Author Showcase – Declan Finn

As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must
protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope’s
latest project is to make Pius XII, “Hitler’s Pope,” a saint. Things
haven’t gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan.
Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep.
Soon, a pattern emerges– people who go into the Pius
XII historical archives are dying. Each time, a priest has been in the
background– a priest close to the Pope. One of the victims was an al-Qaeda
operative, drawing Scott “Mossad” Murphy of Israeli intelligence to
Rome.
Now, Ryan, Murphy and Figlia must join forces to
unravel the mystery around the Vatican, as even the man Giovanni is supposed to
protect looks like a suspect. To get out of this alive, they must discover if
Hitler’s Pope was a Nazi collaborator, or a pious man.
Purchase Links! 

A Pius Man comes in paperback:  http://tinyurl.com/co5b7ry
Or kindle: http://tinyurl.com/ca485zu
YouTube Links
Announcement trailer: http://youtu.be/1RhluSCj02M
“Ultimate trailer” (the announcement trailer, without the
intro): http://youtu.be/HTNSFGzF_9U
“Bear Witness” Trailer: http://youtu.be/vQihR0Muui4
Character trailers
The “Papal security” trailer: http://youtu.be/ETo-V3KX5jc
The Mossad Trailer: http://youtu.be/0bJCTJLhJlM

Blurb ~

After a small
nuclear war in 2090, a third of the world is in ruins, along with the Western
half of the United States. Three years later, spy Kevin Anderson and his team
are sent to find the nuclear arsenal of the Islamic Republic of France. When
his team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them, Kevin is out for blood.
Hunted by an army, Kevin must kill the Senators before the next team is sent to
their deaths. Without resources, or support, it’s almost certainly a suicide
mission. But Kevin will gladly make this sacrifice, for his codename is
Winterborn.

