Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Blood Ridge by D S Kane Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, TechnoThriller
Published by: The Swiftshadow Group, Inc.
Publication Date: April 27, 2014
Number of Pages: 396 pages
ISBN: 978-0996059107
Purchase Links:


The night Jon Sommers finds out his fiancée Lisa Gabriel has died in a terrorist bomb attack, he is visited by spymaster, Yigdal Ben-Levy, who tells him that Lisa was not a fellow graduate student but a Mossad spy sent to bring him to Israel. Ben-Levy also tells him that the death of his parents was no accident and persuades Sommers to join Mossad to seek justice for Lisa's killer. But things get more complicated, and Jon finds himself at the center of a dangerous global conspiracy.

Read an excerpt:

Abel and Natasha Sommerstein’s flat, 20 Milner Street Number 14, Cadogan Square, London
February 21, 6:19 p.m.
Jon Sommers listened, hidden in the walk-in closet of his parents’ bedroom. They were speaking in a language he was just beginning to understand, one of many no one had taught him. At twelve, he could speak seven languages and read five, but the one his parents were speaking now was the hardest.
“If he tells anyone the truth, it could be the death of us all.” His father, Abel Sommerstein faced his mother, his hands on her shoulders. Jon had left the closet door open just a crack, and he peeked out, watching them.
Natasha pulled away and stared at him in silence. She turned away. Looking in the mirror, she adjusted the belt of her black dress. She watched her husband fiddle with his bow tie. “We can show him the rules. Moscow rules.”
Abel shook his head. “He’s too young to follow any rules. Look what he did today at school. Another fight. He already knows how to lie.”
“Everyone lies,” said Natasha, facing her husband. We have to tell him. I’m tired of pretending to be what we aren’t. It’s time to show him our true selves.”
“No.” Abel was emphatic. “Mother has made it clear that we remain undercover. If Crane knew, he’d tumble to the conclusion of who we work for.”
“It’s not fair to Jon.” Natasha had switched to English. Her upper lip quivered.
Abel placed his hands once more on her shoulders. “Does he ever need to know?” The bow tie was a mess. He frowned and pulled it even. “No more talk about this now.” The tie still looked messy. He unknotted it and started over.
Jon shifted his weight in the closet, still unnoticed. His father muttered, “Where’s my damned dinner jacket?” Jon scuttled behind a rack of his father’s suits as his mother opened the closet door, and handed Abel his white jacket.
“Thanks, my sweet.”
Jon resumed his position by the closet door his mother had left ajar. He watched his father unlock the cherrywood desk’s center drawer and tug out a tiny box. “Your gift for Yigdal. We’re to drop it in the Ambassador’s potted orchids. What’s new in the tech?”
His mother closed her eyes. “I’ve improved its range and its speed since we used it on the Syrians.”
“How does the new version work?” He placed the box in the pocket of his dinner jacket and patted it flat.
“Just arm it and place the Reaper within ten meters of any computer. Takes twenty minutes to hack in and transmit a copy of all the computer’s files. But its battery lasts only three days and someone still has to retrieve it before the target discovers that the data have been compromised. I’m working on one that turns to dust when the batteries have discharged.”
“It’s too bad we had to use it on Crane’s computer to find out about the threat. I wonder if he’ll survive the shit storm.” Abel turned toward the dresser and unlocked another drawer, retrieving a handgun from inside. He dropped it in his other pocket.
“Is that really necessary? There will be security every­where at Belgrave Mews. They won’t even let you carry it inside the Ambassador’s residence.”
“It’s going into the car’s glove box,” Abel replied.
Natasha persisted. “It’s been almost a month. Do you really expect trouble?”
He donned his trench coat. “How should I know?” he asked as he helped her into her raincoat. “Take a scarf. It’s going to snow.”
She pulled one off the closet shelf and took his arm.
As they walked together from the bedroom, the doorbell of their flat buzzed.
Jon opened the closet door and ducked into the hallway, heading toward his room.
He could hear his mother speaking with the sitter. “Don’t let Jon stay up past eleven. And make sure he completes his algebra homework.”
Jon turned back down the hallway to the living room.
The sitter, Rakhel, a young, dark-eyed, rail-thin woman, was nodding in response to Natasha’s instructions.
His mother pulled him to her and kissed the top of his head, tousling his brown hair. “Why are you always making trouble?”
Jon knew, self-consciously, that the prominent black eye he’d received at school had prompted his mother’s question, but he deflected her attention. “Mum, I’m not a baby.” He pointed to the sitter. “I don’t need her.”
Abel hugged his son. “Don’t argue, son. You’re almost an adult. Behave like one.”
Jon frowned and turned away. “My point exactly.” He stood as tall as he could, close to his father, measuring how much taller he needed to be. “There were three of them. They were all bigger.”
Abel turned away. Seeing Jon’s homework papers on the desk, he stepped over to them and pointed to one. “Jon, this equation. What does it represent?”
Jon’s eyes narrowed. “I’ve been reading on game theory. Someone named John von Neumann. Anyway, it’s just calcu­lus. I applied it to valence theory from a psychologist named Kurt Levin. Tried to forecast a person’s or a group’s in­tentions. I’ve modified it so it now shows the distance between intention and the probability of success as a separate variable.”
His father scanned the page in more detail. “I see. You’ve been reading more math and now, social psychology.” He paused over the page. “So what we have here is the begin­ning of a method to predict human behavior.” He scanned the page, his forefinger pointing at the string of variables. “Tomorrow, I’ll go through this from top to bottom.” He stopped at something on the page. “Jon, I think you made a mistake here. One of the parameters. This should be a sub­traction, not a division.”
Jon gawked at the page.
Abel buttoned his trench coat. “Tomorrow.”
With that last sentence, his parents were gone from the flat, leaving Jon alone with Rakhel.
“An urgent message from Betakill.” The young operative handed an encrypted text to the gray-haired man. “Natasha Sommerstein said they were being followed by a repeater. Plate number A16-248, London. I have their location on GPS.” The operative handed the older man the cell phone.
The older man pressed a few buttons. He viewed the screen and muttered, “Rats.” He reached for his coat and ordered the comm officer, “Tell the team to hurry. We need to find them before it’s too late.”
By the time they were in the garage, the driver had the car ready and waiting.
It took less than ten minutes for their Bentley to reach the location of Jon’s parents.
Jon looked up from his calculus formulas when the doorbell rang. The babysitter sat near him, listening to Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony playing on the stereo.
He rubbed his black eye. He thought of the battle he’d engaged in when the bully and his friends tried to take his lunch money. He had to fight, or else the bullies would pick on him every day. His mistake was fighting fair. A kick to the monster’s balls would have given him a fleeting advantage. The next time, he’d be ready.
The doorbell rang a second time and he looked toward the door, expecting that his parents had arrived home much earlier than he’d expected. What had happened at their party?
Rakhel answered the door and let in a thin man with graying hair and a short-cropped white beard. He wore a black business suit with no necktie. Closing the door behind him, the old man whispered into the young woman’s ear, his voice like the raspy crumpling of paper. His language was nothing Jon had ever heard before. The only word he understood was the sitter’s name, “Rakhel.”
She gasped and her face fell.
Something was wrong. Jon started for the front door where they stood to hear better what they were saying. But before he could get there, he heard another knock at the door, and Rakhel let five tall men into their flat. Their bearing indicated this was serious. No one spoke to him; they totally ignored him. He was no longer merely curious. Now, he was worried.
The visitors shut all the window shades and moved on to the bedrooms. He could hear low, urgent voices, and doors and drawers opening and closing.
A few minutes later, there was another knock at the front door of the flat. Rakhel looked through the peephole and admitted two men who announced themselves as police detectives. They spoke with her briefly, in hushed tones. She nodded grimly.
The detectives remained at the door, talking with Rak­hel. He could feel his pulse quicken. What were they saying? Did this have to do with his parents? His stomach did loops.
When the detectives left, she asked him to sit next to her on the living room couch. Without any preamble, she said, “Jon, your mom and dad were in a serious car accident. I’m afraid they’re never coming home.”
Jon examined her face for some sign that this wasn’t true, but all he saw were the reddened edges of her eyes. She’d been crying.
He shook his head. This had to be a lie. “Why are you telling me this? Where are they? Really?”
She moved closer and reached a hand out to lift his chin. “I’m so sorry.”
All the elegant equations in his head dissolved into a void. His world grew smaller, containing him like a steel net. He stared at his formulas on the page, damp with his tears. He jolted as he heard himself curse. There was no way mathematics could express the deaths of his mother and father.
His fists clenched and he pounded at her. He heard a scream but it couldn’t be his voice, could it? Every muscle in his body stiffened, and he bawled on and on.
She grabbed his hands. He wrenched away and stormed around the room, throwing anything he could reach through the air. He smashed a lamp, and pounded another into shards. The fragments of broken glass embedded in his hands didn’t even hurt.
How could they die? He felt his heart turn from anger into a sinking sorrow at this sudden loss. He ran into their bedroom and Rakhel followed him and grasped him, hugging him to her.
The gray-haired man entered the bedroom and nodded to her. She left the room. The older man didn’t move at all. He stared at Jon and the words came in a slow rasp. “I’m so sorry. Someday you will understand. I promise.” He touched Jon’s head and followed the path Rakhel had taken to the front door of the flat where they whispered.
She returned and took a single step toward him and stopped. “I will stay with you, along with these others who arrived.” She pointed to the younger men. The young woman’s accent now was different from the voice she’d been using to talk with him before. Less British, more like that of his parents when they were rushed or argued. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.”
Jon remembered earlier this evening, the last time he ever saw his mother and father. He thought of their repri­mand that he behave himself. It was the last thing they told him.
His eyes shifted down, the weight of loss heavy on him.
He’d never even had the chance to say he loved them before they were gone forever.

Author Bio:

D. S. Kane worked as a covert operative for over a decade, traveling globally. Now, he's a former spy, still writing fiction that exposes the way intelligence agencies craft lies to sway and manipulate their national policy, driving countries into dangerous conflicts.

Kane can be found at:

Interview Questions and Answers
•What are your writing quirks? –  I need to have music playing in the background. After I finish a plot outline for a book, I craft a soundtrack and that’s what I play on the computer while I write my first draft. I have a book trailer from the Spies Lie series that uses Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, and that’s the sort of thing that I listen to. But, if the character in the scene has a preference for blues, or jazz or anything else, that will be on my “soundtrack.”
•What happened on your strangest day? – I was out “in country,” working an assignment. It seemed just like every other day undercover; I was able to feel my fears without showing them. But someone I knew was dangerous told me, “We know who you are. We know who you work for. Best for you to leave from here tonight. Might not be possible for you to breath after the sun rises tomorrow.” I smiled and excused myself, called the airline and booked myself out for later that day with one of my alternate identities. Then I called my handler and gave my handler the ID I was using to exit the country, so the hackers could register that ID in passport control.
•How do you keep your written world from encroaching on your life? – Can’t be done. When we travel, wherever we go, I’m always wondering if the location or the person would be a good fit for a story I’m writing. When I sleep, the characters and locations march through my dreams, asking me for stage directions, or complaining about what tasks I’ve assigned them.
•How would you describe your best day ever? When I read the Kirkus Review of DeathByte, I almost danced my way through the rest of the day. The compared it to Robert Ludlum’s Borne Series!
•What is the best thing you've ever eaten? – At Burger Bar in Las Vegas, they have sides that include lobster truffle sauce, and foie gras. Forget the beef! Just have them mount a burger bun with a combo of those three sides and go to food heaven!
•What is the worst thing you've ever eaten? – I hate Brussel sprouts and broccoli no matter how they’re cooked. My wife and I tried to eat vegan and we still do vegan days, but not often.
•Which of your character is the hardest to write and why? William Wing, my Hong Kong Hacker is a difficult write. He wants to avoid the places I need to send him. If he weren’t so damned important, I’d kill him to show the others who live in my head that I’m not to be trifled with, but Little Wing drives so much of the story that I just have to find something that can trick him into doing my bidding. Perhaps there is too much of me in him.
•What is the biggest lesson you've learned through writing? – Never, ever give up. If it’s not working, figure out why. Listen to everyone’s criticisms and determine how to improve craft. No one ever became a poorer writer by listening to your readers.
•Who has impacted your life the most and in what way? – The person who was my handler when I worked in Washington for an intelligence service. That person was a glutton for everything, and sent me places where I never should have gone. The impact wasn’t positive, but it changed my life in every way. Because of where I went and who I met, I learned tradecraft that remains in my active repertoire today.
•What is most important to you? Pleasing Andrea, my wife, and helping her in her business.
•Do you ever write about your fears in books? – My stories are a compendium of my fears. If it alarms me, it finds its way into my stories.
•What is your biggest daily challenge? – Interruptions. Doorbells. Scarlett the cat wanting lap time and petting. Breaking for lunch.
•What inspired you to write your first book? – I read John Perkins book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He and I had similar paths, and I thought, “Well, I can write a memoir.” After writing a synopsis and the first three chapters, my phone rang. It was the handler I’d worked for in Washington so long ago. “You’re not writing a book, are you?” I taped the remainder of the call. Our deal was, I could write fiction under an assumed name. Non-fiction would violate the Espionage Act of 1917. I decided to learn to write fiction. And, one book led to the next. A series!
•Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? – Yes. Citizens, especially voters, should never trust what they hear in the advertisements of political action groups. Many if not most of these advertisements focus on voter fears and state exactly the opposite of what is the truth. They learned this from politicians, who learned it from intelligence services. It’s true that everyone lies, but for intelligence services, lying is their greatest skill. To be a covert operative, you must be a believable liar, otherwise, if you are compromised, what you know will get more of the people in your team compromised.
•How much of the book is realistic? – In Bloodridge, almost everything within the book, including the way spymasters think and how they entrap those they need to do their bidding. What I’ve modified are the actual missions and their locations, although these are based on the things I learned. All the tradecraft, most of the character flaws, the errors in planning and what makes missions fail are as real as I can write them. The characters are modeled after an amalgam of those I worked with and for.
•Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? –  They are loosely based on the events of my own life. But, I’ve never been in Vladisvostok or Somalia.
•What book are you reading now? I just completed Glen Greenwald’s No Place to Hide. Outstanding. And Julia Reynolds’ Blood in the Fields. Both non-fiction. Recently read a Brad Thor and a Daniel Silva.
•What are your current projects? Getting GrayNet, Book Four of the Spies Lie series into production, doing the polishing on Baksheesh, Book Five, and writing ProxyWar, Book Six. After that, a research trip to search for the guts of book seven.

•What genre do you consider your book(s)? Techno-thriller espionage. Technology is the gift that keeps on giving, ever-changing at faster and faster speeds. The tech is stuff I hear about and I always ask myself, what could this be used for that goes past the originally intended purpose? What if more money was spent to add features and functions? Who would benefit? Who else would want it and what would they do to get it? And, espionage is a constant among nations. We spy on everyone and everyone spies on us. Combining espionage and technology, there is no end to the possible plots a writer can conceive.

Tour Participants:

This linky list is now closed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for introducing us to this author. And his new thriller sounds like an exciting read!