Every privilege has a price, and protecting the innocent carries a cost. Harold finds himself in a world where friend and foe are hard to decipher as he attempts to save his father’s defense company. To add to his struggle, Harold must deal with the accusing specter of John Richmond. John reminds Harold how much the berserker inside him enjoyed taking John’s life. Is he a killer? Will he kill again? Joshua and Maria Zeev remind Harold he is not alone in his quest. CIA agent Darla Johanson has Harold’s heart, but are her motives pure? Harold discovers the link between CIA agent Garcia Hernandez and his family, but is it true? Can Harold trust a man whose cover is that of a dirty intelligence agent? Whom can Harold trust as the team attempts to bring in illegal arms dealer Chuck McGill? A man who provides weapons to ISIS factions, and other terror organizations in northern Africa. Will Harold be forced to kill again to ensure his, and his friends’ survival? Does agent Garcia’s plan to save Parabolic Defense Systems have merit, or will he use the company’s resources and then leave it bankrupt?
One of the most enjoyable parts of writing "Harold and the Shadow of Death" is the interaction between Joshua and Harold. Not only do we get to see Joshua from an external viewpoint, but we also get to enjoy the comradery that has developed since the deaths of Harold's parents. Writing these scenes always brought a smile to my face.
When I created Darla's character in "Joshua and the Shadow of Death" I already knew she would be Harold's love interest throughout the series. She had to be a woman who was Harold's equal in both intelligence and physical capabilities. That was a challenge given Harold is a Berserker. What she lacks in extraordinary rage, she makes up for in training and experience.
Two months before my life turned upside down, my wife and I spent two weeks in the Florida Keys for our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I fell in love with the Keys, but I never dreamed one of the resorts we were residing in would one day make it into a suspense spy novel, or any novel for that matter. This blurb was inspired by our real hotel room at Post Card Inn Beach Resort and Marina at Holiday Isle on Islamorada.
I wanted to contrast Harold's young love with that of Joshua's in the previous book. Joshua was pensive, unsure, and overly analytical when it came to interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, Harold is young and not intimidated by many people. This gives him the freedom to simply enjoy his life and develop relationships without much fear. His inexperience and trusting manner will lead him into interactions his life was never taught to deal with.
I spent a lot of time researching different locations for the series. For the original novel "The Berserker" I looked into a used yacht for sale in the Mediterranean. I fell in love with it and knew this was the perfect ship for my novel, and later for the series. I still have all of the sales photos on my hard drives and in the cloud. Occasionally Harold and I will spend a few minutes gazing at the pictures and wishing we were on board.
During my Southern California book tour, we had an incident that made an impression on me. When I returned to North Carolina, I knew I had to find a way to include it in Harold's story. The resulting chapter is one of my favorites in the series thus far both for its humor and interaction among the characters.
Although I grew up around the west coast space and defense program, I did not model the location of Parabolic Defense Systems after the company where my father worked. PDS is modeled after an actual defense company nestled in the Malibu hills. Parabolic's logo does not belong to that company, but is an original that belongs to the late Richard Brown.
"Joshua and the Shadow of Death" was about dealing with loss. "Harold and the Angel of Death" is about the challenges we face trying to rebuild after a tragedy. Harold's story begins with a nightmare. We often dream in different ways when our lives are filled with tremendous stress. Our dreams take different forms and often seem as real as the world around us. As you journey with Harold through his story you will be challenged to decide if what Harold is seeing in his sleep is simply a trick of the mind, or is it something more?
Enjoy another downhome anthology of humor, misadventure, and common-sense country insight. Travel from the farm to the city and the mountains to the coast. Join Lucius as he crosses paths with cabin loving bears and beer loving motorcycle enthusiasts. Follow his coastal escapades as he ponders tourists, encounters coed minstrels, and outruns a Carolina hurricane. Contemplate with our hillbilly as he experiences a first-hand miracle and tangles with specters and spooks. Carolina laughter and a few thrills await.
Lukus, or the man who has inspired Lukus, is unflappable. I can count on two fingers the number of times I have seen him get upset in the 29 years I have known him. This conversation captures the spirit of the many discussions we shared together over the years.
You should always pay attention when something exciting happens in your life. You never know when that moment will become part of a larger story. This encounter with a black bear happened exactly as Lucius describes it. I estimate I was mere inches from the animal's mouth based on his warm breath and the fact that the air smelled like something had died inside of it. Yet, to this day, I can laugh about the dangerous encounter.
