Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Debut Awards Crime Writer Finalist: Hellfire

TITLE:  Hellfire: A Novel
by Rickard B. Demille


An International Debut Dagger Award Finalist. 

“Packed with action, emotion and suspense.” --Crime Writers Association 

“A must read for any fan of the thriller genre” -- Joe Nassise, Internationally best selling author Of Eyes to See and the Templar Chronicles 

US Marine Travis Deacon always loves catching some R&R. And he loves being in Wales to catch it, until his best friend, SAS Major Gareth Jones, dies in an "auto accident." When Travis asks too many questions about Gareth's death, MI5 steps in and tries to send him back to Afghanistan. Then, the international terrorist who killed his friend, tries to send Travis to hell. 
It gets worse when Detective Sergeant Dee Jones, Gareth's sister, arrests Travis to find out if he’s involved. Together, convinced that Gareth was murdered, Travis and Dee search for the killer. They dodge terrorist assassins and British agents in their search across Wales for the truth. Suddenly, the murder investigation becomes a frantic race to prevent a terrorist attack that could change the world. 

“Strap yourself in for Rickard B DeMille’s  HELLFIRE, a page-turner full of humor,  reluctant romance, and plot twists that will  have you writhing in your seat.”
  --Margaret Bailey, author of Diamond in the Sky and the Waves of Amber trilogy

Kindle gifted copy of Hellfire at the end of the tour.

Rafflecopter Code:

My Website is: www.rickardbdemille.com

The Amazon link is: http://amzn.to/NE1ysW


I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to Rickard and Anita DeMille, who also provided five younger siblings for my amusement- four brothers and a sister. After graduating from Las Vegas High School I attended Brigham Young University. After my freshman year I spent two years in Venezuela and Colombia doing missionary work, then returned to BYU where I graduated with a BA in Spanish. Since then, I’ve focused my efforts on BS.

After college I was commissioned an Officer of Marines. I became a Combat Engineer, and ran my battalion’s computerized maintenance system. Soon after leaving the Corps, I moved to Houston, TX, where I resumed working with computers. I’d also picked up three kids along the way - Rick, Dave and Rob. Ten years later, I moved to Dallas, re-married the wonderful Tracy Ellis, and picked up two stepsons, Mark and Matt. I also began working with a group of exceptional Welshmen. It’s been over twenty years, Tracy and the Welshmen are still in my life. In those years I’ve also earned a Masters of Ministry and a Masters of Divinity from the Golden State School of Theology. Preparing a masters thesis rekindled my passion for writing.
A few years ago, I began to write seriously.  Since then, I’ve had short stories and articles published, in print and online. My work has been published by BeWrite, Darklines, Eros and Rust, and others sites. One of my short stories was published in the Australian anthology ADUMBRA. I also write screenplays and finished 18th in the 2010 Writer’s Digest Screenplay competition in 2010, and 16th in the 2011 competition.

Recently I finished my first novel, HELLFIRE (formerly A MURDER IN MUMBLES), a thriller set in Wales. HELLFIRE was a finalist in the 2010 Debut Dagger contest sponsored by the Crime Writers’ Association in London, and the 2010 SouthWest Writers contest. In 2011, I signed a contract with Transit Publishing, and HELLFIRE was published in February of 2012 as an eBook. In July of 2012 HELLFIRE was republished by MacDonald, Barclay and Co. in both paperback and eBook formats.  

I published my Masters Thesis entitled BIBLE STUDY: DEFENDING DANIEL, an examination of the historical, archaeological and linguistic context for the Biblical book of Daniel. I have already begun work on a sequel to HELLFIRE, currently titled COYOTE MIDNIGHT, which is set in Texas.


1. The book begins with US Marine Travis Deacon on leave from Afghanistan and enjoying his vacation to Wales. Wales is part of Great Britain, but it’s definitely not English:

They say that Wales can change a man. I never found out who “they” were, but three grey, eternally overcast days there had certainly changed me.
I was still a hard-charging U.S. Marine, but I’d been Enlightened. I’d come to believe that Welsh dragons were real, while my memories of the sun were simply delusions. And, I’d been converted to the one true religion—Rugby.
This transfiguration had taken place in Swansea, a port city on Britain’s jagged southern coast. I’d learned that the Welsh were not English, but a separate and proud people with their own nation, culture and language—a language that seemed to use vowels as a diversion rather than for grammatical consideration. My working theory was that the ancient Romans took the wayward Welsh vowels as tribute and forced them on the Hebrews, who hadn’t had any yet.
The previous day I’d almost performed the Heimlich maneuver on a frail old lady in our hotel restaurant. Turns out, she wasn’t choking, she was just asking for a glass of water in Welsh.

