Horseshoes & Nuclear Weapons, the first of the Attacks on America, Mike Hatch Terrorism Series, is an action-packed suspense thriller in the style of Tom Clancy, Ken Follett and Jack Higgins. David Meyer, a genius and madman obsessed with revenge, joins forces with a Central American dictator to construct atomic weapons. CIA Agent Nick Barber and FBI Agent Sally Stein capture the first weapon and, in an exciting central climax, battle the terrorists and disable a second weapon just prior to detonation in the city of Chicago. Risking her life, a CIA mole in Central America transmits information about the remaining weapons using a new code that is impossible to decipher if intercepted. Under orders from their superiors, Barber and Stein lead a team of Navy SEAL and Army Special Forces commandos into Central America to destroy the remaining weapons and the facility where they were constructed. It's heart-stopping action all the way as, aided by local rebels, they experience a series of narrow escapes interwoven with exciting gun battles. Using high-tech assault weapons and explosives as well as traditional garrotes, knives and cunning they complete their mission, but not without cost. In the exciting concluding scenes, the highest level top secret orders are executed. Mike Hatch has completed and published a sequel, Take It To The Limit, the most exciting account of air terrorism ever written. He is at work on the third in the series.
ExcerptsPetite, blond FBI agent Sally Stein meets the tall and dark CIA agent Nick Barber for the first time as they are thrown together on an assignment in Illinois. As they drive through Chicago traffic in an FBI van Sally is saying:
"As far as I'm concerned it's highly irregular if not downright illegal, to have the CIA involved."
"It's highly irregular for me to be assigned to work with a woman and a drunk, but I've lived through worse."
Sally slammed on the brakes, the van screeched to a halt behind a line of vehicles at a red light. She turned to Nick and pointed her index finger at him, "You listen to me MISTER Barber, I've been with the Bureau for seventeen years and my record is spotless, I have several service commendations and I've done my job as well as any man, better than most. I don't have to take any goddamn insults from you or anybody else. Keep your bullshit chauvinistic opinions to yourself while you're around me. Is that clear?" Nick was about to speak but she went on as the van moved with the traffic, "My boss warned me about working with you, he advised me to be very careful."
Nick was smiling slightly, "I apologize if I have offended you. I'm sure you are a top professional and from now on I'll be proud to be associated with you."
"You don't sound sincere."
"Well, I am. What's this that your boss told you about me?"
"I happened to be in from Washington visiting our Chicago office for a training seminar. He called me from Washington at three o'clock this morning to give me this assignment; told me I'd be working with a real spook on this one, at the DCI's insistence."
"Now it's my turn to be offended", Nick mused.
"Those are his words, not mine. He had some kind of dossier on you, most of it blacked out, but he said you'd been around the world a lot doing dirty work for the CIA. There were references to South America, Vietnam and more recently, Europe where you are apparently very hot these days. He warned me to keep a close eye on you, said the kind of work you do doesn't fly here."
"And specifically what work is that?"
"He wasn't certain but he said he believes that you killed Martino Cervantes in Cuba, Pierre Andre' in France and Major Krenski in East Germany, among others."
"A who's who lineup of communist celebrities." Nick said, "Of course I can't comment on his speculation."
"Of course. What do you do for these quick interrogations anyway, pour gasoline on the subject, set them on fire and promise to shoot them if they talk?"
"You must have taken our short course in interrogation", he replied with a chuckle. Wanting to move the conversation to friendly ground he asked, "Married?"
* * *
They stop at a bank to cash some travelers checks and stumble into a bank robbery:
He watched over the prone customers as the short man scrambled to the third window, directly in Nick's line of sight. Again the short man ordered the teller to push the large bills under the partition. The teller opened the cash drawer, and took out the 100's, 50's and 20's and pushed them through.
The short man could not reach for the bills because he was dead. The .22 caliber teflon coated bullet had entered at the base of his skull and exited at a relatively clean hole at the top of his forehead. It had continued on through the bulletproof glass partition, through the outer wall and insulation behind the teller and lodged in the building's exterior brick. As the terrorized teller stepped back the short man slumped, his unseeing eyes staring.
"HURRY UP!", the tall man was saying, swinging his shotgun as Nick rose from behind the counter, aimed momentarily with the Beretta and shot him between the eyes. As he fell back, the shotgun discharged into the ceiling bringing down a shower of debris. The man in the blue sweatshirt guarding the door swung around just in time to see Nick behind the counter with the pistol pointed at his head. Nick squeezed the trigger and the man crashed back into the jungle of potted plants in the front window of the bank.
