Join Andy Straka, author of the sci-fi thriller, Dragonflies: Shadows of Drones, as he tours the blogosphere August 5 - September 27, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
ABOUT DRAGONFLIES: SHADOWS OF DRONES
Shamus-Award winning crime novelist Andy Straka breaks new ground with this near-future science fiction thriller in which a former pilot and the ex-infantryman who saved her life search for justice in a world where surveillance by micro-drones is fast becoming the reality.
Former Army helicopter pilot Raina Sanchez is plagued by nightmares. She can't erase the memories of being shot down in Afghanistan, of losing her foot in the crash, and the death of her commanding officer. When asked by an ex-military contact to participate in a secret drone operation with ties to the war, she jumps at the chance to exercise some of her demons.
She joins Tye Palmer, the decorated ex-infantryman who rescued her from the flaming wreckage of her Kiowa chopper. As civilian private investigators, together they embark on a sensitive, risky effort: using cutting-edge micro air vehicle drones in an attempt to expose the son of media mogul Nathan Kurn as a campus date rapist.
But as Raina and Tye come closer to the truth about Kurn and his powerful allies, Raina's loyalties take a potential detour when she begins to understand a chilling reality. In a world where surveillance devices as small as tiny insects are being piloted into places most would never imagine, public and private forces both large and small are maneuvering to control them with inevitable consequences. For Raina and Tye the danger didn’t end when they finished their military careers?the threat has just begun.
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Publisher's Weekly has featured Andy Straka as one of a new crop of "rising stars in crime fiction." He writes the bestselling Frank Pavlicek novels starring an ex NYPD detective turned private eye and falconer (A WITNESS ABOVE, A KILLING SKY, COLD QUARRY, THE NIGHT FALCONER, FLIGHTFALL) and is the author of two widely-praised thrillers, RECORD OF WRONGS and THE BLUE HALLELUJAH.
Andy retired early from a career in medical sales to pursue his passion for writing. A licensed falconer, he lives with his family in Virginia where he hunts, hikes, and rails against the powers that be. He has also managed to survive a longstanding stint as a stay-at-home Dad, which makes neurosurgery look like tiddlywinks. An admitted technogeek, he opens a new series in 2013 with the near-future Sci-Fi thriller DRAGONFLIES: SHADOW OF DRONES.
Visit his blog "Prepare For Turbulence" at www.andystraka.com or stop by www.dragonfliesbooks.com
Chief Warrant Officer Raina Sanchez dropped the nose of her Kiowa Warrior as the chopper prepared to jump the ridge. Leaning back in her seat the midnight darkness seemed to embrace her. The high peaks of the Hindu Kush were barely silhouettes against the star-filled, moonless sky.
Raina loved this kind of action. The adrenalin rush from flying AirCav was like nothing else, the fight close to the earth, as close as a pilot could get. For a moment, she felt as though she were one with the helicopter, the controls responding to her gloved hands and booted feet like deftly falling angels, the flight of the machine a synthesis of her years of training with decades worth of technological add-ons to her Vietnam-era Kiowa. Cresting the rise, she fired a burst from the .50 caliber guns, her eyes coming to focus on the target. Captain Skyles ran the mission in the seat next to her, pinpointing their Hellfire missiles with the laser rangefinder, JTAC squawking him guidance, both of them gritting their teeth to keep from chipping them due to the shudder of the guns.
“I make about a half dozen,” he said.
In her thermal viewfinder the insurgents looked like miniature green phantoms skittering among a clump of buildings atop a small plateau at four hundred yards. She held steady for a three count while Skyles sent their missiles roaring downrange, knowing most of those phantoms were about to meet their virgins in paradise. The Op was already beginning to feel like a success.
She swooped the chopper over her own advancing infantry, the cockpit swaying as they moved into fire support.
They felt the near-miss blast as much as heard it.
Skyles turned his head. One of the advantages of the Kiowa over the larger Apache was that it allowed the pilots to see out the doors.
“RPG. Tangos to our right.”
Rocket propelled grenade. Where’d the shooter come from? She banked hard, swinging the copter back and forth in an evasive maneuver. Raina knew what she was doing. She hadn’t been flying a racetrack or any other identifiable pattern, but the flash of another RPG launch to their left knifed into her being like a sharp blow to the stomach.
Skyles swore out loud. “They’ve got us bracketed.”
This time they felt the full impact of the shock wave, jolting them violently to the side, the booming detonation so close it nearly ripped the cyclic control from Raina’s hands.
Only her helmet and restraints saved her. She recovered to find their cockpit humming with warning lights and alarms.
Skyles twisted around to have a look. “LTE,” he said, his voice tense but composed.
Loss of Tail Rudder Effectiveness. Nightmare time for any chopper pilot.
Already the ship was feeling balky. She pushed on the pedal controls. The Kiowa yawed left instead of right, against her will.
“We’ve got a problem.”
She knew Skyles was already beginning emergency procedures, engaging his own controls, helping her as best as he could to bring the chopper back under their command. But they had only one way left to go, and that was down, still traveling at close to a hundred knots, with precious little air between them and the ground.
“Hold on to it.”
