A look at my upcoming novel, Hunting in the Shadows, due out at the end of May.  The operators of Praetorian Security find themselves in Kirkuk, Iraq, performing some covert operations…

After enough time in hostile environments, you begin to develop a sixth sense for what the military calls the “atmospherics” of a place.  Your mind starts to pick up on all the little cues that tell you that you’re in a relatively safe area, or somewhere that things are about to go very, very bad.  You can look at the young men loitering on the street and figure out if they’re just being lazy, or getting ready to start a riot or trigger an ambush.

We hadn’t even been on the ground in Kirkuk for a day, and that sense was already going gangbusters.

Even before Jim and I got in our Bongo truck and rolled out of the Kurdish quarter at about 0200, there was a sense of impending violence in the air.  The safehouse we had set up was as deep in Kurdish territory as you could get in this divided city, but there really weren’t any hard and fast barriers in Kirkuk.  An IED had gone off in the Rahim Awa Square less than a mile away only a week before we got there.  There had been several shootings just across from the Arrafa Estate over the last month.  That said something about how far downhill things had gotten; Arrafa was pretty swank.  Generally speaking, rich Arabs didn’t do their own shooting and bombing.  They contracted that out to the poor suckers they could convince would go to Paradise for killing a few infidels.  Or Kurds.  Or Shi’ites.  You get the idea.