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Khan's Game

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A retired marine...too tough to kill.
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Rating: 4/5
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Description

Members of SEAL Team Six assassinated Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda has not forgotten. Ahmed Khan leads a hit team to the United States to kill the parents of SEAL Team Six members. Preston Pettigrew, a retired Marine, is a parent of a SEAL Team Six member who went on the operation. That makes him a target. A target who fights back.

Paperback coming soon.

Available at: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | 24Symbols | Scribd

Title Khan's Game
Author P. Marcus Bernhardt
Genre Suspense Thriller
Release April 3, 2018
Designer Charlotte Volnek
Length 226 e-pages
ISBN E=978-1-77127-996-3
Price $5.99
Tags suspense thriller, terrorists, murder,

Excerpt

Ahmed Khan, Federal prisoner number 497313, a hero of the Jihad, an adviser to Osama bin Laden, and Al Qaeda field commander waited for his ride out of prison. Dust announced the progress of a Brink’s truck as it barreled toward the chain link fence gates of Staleyville County Prison. The steel vehicle smashed through the aluminum outer gate drawing the full attention of everyone in the exercise yard, including the lone guard in the lookout tower. It ripped through the inner gate, slammed on the brakes, turned hard left, and stopped. The rear door flew open. Khan and fellow inmate, Arthur Wegman, a jihadist in training, scrambled into the back of the truck. The door slammed shut as the armored vehicle spun around and left the way it came, leaving clouds of dust in its wake.

Jeans, plaid shirts, and Nike running shoes awaited the escaped convicts. As they stripped off orange jumpsuits and changed into the street clothes, Khan spoke in Arabic to his compatriots who masterminded and executed the escape. “Good job. Great timing. What do you have for me?”

The stocky, bearded man in the front seat, Ali, handed a cell phone to Khan, “The coordinates are programmed. Just follow the map and you’ll reach the others. It’ll take at least three or four hours to get there on foot, but, they’ll be waiting. You should be halfway before they get a search party going.”

“What about him?” Khan said, still speaking Arabic. His head ticked toward Wegman.

“After we drop you off, we’ll head for the dump where two cars are stashed. Wegman’s won’t run. We’ll meet you after we lose the cops.”

“Good. If something goes wrong, kill him.”

Ali looked at Wegman, smiled and nodded. Wegman glanced first at Khan and then at Ali with narrowed eyes and a crinkled brow. He ran a hand over his close-cropped hair.

“Okay.” Khan gave instructions to Wegman in English, “I get out soon. You go with Ali. He has car for you. Follow them. Ali, where will you meet?”

“Meet at Wendy’s in Staunton near expressway. Map will be in car. Don’t get caught. Okay?” Ali said.

“Where are you going? Why can’t I go with you?” Wegman asked.

“I’ll be on foot and you’d slow me down. You and Ali are splitting up cops. Run them around and try to lose them. We all meet in eight hours.”

Wegman nodded his head. “Okay, you’re the boss.”

“Don’t forget it.”

Khan eyed the cell phone and pushed start on the programmed app. A voice in Arabic said, “Turn right in three hundred yards.” The armored car slowed. Ali handed Khan two bottles of water and a 9mm handgun.

“You are at your destination,” a voice from the phone said.

Khan jumped from the back door and ran into the woods, out of sight. The truck sped toward its next stop. Once Khan cleared the road, he stopped and surveyed his surroundings. About half a mile off to his right stood a faded white, square farmhouse. He was well hidden behind the tree line and dismissed any fear he’d been noticed.

He reset the GPS on his phone. A topographical map appeared along with a small compass. The Arabic speaker said to maintain a two hundred twenty-five-degree heading. After aligning the compass with a cleared swath cutting through the middle of a Blue Ridge foothill for power transmission lines, he began his cross-country trek at a jog. The sheared corn fields provided no cover. He left an easy trail to follow, but with his head start, it wouldn’t be an issue. Giving him three or four hours needed for the trek, he would arrive at the rendezvous by sunset.

