Sunday, April 17, 2011

Excerpt: Declaration of Surrender by Jim Burkett

I'm very excited to be bringing you an excerpt from Jim Burkett's novel, Declaration of Surrender. While I don't seem to have enough hours in the day to read, this book is on my Kindle waiting for me - it's just the type of international thriller that I love!

Believing either Germany or Japan are about to win the war against the United States in early 1945, several members of Congress conspire to protect their own wealth by secretly creating a document that would give the rights of ownership of all U.S. properties and land over to the leading country before the end of the war is actually declared.

Signed by the President, the document is passed along underground to the Germans but is eventually confiscated back by U.S. Treasury agents along with account ledgers worth millions of dollars sitting in hidden Swiss bank accounts. Days later the agents are found murdered and the documents gone.

DHS agent Nick West is thrust into the world of government assassins and sought after for treason by his own country when he discovers the location of the missing sixty-five year old document but refuses to disclose its whereabouts in order to protect his own men.

When a leading government systems analyst is found tortured and beaten to death and Nick’s wife is taken hostage, he must form an alliance with an injured enemy Russian assassin in order to find and protect the document from ‘what’s coming’ before time runs out for them and his country.

What readers are saying:

"Jim Burkett's first novel is a riveting page-turner with strong characters and a twisting plot that ties WWII history and current covert espionage into a world-changing knot. Burkett's extensive knowledge of computers and electronic surveillance and security augments the book's air of authenticity. Move over Clancy." - author, Bruce Hunt

And now for the excerpt:

Nick had been caught off guard for one of the few times in his life. He decided there was no reason to withhold the basics of his background. “Six years SEALs, which I can’t tell you about. NYPD once, Secret Service and now with DHS, at least up until recently. How do you know so much about guns?”

Manny held her gaze. “Start with NYPD."

“Four years SWAT. Mostly bank robberies, some crazies here and there, protecting visiting heads of state and other high profiles. Drug busts, those types of things.”

“So you go from SWAT to Secret Service, big jump and fast. How did that happen?” She was leaning with her back to the sink, having laid the gun on the counter.

“One day we received a call that a female student had been taken hostage from her university dorm room. We get to ground zero and it all looks normal except there are no police and what we think are only a few students roaming the immediate area. It turns out the student is a senator’s niece that’s been taken. The senator is a longtime close friend of the President, which explains to us why no one had alerted the media and why the public had been cleared by Security, or the Secret Service.”

“Fortunately, she was smart enough to turn off and drop her cell phone down the front of her pants when they grabbed her, then turned it back on and stuffed it between some towels when they gave her a bathroom break. We triangulated on the signal and were there in less than ten minutes. Since I was lead, I took command and began to set up from my best vantage point about three hundred meters away. I spread the other team members out across three other rooftops. Car plates in front of the building showed the vehicle belonged to a new boyfriend of the nieces’ roommate.”

“I thought you guys did background checks on all those boyfriends and girlfriends?” said Manny.

“Brand new boyfriend, so no one knew about him. We ran an infrared scan that showed two subs and the girl on the third floor, two feet inside to the right of the window. The building was made of old cinder block, practically falling down around them. Without warning and before my team was fully in place, some rookie negotiator jumps on a bullhorn and scares everyone in the building.”

“I’m watching through my scope when I saw both subs pull their weapons and point them at the girls’ head along with one of the subs moving along side of his buddy, extending his right arm, getting ready to shoot the girl. There’s no more time, so I pulled the trigger and the round passes through the brick wall and the heads of both subs. One shot, two kills.”

Nick was hoping he had impressed Manny, but if he had, it wasn’t showing on her face. “That’s a heck of a shot at three hundred meters without seeing who you’re shooting at.”

Nick could see that Manny wasn’t questioning why he took the shot, it was more of why he would put the girl at such risk. “Actually, we are qualified at one thousand meters, so it wasn’t that difficult. Remember I had infrared goggles and scope, I knew where they were standing and what I was shooting at.”

“Ok, so I’m guessing because you saved the senator’s niece, you get offered any dream job you want and now you’re buds with the President?”

