As a former Special Operations soldier, Deckard freelanced as a mercenary and got more than he bargained for. Now, as the commander of a Private Military Company called Samruk International, Deckard finds work as Mexico begins its final decent into chaos.
Hitting the ground with a small recon element, he will first have to rescue a newly minted police chief named Samantha from the clutches of a drug cartel before blitzing across southern Mexico. However, he can’t do it alone. His success hinges on forging an unlikely alliance between Samruk International, Zapatista rebels, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Stewmaker. Captain Nemo. The Beast. These are a few of the human savages that Deckard and his mercenaries will have to trade fire with as they service one target after the next. But in the background, watching and waiting, is a far more dangerous threat. The Arab works behind the scenes, instigating conflicts and initiating one crisis after the next.
As Deckard follows The Arab’s bloody trail, he finds that it leads north, into the very heart of America.
Read the first chapter of the book Target Deck
What Came Before
For those of you who are interested in reading Target Deck but have not read the first Deckard novel, Reflexive Fire, I will help get you up to speed with this post. First off, you can jump right into Target Deck and follow along just fine if you have not read the first book even if few references to the previous novel might not make sense to you. That said, I will summarize for you here.
Reflexive Fire introduces the protagonist named Deckard. He is a former Special Operations soldier who is currently on the outs with his former employers in the CIA. At the moment he is accepting jobs from a handler, a shady Vietnam-era Special Forces veteran who assigns him targets for assassination. Okay, so you’re thinking that you’ve seen this plot plenty of times before, I know. That’s just the intro.
Deckard’s handler sends him undercover using an alias to Bohemian Grove. A secretive cabal is planning something huge, but he doesn’t know what so Deckard is sent into the fray to find out. The cabal of old men hire Deckard to lead a battalion of Kazakh mercenaries. Traveling to Kazakhstan Deckard takes charge of Samruk International and begins training and equipping his own private Army in preparation for whatever plot the cabal has in mind.
The novel chronicles Deckard efforts to uncover this plot while simultaneously preparing Samruk International and accepting actual combat operations from the cabal that take him to Afghanistan and Burma. They want Samruk to eliminate a number of drug lords around the world for reasons unknown. For the time being, Deckard has to play along.
When he does discover the real purpose behind Samruk International and what the cabal have planned (it is real end-of-the-world type business) Deckard flips the switch on their plans. He re-purposes Samruk International and turns them against his employers. It will take a small Army to defeat them but that’s exactly what Deckard now has at his disposal. It’s a real blood bath so check out Reflexive Fire if you missed it.
Target Deck picks up perhaps two months after the events of Reflexive Fire. Deckard and what is left of his mercenary battalion are cooling their heels in Kazakhstan and expecting some kind of retaliation for the stunt they pulled at the conclusion of Reflexive Fire. That retaliation never happens as high level members of the defense and intelligence community know they dropped the ball and are secretly thankful for what Deckard did.
Receiving a desperate call for help, Deckard leads a small element to Mexico. A local police chief asks him to conduct some recon and prepare for follow on operations directed against the drug cartels that have taken over his jurisdiction. In short order, the chief is murdered and his daughter (who has inherited his title) is kidnapped by one of the cartels. With his employer dead, Deckard doesn’t feel he can leave the girl in the lurch and launches a rescue operation. This is the first scene of Target Deck.
Who This Book is For
I write these books for modern audiences and those who are ready for this genre to grow up beyond superficial political messages and platitudes.
Today’s readers are smarter, and more informed, than readers were even just a decade ago. People know the difference between the Marines Corp and the 82nd Airborne. They know the difference between an M16 and an AK-47, so I don’t write down to the reader or insult their intelligence. Those who really don’t know can look simple things like this up on Wikipedia, they don’t need me to wax poetic about it for ten pages and waste their time.
However, Reflexive Fire and Target Deck are not elitist books. Everyone from SOF veterans to housewives has been able to read and enjoy them. I did write the book for intelligent readers in general, not just for military vets.
In the 1980’s the “men’s adventure” genre really exploded into the literary scene. Vietnam veterans were interested in reading these types of books and the reading public was interested in hearing about these experiences. Furthermore, the world was still facing off against the communist menace and books where the good guys win (as opposed to Vietnam or early Counter-Terrorist operations such as Desert One) were extremely popular.
I’m excited to be a part of the re-emergence of this genre as many US military veterans are returning home and sitting down to write. Like veteran writers of the past, they are writing novels that reflect their experiences and the unique aspects of the conflicts that they fought in.
I think of it as the second wave of the military fiction genre, and although I was one of the earlier members of it, I wasn’t the first and certainly will not be the last! Look for more on this topic when SOFREP releases our book blog…
I hope everyone enjoys reading Target Deck as much as I did writing it, as I really pushed myself to take this book several steps beyond what readers are familiar with. While most novels would end when the protagonist defeats the drug lord, that is where this book starts to get really interesting as Deckard begins to question why the cartel has access to large stockpiles of US military weapons.
The Fast and Furious scandal broke while I was writing this book, effecting the direction I took it in. As I developed some contacts I found that “Fast and Furious” is really just a drop in the bucket compared to some of the other shady stuff going on.
Please let me know what you think of the book, your feedback is always welcome!
Deckard will return for the third novel in this series titled Direct Action but I’ll discuss that some other time.