In the tradition of TIME, the collection of short stories revolving around the main characters from the Jack Randall series, I now have a novella length story involving Danny Drake.
If you recall from CLOSURE, Danny is a young reporter looking to make a name for himself. His talent and a bit of luck made him a friend to Jack and he leveraged that into a job at The Washington Post. But Danny wants more, and he’s willing to take some risk to get it.
From the back cover:
Danny Drake is hungry. A good supply of natural talent, some reporters luck, and a natural ability to sniff out a good story have landed him a dream job at The Washington Post. But covering D.C. crime for the metro section is not the career he had envisioned. When fate gives him a chance to shadow a veteran photographer on an assignment to war-torn Syria he jumps at it without really understanding what it means.
Like many things in war, for those who lack the proper insight the lessons come quickly, and not without some pain.
So, with that, I give you INSIGHT, a Danny Drake novella, with coverart by Derek Murphy and a sample below.
$.99 until June 9th. Only at Amazon. (20k words / 68 pages / About 1 hour and 20 min)
“Danny, boss wants to see you.”
Danny glanced up to see Ginny sticking her head over the top of his cubicle. He tried to complete his thought despite the interruption. While his fingers completed the sentence on autopilot, his mind had already been pulled away.
“How should I know? He’s in his office with Sean.”
Danny scanned the paragraph he had just finished for typos. Her words sank in.
“Wait. With Sean?” But she was already gone.
“What the hell?” he muttered as he clicked Save. He left the laptop running and exited his cubicle. While navigating the crowded aisles he attempted to see over the cubicle maze and into his editor’s office. But whoever was in there was seated and out of view. He resisted the urge to run.
Rounding the corner he saw through the window his boss was seated at his desk. Ironically, his name was Ed, same as his last boss. Across from him was Sean Parker, the Post’s lead freelance photographer. He looked his usual self, dressed in faded jeans and a canvas shirt over a tight T that had seen better days. His bulging arms were crossed over his massive chest and he wore a frown on his scruffy face as he and Ed had a heated verbal exchange. His hair had not seen a comb that morning, or any morning in the last week. His boots, propped on Ed’s coffee table, were dirty and showed a degree of wear that spoke of miles of use. His army tattoo was bisected by a farmer’s tan on his left biceps. 82nd Airborne Division. He usually kept it hidden, but everyone knew it was there.
Danny tapped on the door as he walked in.
“You wanted to see me, Ed?”
“Oh, you gotta be fucking kidding me, Ed! This guy? You got nobody else?”
Ed waved Sean silent with a hand holding a cigar before pointing Danny to a seat on the couch. Danny sat on the opposite end. Sean glared at him.
“What’s going on?”
“Tim is out with the flu. Mark is in Seattle for his daughter’s wedding and Radeem is out for another four weeks until his foot heals. I need somebody to go to Syria with Sean here and all my A-list guys are out. You feel up to the job, Danny?”
“Seriously? Uh, you bet, I’ve been waiting for a chance. Sure, when do we leave?”
“Jesus Christ, Ed,” Sean groaned. “You’re killing me. Can’t I just go myself?”
“You know better than to even ask me that.”
Sean shook his head before running both hands through his mop of hair. His boots hit the floor and he swiveled to face Danny.
“Ever been to war before, kid? Ever been shot at?”
“Down in the projects a couple of times while covering a story. And the name is Danny.”
“Oh, well. Speak any Arabic? How about some Farsi?”
“No. My Spanish is good though.”
“My Spanish is good though,” Sean muttered. “Ed?”
“Look, even if Mark or Radeem were available, I’d have to talk them into going with you. They aren’t young men anymore, Sean, they have wives and kids and stuff. Not everybody has your loner point-of-view or sense of invulnerability. And let’s face it. You take a pretty picture, nobody’s gonna tell you otherwise, but you can’t write for shit. Danny can write. He’s good, and he’s paid his dues working metro since he got here. I need some young blood and now that we have a new owner with deep pockets I can turn this paper around. Hell, Mark still types his stories on a frickin’ Selectric! I have to have Ginny stick them in the computer for him! Nobody goes to a warzone alone. If you want to go to Syria on my dime you’re taking Danny with you!”
Sean sighed and collapsed back onto the couch. He stared at his boots for a moment before turning to Danny.
“Seven a.m. Right here. If you’re one minute late I’m ditching you.”
Danny suppressed his joy. “Fair enough.”
“Get out of here, Danny.” Ed sent him packing.
Danny rushed out the door, slamming it behind him. They both watched through the window as he sprinted for his desk. The suppressed glee now evident on his face as he disappeared around the corner.
“Dumbass. He’s got no idea what he’s getting into.”
“I seem to recall a kid in my office just like him awhile back. Said he was tired of taking pictures of animals for Nat-Geo and wanted to go off to war.”
“Least I’d been to war,” Sean shot back.
“The only way to see it is to go and we both know that. Look, Bezos owns the paper now and so far I like what he’s doing with it. The family could have sold out for more money but they didn’t. They wanted somebody who would turn things around here. That takes money and so far the man’s been pretty generous. What you won’t hear me say outside this conversation is that he wants younger blood. The A-list I mentioned are on their way out, either by their own choice or just by the era they’re stuck in. The Dannys out there in that room are the future, and I’ll say it here to you–I like where that future’s going. So get him to Syria, keep him alive, and get me some pretty pictures. Danny will do his part.”
Sean squirmed in his seat. “You just call me old?”
“In this racket your age is in your head, you tell me?”
Sean threw his large frame to his feet and walked out.