Monday, November 14, 2016

A Chip off the Ol' Block

Here's a bit of a spotlight on one of the characters in Chaser, the protagonist's father, Jack Hammer. In that novel, he and Boiler's mothers are agents in a government special investigations division, but he appeared previously in the novels Load and Fifteen Minutes. He's younger in those books, which are set at a time when he and his girlfriends were just starting their careers.

What follows is a full scene from late in Fifteen Minutes, showing what happens when Jack has been assaulted repeatedly, locked in a jail cell while seriously injured, hospitalized, and barely fought off an assassination attempt. Basically, this is Jack Hammer when he's had enough of the bad guys' shit.

It also shows where Boiler gets her mean streak.

Jack strode through the foyer, holding his ID out to the guy behind the desk on the left.
"I'm here for Carlton Lewis."
"I'm afraid he's unav – hey! Stop!"
Jack pushed through the turnstile and started to cross the dining room. The diners nearby looked up when the guy shouted, arching their eyebrows at Jack and exchanging worried glances.
A hand clamped onto Jack's left arm. He whirled, cocked his fist back and drove it into the foyer guy's face. The man's head snapped back, blood poured from his nose, and he staggered backward two steps and fell on his ass.
The customers released a burst of screams, jumped to their feet, and scattered.
Jack pointed at the foyer guy and said, "Stay down." He waited a few seconds until he was sure that the man wouldn't move. He resumed his course toward the doors on the far side of the room. The diners continued their rush away from him, some screaming, some gasping, others muttering to one another.
Two tall men with shoulders broad enough to park a car on charged out of the door at the back of the room and blocked Jack's path. Both were dressed similarly to the guy Jack had just decked.
"We're gonna have to ask you to leave," the one on the right said in a raspy, growling voice.
"I'm here for your boss." Jack held up his ID, trying it one last time. "I'm not in the mood for any of your shit."
"Out. Now." The other one took a step closer to him. "Or we'll throw your ass out."
"Oh, you will, will you?" Jack arched an eyebrow. "It'll hurt."
They flicked a quick glance at each other, sneering and shaking their heads.
"Just get that son of a bitch out of here," the one on the floor snapped.
Both men advanced on Jack. The one on the right grabbed the front of his duster and shoved him toward the front door.
Jack jabbed his index and middle fingers into the man's left eye, sending him reeling backward, clamping his hand over his eye and screaming.
The other guy reached for a weapon under his jacket. Jack drew his right leg back and launched a kick to the man's crotch that dropped him to his knees. Jack picked up a chair that had been toppled by its occupant's panicked run for cover. He raised it over his head and slammed it down on the back of the guy's neck with every ounce of strength he could muster. The chair exploded into shrapnel and the guy pitched forward and collapsed.
Jack turned to the still-shrieking goon, kicked him in the gut and stomped on his head, silencing his screams.
"Jesus," the foyer guy blurted. "You're fucking crazy!"
Jack glared at him and drew his gun. "What can I say, I've had a really shitty day. Don't make me any crankier than I already am." He crossed the room, pushed through the door and strode down the hallway to the door at the end. He flung it open, descended the stairs and turned the doorknob. Locked, of course. He pounded on the door.
A hatch slid aside, revealing a small view-window. A human face appeared briefly. The eyes widened and the face backed away from the window. "Oh, shit! It's – "
Jack drove his fist through the window and into the face. The thump of a body hitting the floor came from inside the room. Jack landed a kick to the door that snapped its bolt, and charged into the room. There he found three men in black suits and sunglasses and a fourth sitting behind a large desk. The three pulled guns from under their jackets.
Jack shot the nearest one in both legs. The guy collapsed, howling, and his gun bounced across the carpet.
The others hesitated, staring open-mouthed at him, and Jack took the few seconds that gave him to kneecap both of them. He rushed over to them, kicked their guns out of their reach, and turned his glare on the guy behind the desk.
"Carlton Lewis, I presume?"
"What the fuck?" Lewis jumped out of his chair and backed up against the wall. "Who the hell do you think you are? You can't barge in here and – "
"So it's okay for the mercs you hired to break into an anthro shelter and rough people up, but not for me to give you a taste of what you've been dishing out? Wrong."
Lewis slid along the wall, still trying to back away – then he launched himself at the door, trying to sprint past Jack. Jack grabbed Lewis's arm and dragged him back to the desk. Lewis flailed and swung his fist, driving it into Jack's left side.
A sudden, stabbing pain tore through his side, and he froze, unable to breathe. Somehow, he managed to keep his grip on Lewis. Shit. Feels like some stitches tore loose. Just what I fucking need.
He spun Lewis around and lunged, ramming his forehead into the bridge of Lewis's nose and knocking him stupid. Lewis flopped over onto his desk and moaned.
When Jack could finally breathe again, he staggered over to Lewis, rolled him over and jammed the gun into the back of his neck. "You even twitch and what's left of your head won't be enough to fill a shot glass. Understood?"
"Yeah," Lewis groaned.
"Good. Now, you've already confessed to sending those thugs to that shelter to beat the crap out of several residents and abduct them, but what I want now is their names. Each and every asshole you sent there. Give me their names and tell me where to find them."
"You can't do this," Lewis mumbled. "You're not a cop. I don't have to tell you shit!"
"No, I'm not a cop. A cop would arrest you. I don't have to stop there." Grimacing and trying to ignore the pain, Jack took a slow look around the office. His gaze landed on a set of golf clubs in the corner on the right. Okay, that's promising. "Start talking, fuckstain, or I'll beat you to death with your own golf clubs."
"You wouldn't dare. You're in enough trouble as it is. You push things that far and you won't live through the rest of the day."
"The feds have already pushed things a lot farther than that." Jack grabbed the back of Lewis's head and slammed it into the desk. "You give me those names or I'll start clubbing you like a baby seal!"
"Fuck you!"
Jack looked around to make sure that Lewis's henchmen were still down. As he swung his eyes back to Lewis, he spotted a row of potted cacti resting on a shelf over on the left. Most were small and colorful, but one in particular caught his attention – a plain, cylindrical cactus that looked about ten inches high and as big around as Jack's forearm.
"Oh, you're gonna wish you hadn't said that." Jack kept his gun pointed at Lewis and hurried over to the shelf, picked up the cactus and returned. He reached around Lewis, unbuckled his belt and yanked his pants down.
"What the hell're you doing?" Lewis shrieked.
"Nothin' much. I'm just gonna shove this cactus up your ass, that's all."
"Unless you feel like answering my questions, this cactus is going up your poop-chute. And if you still don't tell me what I want to know, I'll start hitting it with your nine-iron."
"Jesus Christ, Jack," Shakira's voice came from his earpiece. He ignored her and yanked Lewis's boxers down.
Lewis screamed again. "Get away from me, you sick fuck!" He swung at Jack again, but Jack blocked it and slammed his gun into the side of Lewis's head. He shoved Lewis over the desk, jabbed the cactus into his crack, and pushed.
"Stop!" Lewis screamed, his voice going high-pitched as he gave himself over to total panic. "I'll tell you whatever you want to know! Just stop!"
"Say the magic word." Jack nudged the cactus.
"Okay. Names. Now."

And thus, the Jack Hammer Interrogation Technique was born.

Chaser is available from Amazon.

Chaser also has a Facebook page you can follow for updates, character bios, and stuff that's just for fun ... such as this idea for what the protagonist's personal theme song might be.

Fifteen Minutes is also available from Amazon, in both ebook and print.

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