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Coming soon

Gerards-stories is seeking to publish two more exciting novels by Gerard Hogan. We will let you know when they are available.

Firestorm

  • As a young girl grows to maturity, the emotional scars of her escape from a bushfire in which her brother gives his life to save her, coalesce into a severe form of dependency disorder, bordering on psychosis. How does this work out for all those she has come to depend on, including her husband, her boss, her psychologist and a well-meaning retired teacher? How does this interact with the activities of a criminal/corrupt consortium intent on recovering a debt? Join the teacher as he is dragged inexorably into plots of murder and corruption. There is no safety within the law or outside of it.

 

It is like a watermark on my retina. Stamped there. I cannot move it. Wherever I look, it is always there. I see everything through it. Every so often, when I hear a noisy truck passing or even smell a barbeque, its stark clarity is overwhelming. On those occasions, I know the trees are there, fifteen metres high, densely forested. I see the flames rise as high again or more above the top of the trees – a silhouette against an inky sky. The fire is the only thing. It assaults all my senses. In its appetite for destruction, it sucks in air at such a rate that all I can hear is the roar of the wind it generates, not even the noise of the wood burning or the trees falling. I can remember. I look for my brother. I can see nothing but the fire; everything else is so black. I call out for him. I cannot even hear my own voice. All around me, the embers are falling. One just misses me. When I look at it, I see that it is not just a small speck, as I had always imagined an ember would be, but the size of a small branch that has been thrown off by the wind that feeds the fire. The grass near my feet bursts into flame. There is precious little grass; the drought has seen to that. Suddenly, there is a loud explosion to my left as the air itself seems to catch fire. I cannot think what could be burning, what could have caused the explosion. Our house is to my right. Already, the embers have covered the roof in slavering tongues of flame. The veranda is alight. The rocking chair has succumbed to the attack. Nothing will survive, I am sure, including me. I start to cry, but I have no tears. My feet do not move. The heat, oh the heat! I fear that my face is blistering. Even though the sweat is pouring out of me, my body and clothes are hot and dry because it evaporates so quickly. The air burns to breathe, and when I do, it feels like I am swallowing sandpaper. There is so much smoke. I can no longer keep my eyes open; they sting so much. My brother runs out of the blackness. I am in his arms. Over his shoulder. To the creek bed, dry now for nearly a year. Over its shallow bank. Dad had built a bridge over the creek by putting a large concrete pipe into it and then covering the pipe with dirt and gravel. Into the pipe. Mark lying over me, protecting me. When the fire fighters arrive, they find us like that: my brother on top of me. I am completely in the pipe; he is half-in, his torso over my head and his other half exposed to the heat and flame. At first, the firies do not know that I am there. All they can see is a pair of charred legs and buttocks. My father is one of the crew. He runs to his only son. Gently his companions help him move the body. Only when they have extracted him from the pipe do they find me. For the first time in my life, I see my father cry. They are uncontrollable, torrential, shuddering sobs. You ask me what I remember of the fires. It was a long time ago, or so it seems. I know it was this time last year, just before Christmas; but I feel that it is much longer. Yesterday would have been Mark’s twenty first birthday.’

Your book has a varied and expressive narrative that will aid new readers in enjoying your engaging and thought-out plot and characters in this work. This is a very strong and thoughtful book .

Bradley Shaw, Shawline Publishing Group

Ahmed and Dangerous 
The Pilbara Lass

Landscape image of luxury catamaran.jpg
  • Corrupt police protect an international smuggling operation operating in far north Queensland. Their activities include smuggling and trading in firearms, drugs, and children for the pornographic and sex slave trade. Ahmed, himself a victim of physical and sexual abuse, has developed into a pathological killer who poses as a jihadist to take over the organization and blame it on terrorists. There is even room for a little romance.