“Mayday, mayday,” Skyles spoke into his mike. “Dragonfly 16 is going down. Repeat. Dragonfly 16 going in hard.”
She searched in vain for signs of hope in the darkness below, but saw none. Willing herself to stay focused, she could still see the outlines of the plateau ahead. For a moment she thought she might have felt a response on the rudder, but it was all happening too fast. The Kiowa was beginning to spin beyond their reach with the blackness of the mountain looming.
“Fight it, Raina,” Skyles egged her on and perhaps himself as well, straining against the centrifugal force as he dumped fuel and discharged the last of their ordinance.
If there was to be any saving grace, she would think later, if there was to be any occasion for her to fly again, she would gladly give it all away for the chance to take this one flight back.
The implosion of glass and steel snatched the useless stick from her hands as their spinning blades bent like flower petals into the rocky earth. The chopper broke into pieces, lethal projectiles of rotors flying off in all directions, the cockpit collapsing, smashing to one side and threatening to crush her before flipping over, driving at an angle into the ridge, blacking her out.
She awoke seconds later to the smell of aviation fuel and fear, gagging for breath as the howling pain at the bottom of her leg began to drag her into shock. She saw nothing until the tall American infantryman was there, leaning over her in the blur of his headlamp, ignoring the tracers punching the rock and sand all around them, the white of his eyes embedded within his camouflaged face, focused on cutting her from her seat and dragging her to safety, and all the while her trying to scream for Skyles, all the while her trying to cry out with words that wouldn’t come….
Raina shook her head, jarred back to reality as she stared into her darkened video screen.
She turned her head to look around. Her butt wasn’t parked in her Kiowa anymore, but behind a computer console in the safe confines of the back of a windowless van parked along a Northern Virginia side street.
“You all right, Rain?” she heard a voice in her headphones.
“Yeah.” She stretched her shoulders to break the tension.
“Lost you there for a minute.”
She reached for her joystick and made the needed corrections to put her reccee–as in reconnaissance–unit back on course. Outside the van, a beautiful autumn afternoon was blooming into full display, the crisp air punctuated by sunlight and the reflection of brightly colored leaves. Not that she noticed.
Half a mile away, her hover angel whispered through the pitch-black interior of the ventilation duct, guided by its mini CCTV night vision camera, moving deeper into the building, undetected. Barely bigger than a mosquito, the tiny drone–more correctly known in military parlance as a MAV or micro air vehicle–had been guided into the structure through an outdoor grate and carefully maneuvered through a maze of conduits and vents to the main elevator shaft, where it had risen under her control to the target floor.
This fancy office tower may have offered class A plus commercial space and the best security measures money could buy, including a pair of armed guards keeping watch on multiple surveillance cameras, but they were no match for Raina’s angel. The miniscule flyer was nearly translucent and almost silent, virtually impossible to spot except up close. Its miniaturized systems, from power and propulsion, to imaging and detection–had they been available to the general public–would have put even the finest Silicon Valley chip developers and Swiss watchmakers to shame.
Inside the duct, the natural light began to grow as the angel approached the ceiling vent above its objective. She switched from night imaging to the angel’s regular CCD computational camera system. Directly below the imagers, a white-haired man sat behind a large desk talking on a mobile phone.
Gingerly, she landed the angel on the edge of the vent for a moment, before allowing it to drop, unseen, into the room.
My Thoughts on the First Chapter:
The chapter was intriguing, faced paced, interesting and introduced us to Raina Sanchez who is haunted by the death of her commanding officer in Afghanistan. I was hooked by the first page and I would like to find out more how she copes with her past. I have always been a fan of thrillers as well as nano technology, spies and I feel that Dragonflies will include them all.
Dragonflies: Shadows of Drones Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule
Monday, August 5 – First chapter reveal at Cindy’s Love of Books
Tuesday, August 6 – First chapter reveal at The Book Barista
Wednesday, August 7 – First chapter reveal at Literary Winner
Friday, August 9 – First chapter reveal at Raven Reviews
Monday, August 12 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Tuesday, August 13 – Book featured at Working for the Mandroid
Wednesday, August 14 – Book reviewed at Vic’s Media Room
Friday, August 16 – Book featured at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, August 20 – Book featured at The Writer’s Life
Wednesday, August 21 – Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, August 22 – Book featured at The Story Behind the Book
Friday, August 23 – Interviewed at Review From Here
Tuesday, August 27 – Book featured at Between the Covers
Wednesday, August 28 – Interviewed at Examiner
Friday, August 30 – Interviewed at Broowaha
Monday, September 2 – 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review
Thursday, September 5 – Book reviewed at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Thursday, September 5 – Guest blogging at Author and Readers Book Corner
Friday, September 6 – 1st chapter review at Books ‘R Us
Monday, September 9 – Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, September 11 – Guest blogging at Allvoices
Thursday, September 12 – Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Friday, September 13 – Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, September 16 – Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth
Wednesday, September 18 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Friday, September 20 – Guest blogging at Between the Covers
Tuesday, September 24 – Book reviewed at My Cozie Corner
Wednesday, September 25 – Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
Thursday, September 26 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish