He shoves a handful of Cool Ranch Doritos in his mouth and then he wipes his hands on his jeans and he says through the mouthful: “ I became an Army Ranger to shoot people in the face.” I nod. I think I nod. My face does something and then I try to look like I’m not judging him, but I’m judging him and then I etch-a-sketch my head to get rid of it. Doesn’t matter, because he isn’t looking at me. He’s scanning the crowd, crunching noisily on the chips. Says: “ That was my favorite part of the job. And if you ask my wife what I miss most about being an Army Ranger, she’ll say ‘ shooting people in the face’.”
His name is Miguel. He’s 5-3, 140lbs and he scares the hell out of me. It’s December, 2011 and its snowing outside the climate controlled walls of the Safeway we’re walking around in. I’m nodding again, because I don’t really have words for a response to that. I don’t know how we got to this subject, the one with him shooting people in the face, but this is what happens when you work undercover with a partner. You talk. Miguel became an Army Ranger for 6 years back in ’02 when being in the military meant going to war, no doubt about it, and going to war meant Iraq or Afghanistan. When he got out in ’08 he was kind of at a loss as far as what to do with himself. Now he does undercover shoplifter apprehension.
As an author it’s easy to make characters that are caricatures of real people. Characters that are evil to the core or pure as the driven snow. But it reality, people are messy and complicated. They wipe crumbs on their jeans and tell you they love shooting people and then they ask you about your day and five minutes later the two of you chase a thief outside and they eat a punch for you. People grow. They change. At the end of the day if you’re creating characters and you want them to be real, they have to do those things. They have to come home and hate themselves some days. They have to do something spectacular and then turn around and fuck up making a sandwich. They have to eat too much and feel sick and not sleep enough and feel crazy. They have to have picnics and wash their cars and go to the grocery store and think naughty things about the man behind the register.
Having a burning hatred for someone, and standing in front of your stormy window thinking about revenge is all well and good and it says something about your villain, but sometimes, what he makes for dinner is more telling and appalling than any of that. He has a skull and crossbones tattoo that he got from a shahman in an ancient cult? Hm. He puts Ketchup on his eggrolls? Bastard.
Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he's wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can't abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric "Etch" Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay.
First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can't get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.
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Genre – Thriller, Mystery
Rating – R
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