I cannot imagine doing a Lucius book without Wobbly. He represents everything we all love in the American mutt. Our dogs are often goofy and perhaps a bit ugly.They are also more loving and loyal than any human being. Sometimes that love will manifest in ways we would prefer it didn't. Yet, our humble canines always find a way to leave us laughing with joy.
Because these stories are often based in fact, people have a fun time trying to figure out what is fact and what is fiction. Darla's car is an invention of my imagination that was spurred on by the pink Mary Kay cars you see rolling down the road. Although you do not see as many as you used to. This was something I came up with just for this book, but I am quite sure it will make other appearances.
I love a good ghost story. Don't ask me why because I hate being scared. The best sort of ghost stories start out with "This really happened." Well, these stories by Lucius really happened. Lucius still manages to find humor even in the creepiest of circumstances. Open up "Befuddled in St. Augustine" when you want to read something that will make you laugh and also turn on all the lights in the house.
The Atlantic Ocean's beaches are tranquil with small waves most of the time. However, when there is a storm nearby the waves can swell to six, ten or more feet. Because of the predominantly sandy coast in the south the rip tides make it too dangerous to be out surfing. However, there is a small window from time to time when you are able to get out and enjoy the rowdier side of the sea.
Lucius McCray is my pen name because he allows me to enhance true tales into something fun, and on occasion turn them into something purely fictional. This is one of the few stories that are completely true. Now, how does one write about a real life miracle? I have no idea, so I left it in Lucius' hands. This event took place over the course of three years, so it is heavily summarized with the some of the more memorable highlights discussed. Lucius is not offering solutions or understanding. He's just giving you an inside look at what life was like when he could not longer see.
All the stories in this book are inspired by actual events. This part of the scene actually happened to me. To this day, it is as close to bear's breath as I ever want to get. I am just thankful I didn't lean over any further to look into the darkness.
I have been blessed to live in both the city and the country. The story of Beach and Bar gives me an opportunity to compare the different lifestyles I have lived. To be fair, the office life is often slow because office work requires more thinking than lifting. So, standing around the water cooler is actually more about giving the brain time to think than it is slacking off. Even so, I can say from first hand experience that Lucius is correct in his comparison.
I start this book with showing the multiple sides of committed love. There is admiration, grace to support something your spouse loves, but you do not, and the day to day grind couples are called to face together.
Joshua Zeev has dedicated his life to helping others. His obsession has led him to become part of the Brown family as he has worked most of his career to solve their son's mysterious berserker syndrome. Early one morning the boy's father, and Joshua's best friend, commits suicide. A note is left behind saying it is an act of sacrifice and not depression. Caught in political intrigue, psychological suspense, and medical mystery, Joshua must fight his way through the shadows to discover the truth and in doing so hopefully save himself.
Anyone who has had an opportunity to fly in jets and small planes know how interesting smaller plane flight can be. Bumps and breezes that large jets glide through can jostle a small craft with noticeable effect. There are lots of small planes that are used for island hopping and sightseeing out along the keys. I wanted to be sure Joshua had an opportunity to enjoy this experience.
Joshua speaks of justice, but justice for himself. The intentions of our heart expose our real motivation. Dr. Zeev will soon face his demons and have to make a choice between forgiving the unforgivable, or taking an eye for an eye and living with the consequences.
Coming into this world as an orphan put up for adoption I of course had questions. My parents were always lovingly open about how they chose me and never insinuated I was unwanted by my biological mother. When I needed to track down my birth mother for health reasons, I discovered she had passed away six months earlier from a stroke while only in her fifties. Although I am not a child of rape, these two paragraphs are my simple thank you to her memory and her decision to chose life and give me to two of the most wonderful parents any child could ever desire.
I wanted to make sure the appearance of the antagonists was just as shocking as the protagonists had been earlier in the story. This scene cements the mystery. Why were Richard's last thoughts around these three men, and why would they show up unwanted at a funeral? This moment insures that Joshua has no second thoughts about doing what he must to discover the truth.