Nick could sense some sarcasm but didn’t understand why. “I’m not a blue suit, if that’s what you’re thinking. I instruct the different agencies coming through DHS in counterattack and counterterrorism. I spend my time in surveillance, planning, briefing to and on intelligence, training and running background checks so we can get the bad guys. Do you understand any of this, and what is your problem all of the sudden?”

Manny reached down, took hold of the barrel, turned the butt towards Nick and placed it down next to his cup of coffee. She hesitated for a moment, then said, “Like you say, it’s my problem.”

A hard knock at the door startled both of them as they heard it open, along with the voices of several women laughing and hollering. “Oh shit,” said Manny, “you’ve got to get out of here, now!” But it was too late. Nick shoved the pistol in his back waistband and pulled the shirt corners around, having forgotten to button up the front. He had just started to stand when three new faces appeared in the kitchen doorway, all talk suddenly stopping, mouths falling agape. The three stood staring at Nick for a few moments, then Manny, then back again.

Nick recognized the one in front immediately, not knowing why. After a moment he realized she was an identical twin to Manny. He could see the only difference was the color of their eyes. Manny’s were a dark green emerald and the other women’s light green with a few small specks. He could not make out any other differing characteristics.

“I guess I didn’t leave quick enough, huh?” Nick could not help himself and wondered if he could keep a straight face. He walked closer to Manny, looked at her affectionately and said “Last night was great. I’m sorry I have to run, but maybe we can do this again really soon, ok?” With that he placed both hands on her shoulders, leaned across and kissed her lightly on the cheek. She shot him a look of hate and he knew it was time to leave. The girls backed up without taking their eyes off of him as he walked past.

“Ladies,” said Nick as he passed through the door.

Jim Burkett was born in a small coal mining town of West Virginia while his father was serving in Korea. Once his father returned, the family was transferred to Hawaii were they spent the next five years stationed at Hickum Air Force Base. While stationed in Hawaii, Jim spent as much time touring the submarines while they were in port as he was allowed. Their next tour took them to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. For six years, he spent his weekends going with his father to the different base facilities, often allowed permission to spend time with the airmen and officers listening to and watching as they went about their assignments, working on the planes and transports mechanics. At the age of 13, he lost his father who by this time was serving overseas once again. Years later, while pursuing a Computer Science degree, he met his future wife Cathy and they were married a year and a half later. Still married after 35 years, they have two sons and have been blessed with two grandchildren. In addition to his current Senior Systems Analyst position, he also serves as a senior staff photographer for a local magazine in the Tampa Bay area. Previously, he wrote a column for the SouthWinds Sailing magazine and worked on several projects including spending a week photographing the Canadian Olympic Team prior to the Beijing Olympics and the “Earthrace” boat which would later set a world speed record circumnavigating the globe. In 2006, he received the “Volunteer of the Year” award for his work with the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Through his photography and writing, he feels privileged to have met and spent time with such men as General Tommy Franks, George Steinbrenner, Pete Bethune and Steve Yerrid to name only a few. One of his closest friends is a retired Secret Service agent who once served on Presidential detail under six presidents. Holding close to his military roots, he has continued to study military history and high-tech science and blends these into his first book Declaration of Surrender.

only $2.99 on Kindle!


Barbara Silkstone said...

That excerpt got me. I'm clicking over to buy Declaration of Surrender. Sounds very interesting.BTW... Love that cover!

Markee Anderson said...

Jim...I have Declaration of Surrender and can't WAIT to read it. Thank you for writing it and being a super guy!

L.C. Evans said...

Declaration of Surrender sounds like a great book. I really enjoyed reading the excerpt as well as your author bio.

Arthur Levine said...

Excellent read.

Arthur Levine

Jim Burkett said...

Thank you for your comments everyone. I hope you do take a look at the book, as there are quite a few surprises that I understand keep you turning the pages late into the night.

'American Sanction' is the sequel due out in July and picks right up where this one leaves off, answering a few questions left open from the original. The sequel has a very mean spirited villian which you will hate from the opening chapter.

If anyone has any questions about either book, please let me know and I will tell you as much as I can.

Thanks and happy reading,
Jim Burkett