Category Archives: Action thrillers

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Four

11:30 Monday, June 2nd

Just after Jake shot the cop, Sally McGovern was walking along a street in Oakland, not far from the university. She was thinking about how boring her last class on real estate law had been and her plans for lunch. She didn’t notice the two Middle Eastern men walking toward her. She almost bumped into them. Startled, she murmured an apology and felt a stinging sensation in her left arm. The world swirled and went black. It was easy for the two men to help her into the van that pulled up to the curb. No one noticed anything.

Sally didn’t know it yet, but she was on the first leg of a journey to a living hell. The end of the trip would be an uncertain, drug-fogged existence as a sex toy in a locked room in either the Middle East or Japan. This was a one-way ticket. There was no road back. Her owners had paid an extremely high price for her. She had been carefully studied and evaluated for months until her future owners made their selection. The kidnapped blonde western women went to the radical Islamic fundamentalists who had contracted for them. They, in turn, often sold the women to the highest bidder. The prices for each woman started at one million dollars. Sometimes an auction was involved to drive the prices up. The kidnappers received a pittance. The real money went to terrorists who used the money to fund operations in western nations, primarily the United States. It was much harder to track these funds than it was to follow the transfer of funds from known terrorist organizations. The payment was in cash or money transfers to fronts from Swiss bank accounts.

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter Three

Back in their suite, Kathy said, “We are going to have to be extra careful. With the retirement of Captain Shorer and the loss of our CIA connection, we are hanging out there. The law enforcement community cannot be trusted. They will turn on us in a heartbeat if they get any clue to what we have done. We killed bad guys from Florida to New York, not to mention more than a few in India and Nepal. All our operations have been clearly beyond the law. We’d make a nice collar for any up-and-coming FBI officer.”

Jack nodded. “We need to start making plans for disappearing if things get bad. That means moving money into safe places, locating in-country and foreign safe havens, several sets of documents, and some appearance changes. Fortunately, we have the money and contacts to prepare a real contingency plan.”

“I guess I suspected something like this could happen. Thank God Captain Shorer gave us a heads up. With a couple of months, we can get ready. Tomorrow let’s get in touch with Kelly. We haven’t seen much of her since the big shootup in Virginia. She is nearly through with her bachelor’s degree at Pitt. I’ll call her first thing in the morning.” Kathy yawned. “I am wiped out and need some sleep before starting on the investigation for Captain Shorer. Somehow I can’t seem to refer to him as Paul.”

“I’ll join you as soon as I finish reading these files,” Jack said, holding up the files Shorer had passed along to them after dinner.

“Don’t be too late. I like to feel you beside me.”

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter Two

A little after 8 PM, the captain joined them at the secluded table Jack had reserved. The captain hugged Kathy and said, “You are even more beautiful. Jack, thank you for bringing your bride to our city on your honeymoon.”

“Hey. You know this is my favorite city. How could we pass up seeing our favorite police captain on our honeymoon?” Jack smiled.

“As I remember the last time you were here, both of you damn near got killed. If it hadn’t been for Shadow, the assassin would’ve done you. Where is the super dog?”

“He’s up in our suite. We had to promise he wouldn’t come down to dinner.”

Kathy said, “I love that dog. He can do no wrong. I don’t mind Jack leaving me alone but Shadow better be there. I’m really excited – when we leave here we’re going to Philadelphia to pick up Shadow’s baby brother.”

“Why to Philadelphia, the home of the hated Eagles?” snorted Shorer.

“We’ll be in and out before any Eagles fans know we’re in their city,” Jack said. “It just so happens, that besides the hated Eagles with their dog-loving quarterback, there are some very good Bouvier breeders close by.

“We’re picking up a prize four-month-old pup who has already won best in breed in a national show for young Bouviers. Little guy has a testicle that hasn’t dropped and so he is out of competition. The breeder’s loss is our gain. Shadow is getting old and I want him to help teach this young pup his manners. Shadow will always be the alpha in our house.”

After a bit more small talk and at Jack’s suggestion, Captain Shorer signaled their waiter and said they were ready to order. Pushing the menu aside, he ordered a bottle of Cakebread Chardonnay, lobster tails, cups of clam chowder, six-ounce filet mignon on the rare side, browned boiled new potatoes, and a small Caesar salad. He passed on drinks and asked the waiter to bring the wine instead. When the wine was poured, Captain Shorer cleared his throat. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with the both of you. Unfortunately, our period of working together is drawing to a close. My retirement date is next month and politics being what they are, I have to put my papers in.”

Kathy glanced at Jack before turning to face Captain Shorer. “When does this happen and how will it affect us?”

“It will happen within the next three months. I’m not able to give you a precise date. I’m afraid my successor will have no use for you. Our arrangement of working together will not be continued. In fact, I’m doing my best to make it all go away. The paperwork is already destroyed and computer files deleted and overwritten with a random program. Sometime soon I’ll need your badges back and ask you to destroy your official gun carrying permits. I’ll not be able to protect you any longer, like I was able to do when you killed the four people that attacked your Charleston home. I’m sorry, but whoever said all good things come to an end was right on.”

“Why don’t we give you our badges now?” Jack said.

“Because I want you to look into one more thing for me. I have another one of those nagging outside-the-box thoughts I want to tell you about. Are you willing to hear me out?”

“Captain, you know we both would walk on hot coals for you. Go ahead.”

“Today we had a patrolman shot from ambush. He’s in critical condition in Mercy Hospital. He was hit once in the face and once in the upper arm. The weapon used was a .22 Hornet. The rounds were hollow-point .22 Hornet. Ballistics not much use here. There was another patrolman right beside him. The second shot might have been intended for him. No one heard anything or saw anything. First I would like you two to examine the area, look for the sniper’s hide, and see what else you can find.

“I don’t think this is a straightforward attack on police officers. In the last year there have been 13 reported shootings involving police or firemen in the U.S. Only a few resulted in death. No clues anywhere, no matter how thorough the investigators were. But matching those attacks with other crimes within a few hours of the shootings revealed some perplexing information. Without exception, each case has a reported missing person report filed with the last known sighting of the missing person very near to the time of the ambush shooting of police officers or firefighters. All were young women, less than 22 years of age and between the heights of five-six and five-eleven. All were blonde, well dressed, with good family backgrounds. They were either students or young professionals. I believe the kidnappers are partial to students because of the movement patterns of students and the difficulty in pinning down the actual time of the crime. Unlike professionals, students don’t check in to a workplace on a fairly exact time schedule.

“You know how slow the police are to react to missing young women of that age. By the time it’s probable that some crime has been committed, the scene is cold and details are hard to come by. This is especially true if we are all chasing after a phantom sniper attack on police or firefighters in the same city at nearly the same time. My belief is that the timing of these separate crimes is not a coincidence. The shootings are used to cover up the kidnapping of young women by a group that carefully scouts and selects the women to match their profile.”

“And you want us to…..?” Jack trailed off.

“I want you to go over this file and investigate both crimes using your usual unorthodox approach. Report only to me on the phone. Do not come to the office. Try to stay out of the way of your old contacts.”

Jack saw Kathy nod and said, “Okay. We’re on it. Will check in when we have anything.”

“Okay, enough shop talk. Here comes our dinner.” Picking up his wine glass, the captain said, “Here’s to the honeymooners and my two best investigators. May you enjoy many happy years together.”

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“Shades of Justice” Chapter One

While Jake was making his uneventful getaway, Jack Brandon and his wife, the former Kathy Grayson, were checking into a suite at the Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was Jack’s favorite city. He graduated from Pitt and played football with the Panthers; he had been a star cornerback until his knee blew out. Jack felt at home in Pittsburgh. He knew the city. His days as a detective sergeant in the homicide unit after Marine Recon had been happy days until his marriage fell apart and his wife left him for a big name trial lawyer. That was all in the past now and he had no regrets.

