, shoot-the-wounded, take-no-prisoners spike heels, her matching minidress and her garishly crimson lipstick, all of which her publisher had emphatically insisted on.
"This is show business, Jules," her hard-nosed, terminally cynical publisher, David Williams, had explained to her on the phone. She had told him that she'd wanted something modest, but he had demurred, explaining exactly how the publicity department wanted her dressed and made up.
Publicity wanted Jules ... hot.
"We want you looking hotter than the hinges of hell," the head of the company had told her. "We want you putting on that shiny carmine-crimson-vermillion lipstick that McMahon always tells his audience he loves so much."
Jules knew that to be a fact. Danny had said it to her once:
"I would love just to be there and watch you put it on ... slowly. That would be so fucking hot!" He also once said to her: "Since you have the longest, most luscious, most lascivious legs I've ever seen on a living creature, you should always show them off to their maximal advantage. What are you anyway? Part giraffe? Your legs have legs. They start from your fucking armpits and go all the way to China, which, as we know, is a ... long way down."
But her publisher was the one who'd dropped the hammer and forced her to look like a Hollywood harlot. Williams had ordered Danny's stylists to darken her eyes, racoon-style, then trowel on the mascara until her lashes looked like ebony rake prongs. The stylist also fluffed out Jules's jet-black hair, flung it over her right shoulder and halfway down her chest. To Jules's horror, her micromini and killer spikes screamed hooker chic. She looked as if she'd just finished hustling tricks on the Great White Way or in the midtown hotel bars.
"Consider your wardrobe and makeup 'the terms of your employment,'" her publisher had emphatically explained.
Ah hell, maybe he was right.
She was pitching her new book and had it fixed firmly under one arm. The publisher claimed he'd leveraged his firstborn to get her that extortionate mid-seven-figure advance her agent had insisted on, so Jules was determined to sell the hell out of it. She struggled to promote a stage smile, but in the mirror, it seemed to her more wolfish leer than grin.
She turned to study McMahon. He was meticulously attired in a tight-fitting black Savile Row suit, a white silk shirt with an Oxford collar and a dazzling silk tie, red as fresh-flowing blood.
The two friends wordlessly studied the audience. At least half of them were in their late teens and early twenties.
"You get a big college crowd, Danny," Jules finally said.
"I do a lot of stand-up at universities. They're my bread and butter."
"Those kids look angry though," Jules said.
"They have a lot to be angry about," Danny said.
"They're starting their careers with mid- to upper-five figures of college debt," Jules said, nodding her agreement. "And the jobs they're staring at are mostly boring as shit."
"Welcome to the real world, kids," McMahon said.
"You're a hard man, Danny."
"Yeah, I know. Makes you wonder why so many right-wingers do my show, doesn't it?"
"Why do they, anyway? You eviscerate them verbally, and that lynch mob you call an audience thunders hatred and insults at them at every turn."
"All the while brandishing torches, pitchforks, chicken feathers and boiling tar," Danny said, grinning.
"Your guests want their face time," Jules said, stating the obvious.
"You got it, kid," McMahon said, grinning. "Most of my guests will do anything to get on the tube. Even you."
"But I have a reason," Jules said. "I have a book to flog and a contract to honor."
"And a world to save?"
"And you'll do anything to spend time with me."
"I love you, Danny, and that is no lie. I'll hang with you anytime you want. But if I didn't have a book to peddle, no power on this planet could get me on your show."
"You're different," McMahon said, "but most of the clowns that do my show would rather be abused than ignored."
Nodding her agreement, Jules studied the crowd. She estimated McMahon had 2,000 bodies out there tonight. There were some well-dressed suburbanites, but mostly they were rowdy college kids in outrageous T-shirts emblazoned with slogans insulting the rich, ridiculing the politically conservative or baiting the modest with shocking sexual taunts. One young busty girl in the front row had on a white T-shirt with a big sloppy taco on it and the caption in big black letters:
"IF GOD HADN'T MEANT MAN TO EAT PUSSY, HE WOULDN'T HAVE MADE IT LOOK LIKE A TACO."
Some wore T-shirts celebrating alcohol: "HELP ME. I FELL ON THE FLOOR AND CAN'T FIND MY BEER." "TEN REASONS WHY A BEER IS BETTER THAN A WOMAN." (The ten reasons, unfortunately, were too small for Jules to read.) "I FEAR NO BEER!"
One young woman, however, was not dressed like a rowdy collegiate. She looked to be of Middle Eastern descent and sat in the front row. She had a thick waist-length mane of jet-black hair and wore a short yellow dress that highlighted some astonishingly abundant décolletage. Her shapely legs were crossed, and her stiletto heels bobbed up and down. Her wide generous lips were colored a bright sinful scarlet — the exact shade Jules was wearing — the hue that Jules's publisher had ordered her to wear because McMahon claimed it drove him ... nuts. The woman had dark wide-set eyes that glinted malevolently, and her lips seemed permanently curled into a wicked half sneer, half smile.
