Monday, August 20, 2012

Vultures in the Playground

Free - 632 pages

Name: Archie Parsons. Occupation: Malaria consultant. Hobbies: Mosquito husbandry. Boulder climbing. Long walks at sunset in failed states. 

That last item nearly gets Archie killed when he is mugged fresh off a plane in Liberia. He is lucky to limit his damage to a scalp contusion and a stolen passport.

Turns out, these weren’t run-of-the-mill thugs. They work for a secret and powerful industrial consortium. Their goals: murder and identity theft. They want Archie’s visas and connections with Ministers to lubricate a killing spree of obstructive politicians and activists in and around the Gulf of Guinea. The executions are to be handled by their top assassin – a man named Black. 

During a second attempt to take down Archie, Black is killed in a freak accident in an airport washroom. But the consortium assumes that their man prevailed. He’s Agent Black, after all. 

They blindly shuttle Archie all over West Africa, providing airline tickets, weapons and intelligence via briefcases left in luxury hotel suites. For a time he plays along, exploiting his mistaken identity to warn intended targets of their peril. 

When the consortium discovers their error, they dispatch Black’s East African counterpart, a man named White, to set things straight. Archie finds himself pitted against the most brutal corporate assassin on the African continent. 

The State Department won’t help him because he’s officially deceased, not to mention, some of their people are consortium plants. The only person who comes to his aide is his cat-sitter Melissa, a young woman with a shadowy past that makes her much more formidable than she seems.

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