Paying for an expensive suite was no problem for Jack. His father had left nearly half a billion dollars to his only son. Only Jack and Kathy knew the fortune was based on KGB money his father had taken when he opted for freedom in America. The KGB had searched for their renegade deep cover agent for years, managing to kill Jack’s mother and baby sister before they lost the trail. Jack only learned the story – and about the existence of the baby sister – when his father was near death. He told Kathy his father’s history when he proposed to her. She was shaken at first but her love for Jack overcame this bizarre story.

Kathy was a CIA officer on the fast track when her mother’s medical bills led to her resignation so she could take a more financially rewarding position with the Brandon Group. The Brandon Group, composed of Jack, Kathy, and Anita Marino undertook risky and violent assignments associated with the Brandon family’s past in fighting terrorism and hostile espionage. Anita Marino, another CIA agent, was killed in Kathmandu, Nepal, very early in their mission. Jack and Kathy recruited Kelly Marino, Anita’s only child, when she was a student at Pitt to work for the Brandon Group. She had her mother’s genes and quickly became a skilled warrior. Helpful contacts within the Pittsburgh police, where Jack had once served as a homicide detective, and his father’s long-standing contact with a senior CIA officer provided information and equipment to help in their fight against the nation’s enemies. Jack’s big black Bouvier, Shadow, had saved their lives more than once. Where Jack went, Shadow went. Shadow was graciously admitted to their suite. Money and an in with a city police captain gave the Brandons special privileges. But Shadow still had to use the freight elevator.

Later in the evening, Jack and Kathy were scheduled to have dinner with Captain Shorer, Jack’s old boss, in the Fish Market restaurant. The captain loved to eat there. There was a note in their suite saying Captain Shorer would be an hour late.

“Fine,” Kathy said. “That gives me a chance to get a workout.”

“I’ll join you as soon as I take Shadow for a walk down to the river,” Jack replied.

Jack never tired of the view at the Point Park where the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers join to form the Ohio.

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“Shades of Justice” Prologue

This begins the serialization of Barry Kelly’s third novel, “Shades of Justice.” Peruse this blog further for the serializations of his first two novels in the Justice Trilogy: “Justice Beyond Law” and “Justice without Mercy.”


11:20 Monday, June 2nd

Jake was not bright, but he could shoot.

His dad was a Vietnam War vet and a gun nut. When Jake was in his middle teens, his dad sent him to a shooting camp run by a former squad buddy who took a special interest in Jake when he saw the kid’s raw talent. The first summer the instructor told Jake’s dad that his kid wasn’t even full grown yet, but he was a better shot than his dad ever was. Jake thought his dad would be angry but, instead, he gave Jake a rare hug and praise.

His dad was dead now, but Jake liked to remember the praise his dad had given him about his shooting skills. When he was being honest, Jake would say he was very good at shots less than 300 yards. After that his success dropped off sharply. But how many times had he had to make a kill beyond a couple of hundred yards?

Not today. Exactly 125 yards. No wind. Good light. Doesn’t get any better. The two police cruisers were in plain sight, angled into the curb at a 7-Eleven just off Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh. Jake liked his hide. If you took the time to case your kill site, it was easy to find good targets and plenty of good shooting angles. He had found his line-of-sight to the popular coffee place for cops from the top of a building farther up the street. The angle was better than he usually had. Picking the lock on the access door to the roof took less than a minute. His bogus fire inspector credentials were not needed.

Jake loved the rush of shooting from an ambush site. He was a god. He controlled the destinies of his targets. It was up to him. He could kill, select the severity of the wound, or just scare them. The short term, five minutes after squeezing the trigger, was almost always the same. Mass confusion, multiple responses, wailing sirens, and scurrying pedestrians. The long term was different. Killing a cop was serious stuff. The city would never forget and the search for the shooter would be much more intense.

