Sampler: The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff
October 12, 2020
It keeps readers on tenterhooks, which is where they should be, whilst the shadowy world Bickerstaff creates delivers an immersive and authentic feel which quickly ensnares the imagination.
Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart, and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.
She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA wants destroyed.
As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA sends Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel.
With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.
Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts.
If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.
Run for your life…
Sampler: The Black Fox
From Chapter 2
When the woman came running out of the trail, she stopped when she saw the two men standing at their vehicle.
They watched her walk backwards into the trail. She beckoned her dog to follow her.
Both men saw puffs around her face as she panted heavily into the cold air.
Miles fetched a twelve-gauge shotgun from the back of the SUV. He settled it in his arms and took aim. He waited a few seconds for her to react.
When she saw the shotgun, she turned, and headed back into the trail.
He fired, and the shell pounded into her back, knocking her off her feet. She fell forward onto the ground.
Miles ran to her with his shotgun ready to fire again.
Peters followed, and they watched her crawl forward, but her arms and legs jerked in uncontrolled spasms. Miles hadn’t fired pellets or a slug at the woman. He fired a wireless Taser shotgun shell. When the shell slammed into her back, four electrodes penetrated her skin, and delivered an electric charge to scramble her muscle coordination.
The sharp noise from the shotgun frightened Whiskers. He ran back to the house.
Miles lifted the woman up in a firefighter’s lift, and took her to his vehicle.
Peters reported he had secured the second parcel. Then he ran along the trail until suddenly he stopped short. Shocked to see a knife sticking out of Coleman’s chest.
‘Geez. Fuck. Coleman is dead!‘ he shouted into his radio.
‘No names,’ Heskan fired back.
Sirens announced the arrival of Sarnia police at Garristone Gate just as Miles and Peters carried Coleman out of the Howard Watson Nature Trail. Just before they drove off, Miles reported recovery of Nighthawk-9, and that they were headed to the rendezvous point.
The first team had raced toward Lake Huron along Huron Shores Drive to Old Lakeshores Road. A speedboat called Nighthawk waited with its engine revving, ready to whisk the captured women six miles south to Lakeside Park on the US side of Lake Huron.
The speedboat driver called Ertha Odeele, and told her one of the parcels had arrived.
Ertha ordered Joe Koswalski to prepare for surveillance blackout.
The woman appeared semiconscious when Modamo and Amster manhandled her out of their vehicle. They saw a lot of blood on the seat, on her clothes, and on her legs. She had a gash on the side of her head, and blood had run down her neck, but not enough to explain the blood on her lower body.
They laid her on her back beside the vehicle, and quickly discovered she wasn’t obese as they’d thought. She was pregnant. They exchanged concerned and confused looks. No-one told them to expect a pregnant woman.
The fall onto the sill had ruptured her womb. She had lost a lot of blood, and they had no idea whether the bleeding would stop or get worse.
Amster fetched a first aid kit from the vehicle.
Heskan ran back from the speedboat to the vehicle to find out why the woman was on the ground.
‘This is a fuck-up. She’s in a bad way,’ Modamo said to Heskan.
Amster faced Heskan. ‘She’s pregnant. Why didn’t you tell us?’
Heskan knelt, and checked the woman’s pulse. ‘She’s still strong. Get her up.’
Modamo threw up his arms in frustration. ‘We can’t take her on a boat like this. She’ll die for sure.’
‘We need to take her to a hospital,’ Amster said.
Heskan replied, ‘This asset can neutralise a risk to our national security. Get her on the boat.’
‘Bullshit, she won’t neutralise anything if she’s dead,’ Modamo said.
‘What are we going to do?’ Amster asked.
Heskan stepped away from the vehicle, raised her radio to her chin, and spoke to Ertha Odeele. Her voice edged with concern as she explained the asset’s condition. She confirmed Nighthawk-9 had fallen, and LEOs were closing on her position.
‘I need the asset alive,’ Ertha said.
The speedboat driver stepped out of his cabin, and shouted to Heskan, ‘A Canadian patrol boat on the lake has turned around. It’s heading our way. ETA six minutes. We need to leave now.’
‘Can you outrun it?’ Heskan shouted back.
‘If we go now,’ the driver replied.
‘I think she’s losing her baby,’ Amster called to Heskan.
Heskan said into her radio, ‘Team two, ETA?’
‘Three minutes,’ Miles replied.
‘One minute, or you stay here, and face the Canadians.’
‘Go faster for Christ’s sake,’ Miles said to Peters.
‘Nighthawk-2; the main parcel is damaged. Transport could break it. What do you want me to do?’ Heskan asked.
After a long pause, Ertha replied, ‘Stick to the plan.’
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