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The Haze Kindle Edition
Love, mystery, and intrigue erupt against the backdrop of a CIA operation in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“A knotty and satisfying tale of action, drama, and secrets.” — Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of superior post–Cold War spy fiction will be satisfied." — Publishers Weekly
When the CIA contacts Hector Kane after two years of tossing him out in the cold, Hector has to wonder why him of all the disgraced former employees of the Agency.
Hector's life has never been the same ever since. His marriage to a smart and stunning Asian-Canadian nurse is near the end after the death of their only son. His teaching job at the American Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in Cairo is nowhere exciting as his intelligence career. Hector's heart and mind are still hung up on his exciting past as a spy.
So when the CIA offers him one last chance, Hector doesn't hesitate.
His mission is simple. As the Muslim Brotherhood consolidates power over Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, Hector will fly out of Egypt with his wife and a careful selection of five graduate students to an exotic island in the South China Sea. No questions Hector. More will be revealed in Asia.
But in Asia, things get more mysterious by the day. First, Hector begins to question the nature of his mission when the CIA instructs him to infect one of his female students with a deadly Chinese virus. Second, Hector soon receives a call from a powerful Saudi prince who claims that Hector's wife is in fact a spy working for the Chinese government—a spy who has seduced and kidnapped the prince’s son.
Unable to tell the CIA, Hector must act alone. He has to contact Chinese intelligence, locate the prince's son, and relearn everything he thought about his marriage, his mission, and himself.
"A knotty and satisfying tale of action, drama, and secrets." - Kirkus Reviews
"Engrossing... Hawkes keeps the twists coming... Fans of superior post-Cold War spy fiction will be satisfied." - Publishers Weekly
"With its relentless pace, smart plot, and top-notch writing, The Haze makes for a most appealing and compelling read... The Haze is a must-read for fans of Spy Stories and is recommended without reservation." - Book Viral
"A thoroughly enjoyable contemporary spy novel recommended to fans of the well-known 'heavy hitter' espionage writers." - Reedsy
"Reading The Haze feels very much like going on a tour round the world and meeting diverse people, cultures, cities... The author's wordplay is quite fascinating. . . Also, to his credit is his in-depth knowledge of global geopolitics which he put to good use in giving the book areal life semblance. The Haze is a thrilling book that could make anyone's day." - Mary Jane Anderson, book blogger
From the Author
The stench was closer. And the smoke too. It had the color and quickly dissipating form of a murder of crows. Hector rushed through the dorm's entrance and up the stairs. The stairs were dense with smoke and he held his breath the longest he could. On the second-floor flight, he banged into a late survivor bumbling downstairs. Hector opened his mouth to ask him about the source of the fire, but an insuppressible cough prevented him.
He pushed himself up to the third floor with growing nausea. The fire was there in full bloom: vivid pumpkin, hot, hissing, and hungry. It'd caught the ceiling of the hallway, and the dead fumes were seeping from under Hector's own door.
Unit 301, as it happened, was the nucleus of this inferno.
Hector coughed incessantly. He felt dizzy. But he managed to kick his door, and the smoldering wood fell without resistance. A tongue of fire pounced on Hector now, like a lurking nemesis. Hector retreated to the hallway, coughing and covering his masked nostrils with his sleeve. His eyes were burning. He looked at the glass windows of the hallway and tried to smash one of them. Yet the glass was too strong.
He swung his head toward his apartment and screamed, "Yubi! Are you inside?"
He walked back to the flames. The woodwork was a ring of fire, the blaze vehement on the left side. He peered through and saw his carpet and sofa ablaze. The curtain covering the wide glass window behind the sofa was the cradle of a growing baby of hell, which crawled to the ceiling before his burning eyes.
Something was keeping the fumes at bay, though, slowing their accumulation. The hallways and stairs, Hector realized, were overwhelmed by smoke because they were closed spaces.
And finally he spotted it. Above the sink there was a small hopper window that he'd never bothered to close even when the haze raged. And this small window made his heart rejoice. Hope!
Before his excitement paralyzed him, he charged through the door then to the sink, ouching and cursing all the way. He opened the faucet and quickly immersed his head and mask in the warm water. Then he took off his shirt and wetted it too. He spun around and scanned his burning residence. Yubi was nowhere to be seen.
"Yubi! Yubi! Where are you?"
He wrapped his wet shirt around his trunk and maneuvered his way back toward the doorway. In the bedroom, he saw only fire. The bed, the dressing table, the curtains, the wardrobe, all coalesced into one giant blaze. This was the hub of the fire, its hellish womb. If Yubi was there, she was no longer among the living.
Hector felt like bawling. He coughed and rasped, "Yubi! Can you hear me?"
At length his cough got more strident and his nausea revisited him. He lurched back to check the one area of the apartment he needed to see last before he saved his wife—or perished with her.
The bathroom was on the southeastern side of the apartment. It had a folding plastic door, which had melted from the heat, and inside it was full of toxic smoke.
"Yubi, you there?"
Only the gases greeted him.
He closed his eyes, held his breath, and waded inside, fumbling for the sink on his right, then for the four pegs on the wall to his left. Then for the shower at the far-left corner. There he found her. He opened his eyes and saw her, lying on the shower base. She was holding a book close to her bosom, curling like a frightened child on a stormy night.
He dropped to his knees and held her. "Yubi, I'm right here, babe. Right here."
She only moaned. She was alive but weak. Her face was sticky all over. He swung the faucet to the right side to let the cold water drench them. But cold was boiling hot. He quickly turned it off and heaved his wife away.
The hall was a veritable sitting room of hell now. The fire had grown out of the bedroom to overtake the whole apartment. The ceiling looked like a skyscape from the apocalypse. There was literally no square foot free of fire on the floor. The doorway was obliterated by the blaze, one with the wall. It was not visible anymore.
Hector hoisted his wife tightly in his arms and thought of an escape route. But there was none. Even the big window behind the sofa was covered by the burning curtain. It would take a lot of power to smash it, anyway. By which time both of them would be dead. And even if he managed to crack it, what awaited them was a free fall from forty-five feet—not a nice death.
The demonic pumpkin, masquerading as flame, drew nearer to his feet. Hector stepped back coughing, fighting to stay conscious. Yubi was getting heavier. His chest wheezed. The hot plastic stung his back, and he yawped with pain.
He stumbled back into the bathroom and laid Yubi on the floor. Through the melting door he saw the Pumpkin Demon laughing at him, its eyes hollow, its smirking face kin of Fabio's. It had teeth made of white plastic, a maw dark with smoke. It drew nearer and nearer, and it licked his face with its toxic, serpentine tongue.
And then he was swimming in heavenly white clouds.
- ASIN : B088HH5VDN
- Publisher : Athena Book Tavern (May 11, 2020)
- Publication date : May 11, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 2206 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 434 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,749,893 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews: