Authors: Lars Guignard
Tags: #China, #Technothriller, #Technology, #Thriller, #Energy, #Mystery, #spy, #Asia, #Fiction, #Science, #Travel
A Chinese satellite is on a crash course with Earth.
A shadowy organization seeks to dominate the globe.
And an American backpacker is at the center of it all...
Michael Chase flew to Hong Kong to find his missing father. Four hours later, he's running for his life. The Chinese Secret Police want him dead. The Conspiracy wants him dead. And the only person he can trust may also want him dead. If Michael is going to live, he'll need to find a hidden piece of Nazi technology lost since World War II. And he'll have to do it before anybody else. Because if he doesn't, we'll all end up dead too.
is a full-length thriller, approximately 350 pages, that takes the reader on a street-level journey through the Chinese countryside where nothing is what it seems. Hidden among the emerald green limestone karsts and bucolic rivers of Southeastern China is an advanced energy technology that could change the world. But only if it can be found. If it can't, the result will be unthinkable. Michael Chase's resources are limited to the pack on his back, but his motivation is bullet proof. Join him as he travels the backroads of China with a beautiful, but deadly, British MI6 agent in the battle to save us all.
is the first in the Michael Chase spy thriller series. It has been on the Amazon Technothriller Bestseller List since its release. Book Two in the series, Blown Circuit, will be released in early 2012.
"Rockin' fast-paced thriller!!! Strap yourself in for a wild ride as backpacker Michael Chase gets caught up in the world of spies and secret agents."
Connaisseur, Amazon - 5 Stars
"A high-octane spy thriller with a great twist ending."
E.J. Whalen, Amazon - 5 Stars
"Couldn't stop reading! From the very first page I was gripped by this novel."
MAKO, Amazon - 5 Stars
"Breakout novel! Buckle your seat belt and get ready for a trip filled with twists and turns."
WheelNW, Amazon - 5 Stars
"Lars Guignard keeps you hanging at the end of each chapter!"
David Trail, Amazon - 5 Stars
Also by Lars Guignard:
. Even the name sounded decrepit. Twenty-seven stories of decaying concrete apartment block that made the worst housing project in America look like the Hilton. The truth was, Chungking Mansion wasn’t so much a residence as a third world city stuffed into a condemned building occupying some of the most valuable real estate on the planet. Why it still stood was a bureaucratic mystery, but the prevailing theory was that it had taken the place of the old Kowloon Walled City which had been razed years previously.
The old Walled City had been a historical anomaly: an unclaimed property lying in the no man’s land between Chinese and British jurisdiction that had grown into a tangled web of vice and commerce the likes of which the world had never seen. There was no law. There was no order. There was only humanity run amok in a group of structures that had slowly but steadily grown into one another until they became one and the same: six and a half acres of madness, fourteen stories high.
The old Walled City had finally met the wrecking ball, but its displaced residents had needed some place to go and that place was Chungking. In a word, Chungking was hell, Hong Kong style. It was also home to some of the finest South Indian curry on the Pacific Rim. It was this curry and the ice cold beer that accompanied it that added up to the long trough style urinal Michael Chase now stood before.
Michael stifled a cough as he undid the fly of his cargo shorts. He’d stepped off the plane from Seattle less than four hours earlier and already he thought he might have picked up a case of tuberculosis. No worries, he thought, he was twenty-six and in the best shape of his life. A run of antibiotics and he’d be fine. What mattered now wasn’t what disease he might have contracted, or how quickly the beer had run through him, or even how sharply the climbing pack he wore over one shoulder dug into the small of his back. What mattered was that he focus his attention on the task at hand.
Because Michael hadn’t flown eight thousand miles to take a leak. He had much more serious business to attend to and right now every ounce of that business revolved around his urinal mate, the man slouched over the trough two feet to his left. One hand poised on the grimy cracked subway tile, the other in his pants, the older man went by the name of Shanghai Larry, and as he stood there, his tired Eurasian features twisted into an alcoholic stupor, Michael reflected that the moniker could hardly be more appropriate. Salt-and-pepper hair curling just above the tops of his ears and a perfect mole on his chin, if anybody had one foot on Bond Street and the other on the Bund, Larry was the man. The restroom door opened, flooding the shadows with light, and Michael steeled his nerve. It was now or never. Zipping back up, he turned to Larry and uttered the words he’d traveled so far to say.
“I know what you did,” he said. “I know that you killed my father."
door, the woman listened intently.
She was tired, but she suspected that if there was any truth to what she had overheard, her evening had just begun. She stepped away from the door as a third man entered the restroom. Unlike the men inside, this man moved deliberately. As if he had something important to do. Something more than relieve himself. The woman knew she needed to get closer. She slipped in the swinging door before it shut. Now, as she stood in the outer vestibule, a five-foot partition wall providing just enough cover to hide her from where the men were lined up at the trough, she praised her instincts. Even if she was wrong about the third man, there was definitely something up with Michael. Something a whole lot bigger than he had previously let on. She listened intently to Larry’s reply.