After jogging about fifteen minutes, he came to a treed oasis and took a break to catch his breath and listen. Muted sirens wailed in the distance. The search was still confined to the main roads. There were no crackling leaves or snapping twigs. No one was within close proximity. A helicopter’s strobe lights flashed in the far sky.

The oasis turned out to be a forest that ran up and down the western Virginia Piedmont. The exceptionally dry summer left the landscape brown and lifeless. No vibrant fall colors graced the forest, and the colors of autumn had faded. Each step crushed dried leaves and twigs. The noise he made was of no concern; he must keep moving. Even if a search party followed him, it would take them thirty minutes or more to get organized.

The forest emptied into another cut cornfield. A helicopter would be able to spot him from miles away. The next cover seemed to be about a half mile away. Khan ran for it at full-out sprint. His lungs burned and strained for air as he reached the trees. He was out of shape. Years ago, he jogged for hours at a time, including going up and down rugged mountain trails. As he steadied himself against a massive oak and panted, he sensed movement behind him. Two people emerged from the foliage on the other side of the field. The urge to flee pumped his adrenaline. He ducked into some bushy foliage and checked his GPS, which verified he was two-thirds of the way there and right on course.

Zigzagging through a stand of trees, he kept a tree between him and his trackers. Now he wished he had been more careful. Still, he’d seen them and knew where they were. An hour later, another open field faced him. A large stand of trees occupied the middle of it. The GPS showed it as the rendezvous spot. He shook his head and cursed whoever chose this place.

He stayed in the trees as long as he could, stopping by a live oak with gnarled roots. He needed a break, but he couldn’t risk taking his time with a search party headed his way. He made a dash for the treed oasis. As he neared, someone called out, “Ahmed Khan, is that you?”

“Yes. It’s me. Shut up.” Khan hissed as he dove for cover.

The oasis held a surprising and welcoming cool. Khan was spent. He guzzled the canister of water offered to him by one of the three team members who huddled together out of sight of the on-coming search party. They each held an AK-47, and an ammo belt with holster and pistol. Two shotguns leaned against an ATV. Two dirt bikes rested alongside. Khan took one of the shotguns, cleared the chamber, aimed, and pulled the trigger on the empty chamber.

“This I missed in prison. They didn’t let us shoot.” Khan quipped. His crew laughed along with him. He held his hand up. “I’m being followed. It’ll be dark soon, then we get out of here.”

Khan ordered Said, a veteran of Al Qaeda, with a weathered, scarred face as evidence of his experience, to lay low at the edge of the trees and watch for any sign of the approaching danger.

Khan sat on the ATV. The second Al Qaeda militant, Omar, handed him a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds and a bag of pita chips.

“We eat kebabs, later,” Omar said.

Khan nodded, then faced the third member. “Ibrahim, good planning. I was going to curse you for this spot. But it’s good. It’s good.... What have you done in last month?”

“We have list of seven SEAL Team Six families. Abdul killed a father of one the other day in a car wreck. He acted like he was Latino and was deported. He made it back to Peru. Timur is in Ohio watching another family. One lives close to here in Staleyville. I show you tomorrow.”

Khan raised his eyebrows. “This is good news, Ibrahim. We’ll take care of them right away.”

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Reviews

Monday, 28 May 2018
No easing into this adventure. The action starts immediately. You quickly make friends or in some cases enemies with the characters. A great read as you try to figure out what will happen next. Who will survive, is someone in the government a part of the plot and will an unlikely friendship evolve into more?

Paul Cary,NC
pethompson
Thursday, 05 April 2018
A page turner full of action with a leading character that is tough and gritty, but also has a sensitive real side. Loved it!

Janet
Janet
Monday, 02 April 2018
From the first page to the last page, the action is nonstop. The protagonist is a no nonsense gruff, retired Marine who is bent on revenge for those he loves. This is a very suspenseful novel that is both entertaining and thought provoking.
Robert Boyle
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