2. Travis’ host, and best friend Gareth, is killed in an “auto accident” and Travis is asked to ID the body:

Becket had been watching me. The arrogant little jerk had known it was Gareth. For some reason, what he really wanted was to gauge my reaction to the death.
Why? How did he even know I was in Wales?
Becket forced what he intended to be a sympathetic smile and nodded, but it looked more like gas pains to me.
“Is there anything you’d like to add?”
I shook my head, grateful he’d put the request that way. I wouldn’t lie, but I didn’t want to elaborate until I could analyze the situation myself. They could find out on their own that Gareth had been tortured then murdered, but I had no doubt that they suspected something already. I was equally certain they had no idea what that something might be.
The signs on Gareth’s body were subtle, but I’d seen this handiwork before, and recently. My commanding officer had some of the same signs after having been captured in Pakistan. I had reached Lieutenant Ibarra too late to save his life, but soon enough to examine his body. If those sadistic bastards were there in Wales, then something very, very bad was about to happen.
I would make sure that it happened to them.

3. MI5 tries to have Travis deported, but Detective Sergeant Dee Jones arrests him first. Dee is Gareth’s sister and she wants to find out the truth of her brother’s death, and thinks Travis knows something. She takes him away in her police car:

“You don’t find things to your liking?”
Dee watched me in her rear view mirror. I sat up and leaned forward.
“Excuse me?”
“You don’t appear to be enjoying your surroundings. Wales doesn’t agree with you?”
“Wales is fine, great actually. It just doesn’t seem real. For all these people, life goes on normal and happy. Gareth should be here, so no, things aren’t right, normal or happy for me.”
I held up my still handcuffed hands and grinned. “And besides, there’s really nothing that says ‘Welcome to Wales!’ like being in restraints, stuffed in the back of a toy police car.”
Her reflected face considered me with suspicion; those deep green eyes really were pretty. With a frown, she jerked the wheel to the left. Crossing a lane of angry, honking traffic she pulled over to the tiny shoulder, barely off the road. She spun toward me with remarkable dexterity.
“Maybe you’re NOT welcome.”

2. The antagonist is a terrorist from Pakistan, now loose in Wales. He owes his success to the tender nurturing of his father, a drug lord, who taught him a valuable lesson as a child:

[He and his father] sat on the porch while servants brought them hot tea. As they chatted and sipped the tea, a large man approached them hesitantly. The man stopped at the railing just a few meters from his father, removed the flat, round pakol he wore from his head, and dropped his eyes.
His father took another sip of tea then set down his cup, bidding his son to do the same. He looked at the young man seriously and explained, “You are of age now Abdul, and must learn to be a man. This training begins today with two simple truths, ones that you must never forget.” He pointed at the terrified man still standing at the rail. “Truth number one is that stupid people do stupid things. This is simply the way things are.”
His father nodded toward the man at the rail. “This man just returned from Afghanistan. He had been instructed many times that while there he was to avoid towns and valleys. He was vigorously reminded that he must have no contact with the agents of Kabul or their Russian masters.” His father glared at the man, whose head dropped so low that his face could not be seen at all.
His father went on, “This man was not wise. He did not follow instructions. As a result, he lost his entire shipment, and almost his life.”
His father finished his tea, then raised the glass above his head. A servant scurried over and took it from him to be refilled. His father slid his chair back, resting his hands in his lap. His posture had relaxed, but his face became serious. He stared at the boy intently.
“This brings me to the second truth you must learn today, my son. Since you can’t stop stupid people from being stupid, it’s best to just kill them before they make things worse.”
            His father’s hand rose from below the tabletop, holding a small automatic pistol. The gun swung quickly toward the man and fired.

5. Travis finally makes contact with the terrorist leader when the Marine neutralizes several of the terrorist assassins and keeps one of their phones:

Maliki reached toward the phone to hang up, but was startled to have it answered before going to voicemail. Instead of hearing Gamal’s gruff voice, someone else responded.
“Kandahar Marriott, home of the Taliban special. Survive three nights and the fourth is free. How may we help you?”
It took a moment for Maliki to analyze this new information and understand what was happening. The voice was American, but he had certainly called Gamal’s phone. This must be Deacon, but how was this possible? Maliki hesitated a moment longer, then asked with forced congeniality, “I would like to speak with one of your guests, a Mr. Gamal, is he available?”
Maliki walked to the table and slid a photograph from a stack of papers. One showed Sergeant Deacon speaking with a dirty, greasy man next to a wrecker as Major Jones’ car was being retrieved. The other was of Detective Jones, also at the accident scene, standing with a group of her colleagues. She must be a strong woman to function that well under such stress. She was certainly a beautiful one. He listened again, aware that Travis had been speaking.
“Hello?” The voice said, “who shall I say is calling?”
“I am a friend of Mr. Gamal’s.”
“Then I’m terribly sorry, sir, there was a horrible Cricket accident and Mr. Gamal seems to have lost his head. Where would you like it sent if we find it?”


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