“That’s a hell of an accusation, Sport.”
“It’s not an accusation. It’s a fact. You were the last to see him alive. You two had some kind of issue. You owed him money.”
“Doesn’t mean I killed him.”
“Get real, Larry.”
“Listen, Sport, I know this is a difficult time for you.”
“Cut the Sport shit. If you didn’t do it, who did?”
Larry ran a hand through his thick head of hair. “Pay attention, I’m serious here. It’s looked bad for me from the beginning. But I’m not your man. I never was. And I can prove it.”
“Your dad —”
“He sent me this.”
Michael forced himself to breathe as Larry zipped up and reached drunkenly into his jacket pocket. He had noticed their new urinal mate, a powerfully built Chinese man with a pock-marked face and zebra striped hair, but paid him little heed. His concern now was Larry — Larry who had pulled a cell phone from his pocket and was lazily tapping its dirty touch screen. When a video finally began to play on the phone’s display, the first thing Michael noticed was the lack of sound. Apparently the volume was off. The next thing he noticed was that the man on the screen was his father. He was bearded and looked very tired, black circles under his eyes, but it was his dad, anybody could see that. Then, before he could get a better look, all hell broke loose.
Michael had caught a glimpse of the lean, tan woman entering the restroom behind him. He was well aware that her name was Kate, but that didn’t concern him at present. What concerned him was how quickly the man with the zebra striped hair had managed to interject his stout frame between Larry and himself. In that moment Larry seemed to recognize that something was very wrong because he pulled the cell phone back. Then, Zebra bent to his side and Michael saw what looked like a tattooed snake wrestling a tiger inked to the base of his muscular neck. A quarter second later Zebra had produced a black alloy butterfly knife from the depths of his long leather jacket. Michael stepped back. Zebra unfolded the knife in a smooth flick of the wrist, pressing the two halves of its blade together to form a lethal weapon.
What happened next was fragmented. Michael saw the glint of the blade under the flicker of the fluorescent light. He heard Larry let out a blood curdling moan. Then he saw the phone slide across the grimy tile, followed by Larry’s collapse to the floor. Blood covered Larry’s white French cut shirt and more was flowing out. Even in the poor light Michael could see that he had been stabbed in the heart, and though he immediately brought his hand to Larry’s chest to stem the bleeding, his attention was torn. Zebra, a mere ten feet away, had stooped down to pick up the cell phone. He wrapped his fingers around it, idly scooping it up like he had all the time in the world. And that’s when the woman smashed him on the head.
Zebra went down in a slow motion thud. Like he’d been switched off. And then for a second, maybe more, all was quiet. Michael couldn’t be sure what the woman had used to hit him, but it was irrelevant. The net effect was that Zebra was now splayed out unconscious on the filthy bathroom floor beside Larry, blood trickling down from behind his left ear. Michael was uncertain of the number of men who next entered the restroom. All he knew was that they wore turbans and that upon seeing the carnage they ran out as quickly as they had come in. The men gone, Michael knelt on the floor. He lifted a blood soaked hand from Larry’s heart and placed two fingers on his neck to check his pulse. He was silent for a long moment before looking up at the woman who stared down at him from the corner of the room.
“He’s dead,” Michael said flatly.
The woman nodded, eyeing Zebra warily as she stooped down to pick up the bloody cell phone. She had barely grasped it in her hand before the sound of her breath was drowned out by a shrill fire alarm. It was followed by what sounded like movement on the floors below and then the pounding echo of jackboots in the stairwell. She cast her gaze at Zebra’s tiger-snake tattoo before redirecting it to the broken bathroom window.
“Follow me,” she said. “Follow me or die.”
good twenty-five-foot drop from the broken bathroom window to the trash strewn roof below. But it was survivable. Michael knew because the woman had already jumped. So he jumped. Off the window ledge. And down. Michael didn’t know how long he was airborne, probably less than a second, but the landing was as he had expected, jarring but manageable. He landed on his feet, hitting the refuse pile just as the woman shook herself free of it.
The trash was maybe two feet deep and damp. It had obviously rained recently. Michael had no idea why Chungking’s residents chose to dispose of their refuse as though the Middle Ages were alive and well, but he didn’t care. Not right now anyway. Besides, it was mostly packaging and fast-food wrappers; the odor emitted not so much fetid as sweet, creating the illusion that whatever he was trudging through was no worse than a freshly fertilized field. A long-tailed rat scurried through the trash in front of him and Michael made every effort to turn his mind to pleasanter thoughts than the plague.
Michael was six-three and weighed in at about a hundred ninety pounds, but even with his lean strength, trekking through the deep trash was no cake walk. He picked his way after the woman carefully, thankful for the heavy-duty trail running shoes he wore. Then, as the woman stopped abruptly at the far wall, he followed her gaze down. Between the masonry wall of the adjoining building and the roof he stood upon was a fourteen-inch crack extending at least twelve stories down. A drain pipe threaded down the crack to what Michael could just make out as the alley below.