Today, in the next minute, he would shoot to seriously wound two of the laughing cops who were leaning against a squad car.

Jake often wondered why the voice that called him on his cell paid him for shooting cops or firefighters. The voice gave him a date, time, and city. The rest was up to him. Never any complaints from the voice. His pay arrived in his post office box on time. It was a good deal. He had never had so much money, but he knew something this good couldn’t last. He hid most of the money in the log wall of his cabin near Big Timbers, Montana. When he needed the money, there would be no time to mess with banks and leave a trail for the cops. They hadn’t identified him yet. But the hunt was on for the City Sniper.

Jake glanced at his Timex watch. One more minute. The voice told him he did not have to be exact, just close. But he was a professional and one of the marks of a professional is being on time all the time.

He was viewing the cops through an old 4X scope mounted on a vintage .22 Hornet bolt-action Ruger rifle. If need be, he could leave the weapon behind. He had bought it at a private gun sale for cash. Cleaned up, sighted in, it was a lethal weapon within 150 yards. Hollow points didn’t leave much for the ballistics guys.

Officer John Reilly was hit first as he was taking a sip of his heavily sugared coffee. The hollow point hit him in the left side of his jaw, blowing a large piece of his tongue and several teeth out of the exit wound. His partner pulled John to the ground but not before another hollow point hit him high on his right shoulder. Neither one remembered hearing the shots. There was no panic on the street or in the coffee shop. By the time the first police and rescue vehicles with their screaming sirens arrived, Jake had cleaned up the shooting site, put the disassembled rifle in his tool box, picked the roof door lock closed, and casually walked the short distance to his pickup truck. Another successful shooting and escape. He had planned to hit both cops but the one he hit first got in the way.

His next act was a week later in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He hated to leave the late spring weather in Pittsburgh for the uncertainty of the weather in Minnesota. It could be unbelievably cold waiting in a sniper hide. Only people who were strong and dumb could put up with only three weeks of warm weather.

He wasn’t either.

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The facts within the fiction

_DSC3194 copyIt is and has always been my top priority to develop captivating stories that people will want to read and talk about. But I also want my stories to give readers a deeper understanding of issues that may — and possibly already have — invaded their world. There is truth within every fiction if you know where to look. All of my stories, and the characters within them, are based on my experience and imagination. The events and people in these stories are not real but blend in with actual files. Like I have always said since my days in the CIA, were I permitted to talk or write about real-world intelligence activities, the tales would be similar. It is up to the reader to participate in the planning sessions and share the action and adventure with the characters.

Run to Freedom

The beginning of the Brandon family saga. Discover how the foundation of strength, strategy, and love was built, and prepare to fall in love yourself with the Brandons.

“A fast-moving page-turner.”

“The characters were so well developed.”

Justice Beyond Law

Everything you want from a good book is right here, from the classic good versus evil with some romance mixed in, as well as intrigue, wit, and a plot that will make you wonder, “Could this really happen?”

“Never knew the wheels were down on my flight. I was so consumed.”

Justice without Mercy

The Brandon family action continues and their mettle is tested when they need to find the balance between national security and tracking down a serial killer.

“My husband won the fight to read it first. He loved it.”

Shades of Justice

How far would you go to stop evil? Is there anything you wouldn’t do to protect the innocent? The Brandon family will be forced to answer these questions as they take matters into their own hands when a human trafficking ring hits close to home.

“Combines real-life experiences with a great imagination.”

“I liked the tradecraft and planning, it gave me an insight into your world.”


Quiet Justice

When terrorists try to take down innocents on U.S. soil, the Brandons take the fight to Fallujah.

“The reader is able to remember who each character is from the outset.”

“It was always an effort to put it down.”


Blood Justice

This book “is enough to wrap ice around your heart to see how similar the plot is to real-life radical terrorism.”

“Characters were wonderful.”