Nick walked to Sally and bent down, he grabbed her arm and brought her to her feet. "I got'em all", he said. "You get it under control in here, I'm going to check outside for the wheelman."
Sally, a bit dazed, announced, "This is the FBI, the situation is under control, please stay calm."
* * *
A mysterious device that appears to be an an atomic bomb of early design is found. A consultant meets with our heroes in Washington D.C.:
"What about an already completed bomb, could you match it to this plan?" Nick asked.
"I-I suppose. Are you saying somebody actually built one?"
Sally briefed Shawn on their discovery of the bomb near Chicago the previous night. Shawn's eyes widened as he listened to the story, he sat in a chair, the blood draining from his face. "What's the matter, Shawn?" she said.
"I live near Chicago with my family, in Palatine. I-I only commute to Connecticut twice a month."
"It's OK", Sally said, "we have the bomb."
"No, I traced this bill-of-material all the way down to make sure. The quantity at the top is four. Whoever was building this was building four bombs, the quantities of components check out all the way down."
There was a dead silence in the room.
* * *
Meanwhile, in a Chicago hotel room, Cap and Fats, henchmen of the maniacal genius David Meyer, figure out what they've been working on:
"There's somethin' else you better know, man. I been thinkin' about all this an' I know It don't take a year to build a ordinary bomb and it don't cost no thirty million big ones either. I've seen Meyer's expense book, it looks to me like he's spent that much on these bombs. An', you don't get that excited over losing a few sticks of dynamite. I think these are atom bombs he's bringin' in. This is more than just blowin' up a few offices at city hall an' skippin' the country. A hell of a lot more."
Fats' eyes were wide, he lit another cigarette and took a nervous swallow of the bourbon, "God, I can't believe this. You must be nuts too, to think this." But the evidence was compelling as Fats ran over the events of the last year in his mind, all the secrecy, all the phone calls and trips to Centragua, a small, Central American country on the Caribbean coast. Fats had assumed that it was all to develop new drug sources or routes. Then all of the unusual machined and fabricated parts they had contracted from local shops for Meyer. "But, the cops have that bomb, they'll figure out what it is and hunt us down to the fuckin' ends of the earth."
* * *
In Chicago, the nuclear terrorists are cornered in an upscale boutique on the first floor of the world's tallest building:
Still crouched low, Nick pointed the M16 around the corner and fired a couple shots above the shop. The bullets pinged off of the concrete structure above and behind the shop. As he did so he could see the entire glass wall of shop and he saw no one standing.
Meyer had also decided he had to get out soon. He looked around the floor of the shop quickly and found a long handled broom on a low shelf behind the counter. He grabbed the handle and held the bristles upward toward the ceiling. Using the full force of his arms and legs he thrust the broom upward toward one of the large ceiling tiles and flopped it out of the metal grid it had rested in. He dropped back quickly to the floor. Through the opening he could see the metal railing at the end of the second floor aisle. The bottom of the railing was no more than seven or eight feet from the roof of the shop. No one was at the railing.
Nick switched his weapon to full automatic. He poked the barrel around the corner of the column, and, up on both feet, leaned out. He aimed about six feet high on the left end of the twenty foot wide glass shop wall. He squeezed the trigger and the sound of crashing glass exploded throughout the lobby. He moved the barrel of the weapon slowly to the right firing a rapid succession of three-round bursts. The upper half of the thick glass wall disintegrated, as did the shelves of perfume bottles and nick- knacks behind it.
In the perfume shop shattering glass flew everywhere; exploding perfume bottles splattered across the floor and counter. Meyer, Karen and the saleswoman lay on the floor, their heads covered. Cap, still crouched at the door readied himself to make his move.
The entire top half of the wall was gone when the clip on Nick's M16 ran out. He quickly moved back behind the column and let the empty clip fall on the floor. He snapped the full one into place in a long practiced reflex action.
"What the hell did you do that for?" Sally said as the sound of crashing glass finally subsided.
"To let'em know we mean business", Nick said.
* * *
Sally and Nick have a tryst after the mid-story climax:
He pressed his lips to hers and embraced her. She was hesitant at first, then she responded with alacrity, hugging him around the neck and feeling his bare shoulders with her hands. She felt his large hands massage her back. The kiss ended and they buried their lips in each other's neck. Nick then slid behind Sally on the bed and reached around and unbuttoned her blouse and removed it. He unhooked her bra and she let it fall to the floor. He began to massage her back, running his thumbs up and down her backbone and plying her shoulders and ribs with his fingers. The tenseness began to leave her body and even the terrible depression was lifting.