EXCERPT FROM CODENAME:
WINTERBORN
Kevin chuckled and shook his head,
lowering his binoculars.  Most people
would have problems wondering what a man, dressed in black atop of a roof,
would find funny.
Not in a dozen years could he have
predicted this.  When he had sent photos
to the man’s wife, he figured that she would be a good potential suspect while
he killed Zalak Patel.  That she would go
postal and kill both him and his
mistress was something Kevin couldn’t have imagined.
He guessed it was a good thing that
he phoned in the double homicide after Zalak arrived.   His wife would literally be caught
red-handed, with the bodies still warm. It wasn’t the plan, but Kevin would
take it.
Kevin frowned. But, still, the
mistress wasn’t part of the plan. He didn’t like collateral damage on his
missions.  He figured that this was going
to hurt.  After his pain and anger had
left him, he would feel the death of the poor, drug-addled girl in the
apartment as keenly as he knew he should have. Surely, those things happened in
war, but not in the course for justice. 
Bombing a target to clear out a bunch of terrorists might kill a few
civilians, but that was a matter of what ethics professors call double effect –
killing the enemy resulted in the death of others.
Kevin knew he could come up with
endless justifications and excuses. 
True, she was an addict, and she knew what sort of person she was
involved with.  And Kevin didn’t intend
for her to get in the crossfire, so double-effect applied.  But he wouldn’t have accepted these excuses
from someone under his command, and he wouldn’t accept them from himself,
either. All of those were good, solid reasons for exempting himself, morally,
from the girl’s death.  But that wouldn’t
make her death any easier on him in the long run. 
I’m going to have to be more careful.
Kevin bent down to put the binoculars
away, and heard the whiz of a bullet snapping by his head.  He dove and rolled across the roof, landing
behind a ventilation system as bullet strikes dotted the ground around him, and
bounced off of his armored black combat jacket. 
He blinked.  If I hadn’t dropped when I did, I’d be
dead.
He cleared his throat.  “Mandy,
can I help you with something?”
Kevin heard a light,
musical bit of laughter. It was light and bubbly, like Mozart’s music…though
in this case, Kevin would have sworn the piece was from the Requiem. “You
can stand still a moment and let me play a little William Tell.”
“Sorry, fresh out of
apples.”
“I’m sure we can
figure something out,” she called back.
Kevin frowned with
thought.  “This is all for your bottom
line?”
“And when they
figure out that you’re after them, my price will skyrocket.”
He blinked.  “You mean they don’t know already?  And you didn’t tell them?  Mandy, no offense, but what the hell do you
think you’re doing?”
There was a pause.  He didn’t waste too much time trying to
figure out why she hesitated, but God, was he curious.  If she told the senators, she could become
rich.  The down payment on the contract
would double. Triple, eventually—by the time he whittled away enough of the
senators, the cheapskates might even begin calculating geometrically.
The rest of his mental faculties were
focused on the HVAC unit in front of him, pushing off pulses of heat at his
face.  He cocked his head at it, staring
for a moment, then smiled, pulled out his combat knife, and then slowly pushed
it into the head of the screw.  He twisted
it slowly at first, and once he realized it wasn’t making noise, he went faster.
“As long as you keep killing off the
ones that deserve it, I’m not in any hurry to warn them,” she answered. “But
I’m quite happy to take you out when the opportunity presents itself.”
Kevin had one screw out, time for the
next one.  He was certain that she was
using the time to circle around him, and he didn’t bring a gun with him.  “I didn’t know you were into public service
homicides, Mandy.”
“Who do you think most of my targets
are?  Choir boys?”
Another screw hit the roof.  “And me? 
My team?”
“I thought the damn French would get
the job done and I wouldn’t need to get my hands dirty,” she told him.  “Besides, there are some of the guys in your
line of work who make serial killers look good. 
How was I supposed to know you weren’t one of them?  From a file that says you like killing
everyone yourself?”
Henry always thought I enjoyed my job
too much. Why am I surprised she saw the same thing?
The third screw hit the ground, and
the panel swung down, the corner hitting the roof.  Kevin thought a curse as he heard Mandy step
closer.  He grabbed the panel with both
hands and tore at it, ripping it free from the last screw.  He jumped to one side and hurled the metal
panel at Mandy like a giant shuriken. 
The Merc ducked and fired, narrowly missing his skull.
He dove over the end of the roof and
came down hard, landing exactly where he wanted to—on the fire escape.
His next leap took him straight down
the stairs, jumping down almost to the next landing.  He jumped over the side of the stairs, and
landed on the next set, and kept going in that fashion, making it down several
stories in several seconds.
The stairs sparked where the bullets
struck, but each one narrowly missed Anderson as he leapt from landing to
landing. He was on the ground within moments, and dropped at a run, sprinting
down the alley and across the street in the blink of an eye.
*
Kevin Anderson
slowed down to a walk as he neared his hotel. 
The last thing he wanted was a bellman looking at him strangely as he
sprinted in.  He strolled in calmly, as
though he owned the place. With the credit card bill he would rack up by the
time his stay was over, he might as well own it.
The first thing he
noticed upon walking in wasn’t the plush carpets, or the fine wood paneling. It
wasn’t the lounge on his left—an elevated platform three steps off the ground,
surrounded by brass bars (unlike other hotels, for “other clientele”, there
were ashtrays on almost every linen-covered coffee table). It was the lobby
full of military men. 
Oh crap. He looked around.  Everyone there had obvious military training,
but he couldn’t tell where they had come from. They were all in simple black
uniforms and outfits, and no one wore olive drab, oddly enough.  No Marine green, Air Force blue… just black.
They, too, were in
the hotel lobby as though they owned the place. 
They lounged about, smoking, drinking liquor for the most part. They
were the quietest group of grunts having fun that he had ever seen.
He blinked and
realized exactly what they were… They were Mercenaries.
Anderson felt his