The opening scene in chapter two was originally supposed to focus on the feeling someone has the day after they lose somebody close. Joshua's thoughts and feelings closely mirrored the morning after my father died. For the setting, I wanted to make Maria's room link back to her childhood. When I searched for Mexican dolls, "Marias" was the first word I got returned. It was a moment of divine intervention. Without planning, I had managed to write myself into a profound and special moment. In one sentence I was able to give a deeper insight into what Maria's parents thought of her, and how much they loved her.
The Senator is a complex character. Although he is one of the antagonist, he represents the struggle we all have within. Everyone has a vice or habit they wish to break free from, but for one reason or another are unable to on their own. When we surrender the fight and allow that vice to grow, it morphs us into somebody we never thought we would be. The Senator now finds himself trapped by his own lusts, unable to find a way out.
I wanted the first impression of Harold to be intimidating from both a physical viewpoint as well as a psychological viewpoint. Joshua rescuing Barbara from Harold's fury gives you a glimpse into what he is capable of. Joshua looking up from the floor and seeing Harold's physical features gives the reader an idea of how terrifying the man can be even when he is not in the midst of a violent outburst.
We leave our comfort zones not with a nudge, but a shove. Our safe little worlds do not disperse with a quiet pop, but with chaos and loss. I wanted to start chapter one with the amplification of Joshua's obsession with Harold, and how in an instant, everything would crash down around him. These first few paragraphs send shock waves that will ripple their way throughout the first three books.
Maria's character has a complex story that she slowly reveals throughout the series. Maria is Joshua's conscious, and his hope. In addition, Maria is my reminder to everyone that immigrant children should not be held accountable for the actions of their parents. Her back story, while fiction, reflects the reality of many children and adults living in our country, and it is a story worth telling.
The prologue was not written until all the chapters in the book were completed. I knew I was missing a piece. I wanted my readers to understand the complex relationships that exists between family members when chapter one begins. The jump from 1999 to 2017 amplifies how close Joshua has become to the Brown family, and why he would remain with them. It also shows how Harold has grown into his parents' child.
Lucius McCray shares five misadventures from his life. Bury yourself in the ballad of Lucius' bi-polar cat, Pumpkin. Have a seat, cross your legs, and read about Lucius visiting the doctor to get neutered. Retire to your reading room and laugh at his misadventures in bathrooms from around the globe. Stretch out by the fire with your faithful furry companion and thrill to the bravery of Lucius' pet dog Wobbly. Finally, grab your favorite beverage, head out to the front porch and sit a spell as you enjoy the story of the fall moonshine run.
The whole scene on the train in southern India is a true story. My wife had just joined me in the country after I had been there for two weeks. I was very sure of myself, and so I was long on assumptions. This experience, and what happens with Darla after this scene, put me in my place. I was much more attentive to my surroundings after this.
My experience with moonshine is from first hand stories from friends, and the show "Moonshiners" I love that reality show as it reminds me of some of my favorite friends and family. This scene is inspired by the latter of the two sources of inspiration with a touch of 1970's corrupt southern police movies thrown in.
Any man who has had a vasectomy has a joke or humorous event they are able to recollect. Lucius, being the man that he is, has several. This is, to date, the most uncomfortable tale I have ever written. I am not saying it is true, or even how much of it is true. These stories have a bases in fact, but they are fiction. That said, half the humor in this story is found in the cringe worthy events that Lucius relives.
After our family moved to Clemmons, NC my junior year of high school I came to know neighbors who were moonshiners. One of my favorite trekking paths went very close to a neighbor's pot still. I was warned to avoid venturing off path in that part of the woods. Although names and locations are changed, the description is based on the scenery where I used to take my walks as a teenager.
I have had reviewers and readers ask me about Wobbly. To put the rumors to bed, Wobbly is an animal that exists only in my mind. We used to own a Basset Hound when our children were young. In addition, I have always wanted a British Bulldog, but could never afford one. So, I asked myself what a dog that was half Basset Hound and half Bulldog would look like, and Wobbly was born.
The cowboy in bathroom adventures really existed. Similar to the story, we had stopped at a truck stop in Oklahoma on our way to New Mexico to visit my in-laws. The moment he started singing to himself was something I will never forget. When I decided to write as Lucius, I knew I had to share this story in this first book.
This short story tells about one of the most disturbed pet cats I ever had the pleasure of caring for. He was neurotic, angry, and at times borderline feral. His life was at times humorous and at times sad. Unfortunately, this poor Tom cat was always his own worst enemy
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