“Plot developed enticingly.”

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Justice without MercyBlood Justice Front CoverQuiet Justice coverBarry Kelly's fourth novel

The goal of radical Islam is not just to disrupt Western nations. The goal is world domination. A world that will then live under Sharia law. That includes you, your children, and grandchildren. So don’t you think you should know more about it than the news media gives you in sound bites?

I have followed this subject for several decades as a CIA officer, a Special Assistant to President Reagan with responsibilities of being his point on terrorism and intelligence, and from the vantage point of several field assignments, including Vietnam, South Asia, Moscow and the Middle East. Much of my knowledge and experience is contained in the novels I have written. Of course, I would like to be a best-selling author but, also, I want to share my knowledge with my readers. My first two novels, “Justice Beyond Law” and “Justice Without Mercy,” take the reader through the setup of terrorist cells and targets including the recruitment and training of Americans by Islamists to attack soft targets in America. These novels also show that the Obama administration’s blind reliance on “law and order” tactics cannot win the war against terrorism. All of the following novels are in the Jack Brandon Justice series.

Justice Beyond Law, introduces Jack Brandon and shows how a renegade KGB officer (Yuri) uses an abandoned network of KGB agents infiltrated into America years ago for his personal profit. The strategy Yuri uses to turn his connections into a profit-making enterprise and to manage his diverse network with agents of different skills is more than plausible. The methods he uses strain the traditional law and order approach to terrorism. The traditional approach involves the collection of evidence that will stand up in a court system bound to provide the protections of our Constitution and the rules of due process to all residents, legal or illegal. The collection period is followed by an indictment, the issue of warrants, an arrest, and finally a trial. An immense effort over a long period, but a very important element of our citizen rights. The heroes of this novel believe that, when dealing with terrorists who are in the country illegally, sometimes the safety of our people requires faster action than the law and order process allows.

Run to Freedom, is the prequel to the Jack Brandon action series. In this story I rely heavily upon my knowledge of the old USSR and its KGB intelligence apparatus. The story starts in 1920 in Siberia, with a little known deployment of American troops, just as WWI was wrapping up. In this novel the readers will travel from Russia, to Poland, to Canada and several cities in America, as Peter Brandon, Jack’s father, tries to escape the KGB in America. The forces the KGB deploys in America to capture or kill Peter are entirely within the capabilities of Russian intelligence in 1970′s America, as are the methods Peter uses to escape the dragnet.

Justice Without Mercy, shows the process an extremist Muslim group like al Qaeda uses to set up a series of terrorist acts in America to weaken the resolve of the people and lessen their trust in government to protect them. The plot of this novel is more probable than most people believe. Traditional law and order process is not capable of dealing with the fast-moving action of terrorism in the homeland. The law and order process pushed by the Obama administration, particularly by the Department of Justice, is more political than an effective counter-terrorist approach. There is a war brought by Islamic Jihadists against us. It needs to be fought with a similar approach. Foreign Jihadists don’t qualify for the protections of our Constitution.

The two following novels were written more than two years before the ISIS attacks in Paris, San Borodino and Orlando

Quiet Justice follows Jack and his growing team as they join with the CIA to take down ISIS terrorists in Jacksonville, Florida, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Charleston, South Carolina, and on the terrorists’ own turf in Fallujah, Iraq. This adventure in the Jack Brandon series pits Jack’s wits against those of a terrorist known as ‘The Fist of Islam,’ who has been converting U.S. citizens into warriors for Islam.

       Blood Justice, picks up the tale of another intriguing plot by an ISIS group in Iraq to bring the battlefield to the American homeland. Jack Brandon and his group are asked by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to be the spearhead in the defense of America from this massive plot. It is hard to imagine that the traditional tools of law and order can win a war against the forces of radical Islam.

All these books have been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.

The author has 27 years of government service, including two years serving President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as a Special Assistant. His books can be found at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook or ordered through your local book store.

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