Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome C R Harris to the blog. She is here to share about her book, Smoke and Mirrors. If this sounds like something that you would enjoy reading, please find buy links below and pick up a copy or two.
International journalist Chloe Moreau is drawn into the intelligence world where secret services collaborate as well as compete for information.
It isn’t only her investigation that is worrying the intelligence community, her husband has links with an Al Qaeda money-laundering project.
Chloe needs information from MI5 and they need her help to bring down the terrorist plot.
Can Chloe get the proof she needs to publish her findings? And can MI5 prevent the imminent terrorist attack on England?
Harris has written a conspiracy thriller that mystery lovers will enjoy. Le Carré with the pace of Dan Brown and readability of John Grisham.
A story about a multi-national journalist Chloe Moreau who is drawn into a terrorist plot. It covers the globe with modern power blocks and old cold-war tensions all in play. Not a tale of super-heroes. The characters are believable, strong and weak, smart and mistaken.
Publisher Lennox Books, Glasgow. www.lennoxbooks.com
Smoke and Mirrors is available:
CR Harris would like to offer a special discount code to our readers – 33% off the regular price of the paperback – only at CreateSpace – use the coupon code of CSMJHBUJ
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I am a self employed author and writer. I have published several books on Management Development in the past, but now I am enjoying writing thrillers. Smoke and Mirrors – The Suspicious Deaths of the Bioweaponeers was published by Lennox Books as an Ebook in September 2013, and paperback due out on 17 October 2013. Money for Nothing due in 2014.
CR Harris can be found:
Paris – Autumn 2004
or three whole days, Chloe had listened to Charles’s theories, his paranoia, even his obsession for an investigation into the deaths of biological weapons scientists. There was no reasoning with him, as far as he was concerned there were no accidents, and no reasonable explanations.
Chloe Moreau walked from the Métro to the main office of La France, a leading daily centre-left newspaper. Early morning Paris mist formed droplets on her tan trench coat; she had tied the belt, and would have put up her collar against the weather, had she noticed it. The colours of autumn were vibrant and the promised Swarovski moments of winter had yet to arrive. The traffic noise was muffled, and the only clear sound was the click of her boot heels on the pavement.
William S Burroughs is reputed to have said, ‘Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.’ Chloe’s mind was frantically sorting out fact from co-incidence, trying to decide what she would tell her editor and whether to commit to this lengthy project on so much conjecture. In her heart she knew she would, with or without the blessing of her editor; she wanted to know the truth. Turning off the main road, she took a short cut to the office’s underground car park, reserved for senior staff. It would save time, as she wouldn’t have to clear security at the main entrance.
Chloe became aware her footsteps had developed a soft echo. Either she had a stalker, or an innocent pedestrian was following her. She could hear her self-defence coach telling her, don’t rationalise away your fears, don‘t be a victim, plan against an attack. She regretted there were no Tasers, mace or rape alarms in her bag. It was Paris, a quiet tree-lined boulevard off the Périphérique, an area not known for muggers at the peak of morning commuting.
She pulled the cover off her umbrella. Now it could open at the touch of a button, it would serve as a cosh, and although it was lightweight, she hoped it would be enough. She opened her bag, stuffed the cover in a pocket, took out her apartment keys and placed them between her first and second finger to act as a weapon. She thought about what else she could use from her handbag to surprise her attacker. Drawing a clown nose with a coral lipstick would be a surprise, but not a defensive strategy. She put the lipstick back.
Chloe extended her pace, and for a couple of steps, the echo was out of sync. Then her follower’s footsteps changed, a leaf crunched underfoot a few metres behind her and they were in step again. This made her feel less paranoid and more threatened. Where was everybody? Had she missed a bomb alert while she was on the Métro? She looked up at the surrounding offices, unable to tell in the mirrored glass if anyone could see her. It was an unlikely time of day for staff to be looking out of the window; they would be looking at computer screens, catching up on emails, performing the usual routines of starting the day. No one would notice her from the windows, and they couldn’t offer help even if they did.