Jules glanced at her friend and noticed he was staring at her too.
"Well, Danny," Jules said, nodding toward the woman and paraphrasing the old Elvis Presley song, "'if you're looking for trouble, you've come to the right place.'"
"Have I ever. Any idea who she is?"
"All the hell and high water you've been looking for your whole life long," Jules said.
"And, thank you, God," McMahon said, "for bringing it to me."
"I'm not kidding," Jules said. "That one's trouble."
"Then trouble's my middle name."
"Watch it, boy," Jules said. "I've seen her face before. I just can't place it. I can't say where."
"And I tell you that face has 'I Want Big Bad Dan' written all over it."
"All my warning lights are blinking five-alarm fire-engine red with their sirens wailing and the rack lights flashing."
"So's Big Dan's Lust-o-meter."
"Okay, fine. But listen, Mr. Gonads-for-Brains, don't come crying to me when the shit hits the fan and you're bleeding from every pore."
"Never happen. I'm a TV celebrity. I got the power of the political/entertainment/media establishment backing me up."
"When you end up facedown — your dick in the dirt and your ass in the wind — just don't blame me."
"Big Dan is never out for the count," McMahon said. "I'm going to whale on that poor girl like she stole something."
"She looks like she could be Muslim."
"Then I'll convert her to the path of righteousness for my own name's sake," McMahon said.
"Big Bad Dan."
"You're insane," Jules said.
"Only one thing could change my mind. You could take her place."
Jules treated her old friend to a hard sharp laugh. "Never happen."
"Why is it you won't give me a shot?"
"You're always buried alive under mountains of women. Why would I want to share you at the bottom of that pile?"
"'I'll change, I swear,'" McMahon said, quoting Dylan.
"You don't need me. You have women circling over you like flights stacked up over LaGuardia."
"Maybe they know something you don't know."
"I only know one thing: The show must go on, and they're cuing up the teleprompter for your monologue. Go get 'em, Danny Boy."
"To be continued."
Danny McMahon threw back his shoulders, pumped up his chest and swaggered out onto the stage — the baddest stud duck on the pond, the cockiest rooster in Chickentown.CHAPTER 2
"I hope Putilov drops daisy cutters on the UN."
— President J. T. Tower
Dark of night on the top floor of J. T. Tower's needle-thin skyscraper in New York City. At 59th Street and 2nd Avenue, one hundred stories up, the penthouse offered its owner, James T. Tower, also President of the United States, a 360-degree view of New York City. He was presently facing south and staring out over Midtown, the Village, Wall Street, even the new Freedom Tower — formerly the World Trade Center — as well as the tugs, barges and ferries plying New York Harbor. He could even discern the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the dim distance. Like the boats and buildings, they too were brilliantly illuminated.
"Now you can't tell me this apartment doesn't have the best view in the whole goddamn world," Brenda Tower, J. T.'s older sister, said.
President Tower stared at her a long moment, then grunted:
"Jules Meredith, my eternal journalistic naysayer, probably can."
"Fuck Jules Meredith," his sister said.
Brenda Tower was seated in an overstuffed blond leather armchair directly across from her brother, who was slumped at the end of a matching couch. On her right was a circular polished oak end table upon which sat a liter bottle of Rémy 100-year-old Napoléon cognac, a square cut-glass ash-tray and a large, hammered-silver cigarette holder — bearing the initials B. C. in black gothic type — containing two packs of Gauloises Blues. Alongside it was a matching initialed sterling-silver lighter. The woman was drinking brandy and smoking. She was always drinking brandy and smoking.
Decked out in a slinky black silk cocktail dress and ebony heels, she wore no jewelry. Slender of build, her thick shoulder-length hair was colored a tasteful lemon blond. Some of the most discreet, distinguished and exorbitantly expensive cosmetic surgeons on earth had artfully sculpted her exquisitely shaped facial features, most notably her high angular cheekbones. She consequently appeared at least fifteen years younger than her sixty-six years. Highly photogenic, she was routinely referred to by the fashion magazines as "a timeless beauty" and continually commented on her "patrician elegance." Most people, upon meeting her, confirmed that assessment.
Unless, of course, they looked into her eyes.
Granite-hard and glacier-cold, they discouraged intimacy, and she had few, if any, friends outside of her brother. Nor were the eyes misleading. Bitterly cynical, innately misanthropic, she neither sought nor wanted people's friendship; she mocked their opinions and cruelly spurned all but the most intrepid of lovers. Men often mistook her habitual disdain for all things male as presumptive evidence of lesbianism. In truth, Brenda Tower scorned most forms of physical and emotional contact regardless of gender.