She reached around the back of his neck with both hands and turned to him and they kissed. Their lips parted and their tongues caressed. Nick embraced her around the waist, then rubbed her upper arms and...
* * *
Joined by CIA agent Tommy Garcia they stage a commando raid on the origin of the bombs in Centragua, a communist Central American country...but...on their escape in a small fishing boat:
Nearly a mile to the south Tommy had noticed what appeared to be a couple of fishing boats. Now, as he chugged beyond a mile from shore he saw what appeared to be a helicopter coming from that direction. It was coming directly toward them. Tommy set course and locked the rudder. He went to the center of the boat and crawled under the sail, his HK-G11 rifle ready. After a few moments he looked out over the edge of the boat. The chopping of the blade was close now and Tommy saw the olive drab machine approach. There was a red star on the side, and a helmeted soldier manning a heavy machine gun in the open door. Tommy ducked under the canvas sail again and within moments the whipping of the blade was directly above, a steady blast of air beating downward from the blades rappling the canvas. Tommy had a grenade in his hand, with his right eye he could see the nose of the machine around the edge of the sail. Tommy pulled the pin, counted "One thousand one, one thou", jerked the sail aside and lobbed the grenade into the open door.
The gunner's face was only a few feet away, the runners of the helicopter only inches above the stern of the boat. As the gunner saw Tommy and swung the barrel toward him, Tommy saw the flash behind the man and a split second later heard the explosion. The force of the explosion threw the gunner out into the boat. He landed above the sail on Tommy, knocking the wind out of him momentarily. The helicopter leaned back away from the boat, its blades kicking up water, then it splashed into the sea. Its runners missed the rear of the boat by inches as the diesel engine pushed the boat away. Tommy took a breath, he could smell the hot breath of the groaning man on top of him. He put the barrel of his rifle to the man's chest and pulled the trigger. The body shook for a moment and lay still. Tommy rolled the body over the side. He sat up and looked at the helicopter, now one hundred feet behind. It bobbed with the waves, sinking, one blade and part of the body still out of the steaming water, heated by contact with the machine's engine. Tommy hoped it would sink quickly.
The boat chugged along for a few more minutes, the helicopter disappearing in the now distant rolling blue waves. He thought he was approaching the three mile limit but couldn't see the ship. Tommy heard a roar like distant thunder in the sky. He looked back at the Centragua shore. Above the coastal mountain range he saw two black specks against the blue western sky. "God, planes," he whispered to himself, "fighters? The copter must have radioed in before he went down."
The two Soviet built MiG-19 fighters swept down over the coastal lowlands at four hundred miles an hour. The leader began to fire bursts with his three cannons, the 30 millimeter rounds creating waterspouts near the shore as the planes flew toward the boat. This is it, Tommy thought, no way to survive this; we'll be blown to pieces. He hunched down in the rear and could see the approaching waterspouts. The intermittent tracer bullets were so bright as to be easily seen in the brilliant sunlight, allowing the pilot to fix on the target. The fighters were over the sea now, it was only a matter of seconds; he thought of going over the side but realized it wouldn't save him. The waterspouts were approaching, easily visible now, and then, suddenly Tommy heard a thunderous roar in the sky far to the north.
Two U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcats streaked down out of the clouds, their four powerful jet engines screaming. The back-seat Radar Intercept Officer on the lead Tomcat had an image of the MiGs on his screen. Numbers indicating their coordinates were incrementing quickly at the top. He keyed in a vector path quickly and fired a Phoenix air-to-air missile. This was the only weapon he could control precisely enough for the task at hand. The million-dollar missile roared away from the aircraft, white hot flames screaming from it's tail, a widening exhaust cloud stretching out behind. Seconds later, directly across the path of the lead MiG, it detonated.
Tommy saw a blinding flash in the sky less than mile away at five hundred feet and then the thunderous crack of the explosion rolled across the surface of the sea. The MiG leader cut his cannons and pulled back on the control. Tommy, still seeing spots from the flash, saw the waterspouts stop ten feet from the boat, the final couple of tracers leaving small puffs of steam that rose from the surface.
The lead MiG was rocketing skyward directly over the boat now, his wingman making a sharp turn back to Centragua. The lead Tomcat slowed, it's wings sliding out of their gloves for improved maneuverability. It turned nose up directly over the boat. Tommy looked up as the two F-14 engines above him roared with a burst of full power, their brightness nearly rivaling the sun as the lead Tomcat chased the lead MiG into the sky. Tommy looked ahead now, the Holiday was approaching in the distance.
* * *