pulse rate steadily climb.  Had they
found him?  Was this Mandy’s idea of
reinforcements?
He forced himself
calm and continued walking.  He stepped
right past the lounge straight for the elevators.  He tapped the up button, and felt, more than
heard anyone behind him.
Six Mercenaries were
right there, standing directly behind him. All of them had duffel bags and
suitcases.  Remain calm.  Externally, he frowned thoughtfully and shook
his head.  One of the Mercenaries, a
nearly seven-foot monster, smiled down at him.
“What’s the matter,
never seen a Merc before?”
Anderson smiled
sheepishly.  “No, I haven’t, really.  There a convention in town?”
One of the smaller
ones shook his head.  “Just a large-scale
contract.”
Kevin nodded thoughtfully
and stepped into the back of the elevator when it came.  He tapped the top floor on his way by.
The seven
Mercenaries hit a button for a different floor each as they slowly, quietly
piled into the elevator.  The largest one
tucked himself into the corner next to Kevin on one side, and one that was 6’3”
stood next to him on the other.  The next
five piled in front, pressing him against the back wall so much that he could
smell the sweat and aftershave of those around him.
“So,” a guy in front
said, “who do you think is going to get this guy first, us or Mandy?”
The one next to
Anderson chuckled.  A deep, rumbling
laugh. “It’s only a few hundred of us against one of her, just to get one
fellow.  I think the odds are about
even.”
“Where are we going
to start looking for this Anderson schmuck?”
The elevator came to
a stop, and the first one let out. 
“Probably every rat-infested hellhole in this city.  See you guys later.”
The doors slowly
slid closed, and the elevator’s room increased a bit.  It then, slowly, started inching its way to
the next floor.
“Personally,” the
giant said, “the main problem is that this fellow looks so damned ordinary, we
could probably walk right by him and not even notice.”
The one on the other
side of Anderson looked right over his head and smiled.  “Yeah, tell me about it.  Wouldn’t it be really stupid if that
happened?  Hell, I’ve studied this guy’s
picture so long that I thought half the guys in the room downstairs looked just
like him.  This guy could be him,”
he said, gesturing at Anderson.
The elevator crawled
to a stop again, and Anderson waited for at least one of the two guys on either
side of him to just plain leave already.
“Hell, I remember
something about the British one time looking for a guy in Dublin, only they couldn’t
find him.  And the guy stayed in the same
freaking hotel as them.”
Now Anderson’s blood
ran cold.  One good hard look at the
guest list here and—
“Are you kidding
me?  Look at who we’re looking for.  He—”
The elevator’s ping
interrupted him and he hefted his duffel and moved through the Mercenaries in
front of him, out the door.
Kevin Anderson
winced.  Now he had to leave, when
one of them was starting to be helpful.
Anderson glanced at
the seven-foot monstrosity next to him, and wondered how long it would take the
giant to get bored listening to Mozart as muzak and pay attention to the guy
next to him.
The doors inched
closed, and Kevin’s heart began to race again.
A hand shot out
between them from the other side, forcing the doors open.  The Merc who just left stepped back
inside.  “Sorry, wrong floor.”  He resumed his place and the doors slid shut
again.  He waited until the elevator started
moving to say, “Anyway, like I said, this guy doesn’t know how much more
traveling he’ll have to do, and he’s operating on limited resources. Staying at
a place like this would just suck him as dry as a cock after a blow job.”
The elevator stopped
again.  Another one stepped out with a
wave to the others.  He kicked out his
duffel into the hallway and stepped out after it.
“But the problem
there is,” said the giant, “where would Anderson hide?  Seriously? 
Some rat hole? A few wanted posters and this guy would be as good as
caught.  We wouldn’t even need to be as
open about it; we could just do a door to door with a photo.”
“Yes, but where?”
the Mercenary’s friend said. “Between DC, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, he
could be anywhere.  And once Congress
adjourns next week, we’d be screwed.”
Kevin blinked. Crap,
he’d forgotten about that.  Congress
would adjourn, and all of his targets would scatter.  Granted, there wasn’t as much country as
there used to be, but once that happened, he’d need to do a lot of
traveling.  The first thing he would need
to do would be to burn the files of those men already killed.  Each file was the size of a freaking Tolstoy
novel, so carrying them around would be murder. 
Hell, he would probably have to pay attention to the pertinent details
on all of them and burn them all.
The elevator came to
yet another stop, letting out a third member of the party.  Three more stops, and four more people left.
“By the way, when’s
chow time?” the biggest one asked.
“Around seven,” said
his friend. “Hotel restaurant.”
“Great,” said one of
the smaller ones in front.  He got off as
well.  “See y’all there.”
The 6’3” guy nodded
towards him, and he picked up his bags as the doors closed.  “I’m the next stop.  I guess we’ll have to discuss this all later.  Save me a seat, would you?”
The seven-footer
nodded to him as the next stop came.  The
other two Mercenaries left, leaving Anderson alone in the same elevator with
him.  The big Mercenary breathed out
softly, and leaned his head against the elevator’s back wall.  Anderson stepped away from him to the
opposite corner, grateful for the breathing room. The elevator’s second to last
stop let out the last Merc, and Anderson smiled, even before the doors started
to close.
A hand shot back
into the elevator, forcing the doors open. 
The monstrous Mercenary held a firm grip on the door, and Kevin Anderson
suddenly realized just how big those hands were.  Something along the lines of frozen
turkeys.  I am in such deep crap.
The doors inches
open again, and the large Merc poked his head in, looking straight at
Anderson.  “Hey, you.”
Anderson
blinked.  “Um, yes?”
“I just thought of
something.”
“Yeah?”
“Sorry about
crowding you,” the giant told him. “Listening to business like ours must be as
boring as hell.”
Anderson
grinned.  “Hey, not a problem. It happens
a lot.  I’m from New York. You don’t know
crowded unless you ride the subways.  At
rush hour.”
The Merc chuckled,
and let the door close. “Have a good day.”
The doors slid shut,
and the elevator was well on its way to the top floor when Kevin let out a
whoop of laughter.

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