She could hear her own breathing, fast, deep, her body working itself into flight or fight mode in an adrenalin rush. If she made the hundred yards to the car park, and got through the security gate, she would be safe. Without the appropriate security key and pin code, her potential attacker could not follow her. She wanted to look round, maybe stare down her opponent. Instead, she quickened her pace. She could hear the rustle of her stalker’s clothes, perhaps from a waterproof commando jacket. He or she must be closing in. She considered making a dash for the entrance. Six months ago when she was in peak condition after completing a marathon in three hours, she might have tried, but not in these boots. She might manage an elegant jog but it wouldn’t be enough to escape. She cursed the vanity and impracticality of the boots.
The moment of reprieve came from a cruising taxi. The ‘Taxi Parisien’ sign glowed yellow in the mist as it turned into the street, on its way to the busy boulevard where, no doubt, it expected to find more potential passengers. She moved quickly to the kerbside and hailed the taxi, waving her arm frantically. She expected it to cruise past her, they usually did, but she had put more effort into the wave than usual, not caring if she looked ridiculous. When the taxi stopped, she bundled in, computer bag over her shoulder, messenger bag slung across her front, carrier bag of papers, keys in one hand and red compact umbrella in the other; she landed on the seat in a complete muddle. She exhaled, she had been unaware she had been holding her breath. For one brief moment she wondered if this was part of the plan, perhaps she was supposed to get into the taxi. Let’s face it; taxis never seem to stop when you really need them.
“Where to?” He turned, he had the look of a taxi driver, and he asked the right questions, an abductor presumably wouldn’t need directions.
“I would like to get back to here. Do you think you could drive round the block? I think that person over there is following me.” Chloe rummaged in her computer bag for her camera; she wanted a picture of her stalker.
The taxi driver shrugged, locked the doors, put the meter on, and drove slowly up the street. Her stalker knelt on one knee as if tying his shoelaces. Dressed all in black; combat trousers, soft boots that did not need retying, a zipped jacket, and baseball cap, not the commercial kind, but the sort that made your head look square. He didn’t look like a mugger. He looked more like…
Chloe took her photo. She thought it would be subtle, unnoticed in the gloom and mist, but she hadn’t allowed for the automatic flash feature. The only benefit was the man on the pavement was startled and looked up, so she took another photo. At least she could identify him. He looked familiar.
By the time, they had circled the block and returned to the underground garage, there was no sign of the man in black. She couldn’t decide if she was disappointed, feeling safe in the confines of the taxi, or reassured. She concluded she was overthinking it, paid the taxi driver, gave him a large tip, muttered things about being paranoid, and was encouraged by him telling her, ‘Better safe than sorry’. She walked down the slope to the pedestrian entry, used her personal security key, entered the pin number on the keypad, pushed the cold metal gate open and was relieved by the closing clunk of the heavy bars and grills relocating in their five-point lock; the noise reverberated through the garage. She leant back against the gate, and felt the outline of the bars through her mac, solid and reassuring. She exhaled long and slow, made her shoulders relax and felt slightly foolish. She smiled. She wasn’t sure if she had overreacted or had taken a wise precaution. Her few days with Charles had given her the start of a cold, and a mild dose of paranoia.
She made her way across to the lift through puddles of fluorescent light and pools of grey shadow; past concrete pillars streaked with car paint and rubber bumper marks, a testament to the need for parking and the impossible number of spaces promised by the property developers, none of whom it seemed actually drove.
A vehicle stopped at the garage entrance and she heard the noise of the metal shutter rolling up. She paid it no attention and assumed a colleague had arrived for work. Instead, she focussed on the numbers above the lift as they counted down its descent to the basement. The lift stopped at the ground floor. Silently and impatiently, she implored the lift to come down to the basement to collect her, rather than going up with its new passengers. She pressed the button three times in quick succession in the hope the computer lift control would note her urgency. She wanted coffee and companionship – in that order.
Chloe never found out whether the lift came down or went up.