"Jules Meredith says my needle towers are some kind of international criminal conspiracy," her brother said.
"Since when do you care what some hack reporter says?" Brenda asked with an indifferent shrug.
"That's what John D. Rockefeller said about Ida Tarbell, the so-called hack reporter whose History of the Standard Oil Company brought his business empire down around his ears."
"Jules Meredith isn't Ida Tarbell."
"Really?" Tower said. "Listen to what she wrote on the New York Times op-ed page this morning:"
* * *
Tower's last real estate development coup, which he had finalized just before his ascension to the U.S. presidency, was his erection of a half dozen one-hundred-story New York City needle towers. Each of them is a mere forty-six feet on edge, which, given their heights of over one thousand feet, makes them inherently unstable. These vertiginous, hideously dangerous eyesores are nothing more than another ugly example of J. T. Tower once again erecting monuments to his greed and hubris, a further flaunting of his ill-gotten riches and monstrous megalomania.
He calls these six eyesores "J. T.'s Towers of Power." He should have called them "Edifices of Avarice," since his company demands $40 million apiece for the condos, $150 million for the penthouses. Most purchases are made in cash, and virtually all of their purchasers buy them anonymously through shell companies. ISIS, al Qaeda, the New United Islamist Front and the Sinaloa drug cartels could be buying Tower's condos, and no one would know. Paying that much untraceable clandestine cash for real estate certainly suggests criminal activity. (Some would say such transactions are "presumptive evidence of criminal activity.") Otherwise why would his purchasers hide their identities and the source of their questionable currency? Tower's customers are truly members of that disreputable elite that Theodore Roosevelt called "the criminal rich" and the "malefactors of great wealth."
The people who buy Tower's condos and penthouses don't love New York City. They don't even live in it. They're just parking their foul-smelling lucre in J. T.'s odious abodes, so they can visit their money once every year or two and look down their noses at the rest of the city's inhabitants.
* * *
"Fuck her and the laptop she wrote that shit on," Brenda said. "She's just jealous she doesn't have a view like this."
"Times are changing, sis," J. T. said. "The world's metamorphosing all around us, and the ground is shifting under our feet. The country's madder than hornet-stung harpies at people like us. She could beat us."
"Are you saying that the UN's Anti-Inequality Initiative has a chance?" Brenda asked her brother.
"A better chance than it had a year ago," Tower said. "The Senate's Democratic majority is also pushing hard for the UN Anti-Inequality Resolution. They not only want to charge wealthy people like us with tax dodging, they want to expropriate half our offshore funds."
"At least the UN bill only wants to take a third of our offshore funds," Brenda said.
"You can't blame its supporters," Tower said. "It's a good deal for them — even though it's terrible for us."
Sighing wearily, President Tower glanced out over the city and caught his window reflection: a tall man — nearly six feet, four inches — casually attired in a black leather western-cut sport jacket, matching cowboy boots and pale blue jeans. He slowly nodded his approval. He liked the Wild West look. He thought it suited him. Then, however, his eyes drifted over to his face, and he winced. Heavily lined and hard-used, the face stared back at him, empty of affect or expression, its gaze pitiless as the sun. He was staring at a face that felt nothing, that cared for nothing, a face that neither asked nor gave with eyes cold as the grave. The face and eyes bothered even him.
No wonder you and your sister are so close, he thought. You're two of a kind — raised by the same heartless old man.
"I blame a lot of it on Jules Meredith," Tower said. "You ask me, she's a fucking Communist."
"And if she and the UN have their way," Brenda agreed, "Marx would finally win."
"It could happen," Tower conceded. "It's very hard for legislators to reject the will of their constituents."
"Then why don't you seem more concerned?" Brenda asked.
"Putilov says he's got something in the works," Tower said. "It's so hush-hush he won't tell me about it. He says it's because you and I need 'plausible deniability.' He also warned us not to go to that UN conference."
"Oh shit," Brenda said. "This could get ugly fast. Remember how Putilov consolidated his dictatorship?"
"Oh, yeah," Tower said.
"He blew up five Russian apartment complexes," Brenda said, "killing and injuring over thirteen hundred people. Blaming it on Chechen separatists, he declared martial law, invaded Chechnya and became Russia's dictator for life."
"Sheer fucking balls," Tower said, nodding appreciatively.
"Jimmy, it sounds like Putilov's going to hurt some people at the UN."
"Knowing Putilov," Tower said, "a lot of people will get hurt very bad."
"Very, very, very bad," his sister said. "And that doesn't bother you?"
"You mean because a bunch of pasty-faced, one-world, peace-creep assholes might get hurt," Tower asked, "I'm supposed to fucking care? Are you nuts? I hope Putilov drops daisy cutters on those UN cocksuckers."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Evil That Men Do"
Copyright © 2018 Robert Gleason.
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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