Welcome to the blog tour for action-packed thriller, The Failsafe Query by Michael Jenkins! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a print copy of the book!
The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.
Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.
The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.
Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.
Sean arrived at Natalie’s room at exactly 7.25pm.
‘Time to get down to business I think, Natalie,’ Sean said cheerily as he walked through the door, acting chirpily.
‘Why? What’s happened?’ she inquired, holding the door open.
‘Well, it’s all good. I have the files for you. It’s time to see you transfer that money into my account if you don’t mind. The files are all on a Dropbox site that Alfie uploaded them to. I also want to discuss the conditions under which we operate from here.’
Natalie closed the door, simultaneously responding with a large smile. ‘Great, let’s have a celebratory drink and get down to business then.’
Natalie, looking elegant in a red dress and black heels, walked behind Sean as he strode purposefully to the round table next to the balcony.
He sat adjacent to her laptop, the smell of Natalie’s perfume permeating the air. Sean placed his phone next to the laptop and gently aimed his covert live-feed camera, hidden in his jacket button, towards the keyboard.
The live feed went directly to one of Samantha’s operators sitting at his desk in London. Sean visualised the activity of Samantha and her operators back in MI5, who were watching as Natalie typed in her login name and password on the keyboard. Sean’s phone, issued by GCHQ, had a very powerful Wi-Fi encryption scanner inside it, and it began to lock onto the wireless ports within Natalie’s laptop. The technology had been designed by GCHQ and started to retrieve data via cyber vulnerabilities and to break through the encrypted firewalls of the laptop’s Wi-Fi system, creating a data tunnel. It then retrieved a series of files and operating system codes which were immediately uploaded across an encrypted point-to-point link, allowing an operator in Cheltenham to grab the files. The operator would soon be able to mimic the Wi-Fi and 4G connections that Natalie would link to, and then breach the established data security software to retrieve all elements of the operating system held on her laptop. He would effectively have full command and control. Once he had confirmed he had control, Samantha authorised him to embed a small application – and he began retrieving the files he wanted.
Sean asked Natalie to transfer the funds, so he could then hand over the files. Natalie opened up an HSBC online account, one of many she used, and Sean captured the keystrokes she made on the keyboard via the covert camera. Samantha was immediately able to penetrate the account using the apps that had been placed on the computer as well as the typing her operator had picked up from Sean’s still photographs. Natalie then transferred fifty per cent of the funds to two of his accounts. Sean sat back and passed the logins to Natalie for the cloud account holding the data. Sean passed the envelope to her and, before long, she had gained access to the site and files.
Natalie was in. Sean could see her elation, and sense her thoughts. She was joyous that she had succeeded and was thinking about the effect it would have on her Moscow overlords. She looked over her shoulder and smiled at Sean. She then began trawling through all the files. Sean felt pleased.
‘Look at the one called QUERY,’ Sean said wryly. ‘Quite a revelation if you ask me.’ He then stood up and made his way to the drinks bar.
As Sean leant over to lift his glass in Natalie’s hotel room, all hell broke loose. He heard the boom of a thunderous explosion as the door was smashed open and saw the black outlines of very large men, who pounced on him, smashing him to the ground.
He heard the crack and thump of a double-tap gunshot as he saw Natalie stand and fire two shots into the second attacker, who kept coming straight for her despite bullets hitting his chest. The body armour repelled the nine-millimetre shots Natalie had fired and she was pounced on by a huge man, who punched her straight in the face before turning her onto her chest, and then thrusting her head into the carpet. Sean was bundled to the ground, his arms and shoulders pinned down, and a set of plastic tie-wrap handcuffs violently strapped around his wrists. He felt the pain of his nose breaking as he was brutalised into submission.
‘What the fuck?’ Sean screamed, before being kicked firmly in the ribs. They pulled him to his feet as the shock of capture registered once more with him.
‘Right: get these two out of here, do a check for weapons and make sure you search them thoroughly before you get them into the wagons,’ the leader shouted, whilst gesturing to his team to get a move on.
Sean was frogmarched outside the hotel. All he saw was blue and white police tape and flashing blue lights everywhere. The hotel had been quietly evacuated and he caught the eyes of a crowd of people watching from a distance behind a cordon manned by the gendarmerie.
This giveaway is International!!!!
To win a Print Copy of The Failsafe Query enter HERE
I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I feel privileged to have served for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, working in Defence Intelligence and Counter-Terrorist Bomb Disposal operations, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.
The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, and I hope you enjoy the follow up novel, The Kompromat Kill, and my third in an ongoing series, The Moscow Whisper. Each can be read as standalone novels.
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