Ahmed shifted his weight slightly as he settled into position behind some low scrub on the cliff top overlooking Broken Bay, north of Sydney. Through his binoculars, he focused on the yacht slowly edging its way up the Hawkesbury River towards its mooring jetty. He checked the name on the prow – The Pilbara Lass. He saw four people disembark. He watched them walk the fifty or sixty metres towards an elegant mansion, sited to take advantage of the spectacular views of the river and bay. The yacht had a crew of three and could accommodate up to six guests as well as its owner. This evening, though, there were just the crew and the owner, and they had all gone ashore. Little about this scene was as it appeared. For a start, Ahmed wasn’t his real name. None of his associates knew his real name. Indeed, no one knew any personal details about him other than what he wanted them to ‘know’. For the moment, he was the leader of a cell of five people dedicated to Islamic Jihad. The cell was small, totally committed to an extreme form of terrorism and political disruption in the name of Allah – all of them, that is, except Ahmed. Then there was the fact that although he had been born in Beirut thirty-two years ago, Ahmed wasn’t even a Muslim, let alone an Islamist. When he wished, he could be a Christian or a Muslim, an atheist, a Communist or an anarchist. Right now, membership of the cell gave him the resources to do what he wanted. So, that’s where his loyalty (such as it was) lay for the moment. He found his fulfillment in death and destruction. He had no interest in the cause – only its methods. The yacht, the location and the people were of no particular concern to him. This yacht wasn’t his primary target. It was to be the delivery vessel. It was owned by Tanya Tomkins, the daughter and heiress of mining magnate Sarah Goodchild. To Ahmed, the only significance of the yacht was that it had a berth at the Middle Harbour Marina next to the luxury catamaran belonging to Alphonse Devaux, a vice president in the world-wide Carstairs Foundation and its Chief of Oceania Operations. The occupants of the Pilbara Lass were disposable, of no significance to him, a bonus, added mayhem. The Carstairs Foundation was also shrouded in a certain amount of mystery. Ostensibly set up as an international, allegedly philanthropic, civil engineering corporation, it undertook development projects in underdeveloped parts of the world – a road in Colombia, a bridge in Vietnam, an airport in Zambia, port facilities in Fiji. It was a private corporation. Therefore, its financial statements were not made public. It published no annual reports. It was unclear where its funds to undertake these projects came from. One or other of its subsidiaries did work for USAID, AUSAID or UKAID occasionally, and was paid for that. When they did so, they were answerable to those government agencies. There was, therefore, some accountability for what the subsidiaries did. The source of funding and the motivation behind the projects of the mother corporation, though, were opaque. Attempts to find out the real aims of the Foundation were stymied by a highly sophisticated security system. This gave rise to vague suspicions in the various national security and police agencies around the world. It was on the periphery of their radars, not a high priority. None of them had devoted any serious resources to it. If the Carstairs Foundation was shady, and that wasn’t clear at all, were its actions criminal or political or was it, after all, entirely legitimate? At this stage these were open questions. After waiting for half an hour for the sun to drop behind the hills, Ahmed moved quickly to a kayak tethered to a mangrove at the shore. He clambered into the craft and put a rucksack between his knees. He covered the sixty or seventy metres to the yacht with little effort. He took up a position alongside the yacht on the opposite side from the house, threw a line over the railing and climbed aboard. Although the yacht was locked and battened down, he had little difficulty making his way inboard – one of his team had obtained a duplicate key. It took him just a few minutes to find where the butane gas tanks were. Taking a couple of packages from his rucksack he hid them between the tanks and the bulkhead. As it happened, they were on the port side of the yacht, which would normally be moored on the starboard side of the Devaux catamaran in the marina. It wouldn’t make much difference. With the way the gas bottles would explode they would amplify the effect of the quarter of a kilo of Semtex he had placed there. Everything in the vicinity would be destroyed in a great fireball. He wasn’t concerned whether the diesel fuel would explode or not. He thought it would. It would be a bonus if it did.

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