Thieves and buried treasure

Coming soon:

SHOWDOWN IN CAIRO: Book 4 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

What follows is a sneak peek at Chapter 6 of the fourth book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION, my World War II-era adventure/drama series. 

The first three books of THE CAIRO DECEPTION are already available on Amazon.

In the excerpt below, Jack McCallum, a soldier turned treasure hunter, has made a discovery in the Egyptian desert outside Cairo. 

The discovery could make him rich, set for life.

But treasure isn’t the only thing waiting in the Egyptian desert…

CHAPTER 6

The gemstone was about the size of a plum. Jack picked it up from among the clay fragments, his heart pounding. 

There were little images on one side of the stone, carved into its oblong surface. Jack recognized these as Egyptian hieroglyphics, too, though he had no idea what they said.

“Tahmid,” Jack said. “Do you realize what this is?”

“Yes, boss. I do.”

It was unbelievable. This was the Garnet of Hatshepsut. Exactly as John Millhouse had promised. 

Jack felt a sudden, not altogether unpleasant wave of dizziness. He paused for a moment, to take in the realization: He was going to be a rich man. 

“Looks like you’ve struck it rich, boss,” Tahmid said, as if reading his mind. 

Jack was distracted by the distant sound of voices, going back and forth in Arabic. 

He looked up over the side of the hole. 

There were roughly a dozen men, dressed in what approximated Arab bedouin attire. They had arrived on about as many camels. 

They were about a quarter-mile away. At present. 

Roughly half of the men were carrying rifles. The rifles appeared old, but they probably still fired. Several of the rifle-bearing men wore bandoliers criss-crossed over their chests. Many of the men were also wearing scabbards with what looked like long fighting knives.

Jack ducked down back into the hole. He raised a finger to his lips, in order to indicate that Tahmid should be absolutely silent. He pantomimed the presence of the men with his hands and fingers. 

Tahmid took a cautious peek, as well. When he ducked down again, the man’s face bore an expression of abject terror. 

“Thieves,” Tahmid said. “Like I tell you, the desert not safe place.”

“You said that it isn’t safe at night,” Jack countered. “This is the middle of the day.” Jack pointed upward, at the blazing sun.

“Sometimes dangerous during the day, boss. Better to stay in the city.”

Jack was tempted to ask Tahmid why—if he felt that way—he had hired on as a digging assistant to begin with. But that was a fruitless discussion that he had no time for.

His only concern now was those men in the desert. It was a dire situation. Those men would think nothing of murdering two treasure hunters in order to take the gemstone.

Jack thought back to his encounter in the alleyway, with the gang of eight hoodlums (led by the short man with the scar), and the advice of Rudy Gunther, who had literally saved his life that day.

Rudy had advised him to acquire a gun. Jack realized now that he should have taken that advice. But he didn’t know how much use a British Webley revolver would be, anyway, against a small army of armed men. 

There was nothing to do but wait. The men were on their way to somewhere, obviously. They had stopped for a rest, or simply to look around, perhaps using the nearby pyramid as a landmark.

If they rode by here, Jack and Tahmid were goners. If they rode in another direction, they could probably escape. 

Jack waited ten minutes. Hearing nothing, he looked up over the edge of the hole again.

The men were gone.

“How long till our ride meets us at the rendezvous point?” Jack asked Tahmid. Jack’s digging assistant took care of arranging their daily transportation. So far, he had done that with reasonable reliability and efficiency. 

Don’t let me down today, Tahmid, Jack thought. Please.

“Two hours,” Tahmid reported.

The rendezvous point was at the intersection of two poorly maintained macadam roads. The spot was out in the open. Completely exposed.

Jack didn’t think it would be advisable to go there now, and risk so much time at a vulnerable location. Not with the garnet in his possession, and with a roving band of thieves afoot. 

“We’ll leave in one hour,” he told Tahmid.

He wrapped the garnet in a clean cloth, and placed it in his pocket.

***

An hour later, Jack and Tahmid set out with their sparse equipment for the spot where their transportation would be waiting.

They reached the spot, and Jack scanned the horizon anxiously. What if the armed men returned?

Then all was lost. But this was the last big risk. If he could make it back to Cairo, he would be set. Or almost set.

A short while later, an old Ford Model A came chugging into view.

“That’s our ride,” Tahmid said.

The car was driven by two Arab men, who greeted Tahmid in Arabic, and nodded unsmilingly at Jack. They strapped the shovels and other equipment to the roof of the car. Then Jack and Tahmid piled into the back seat.

Jack remained acutely aware of the gemstone in the pocket of his trousers. This was the stone that—if he could hold on to it and get it out of Egypt—would change his life.

The Arab men chatted with Jack during the roughly half-hour ride to the edge of Cairo. Jack didn’t mind. By now he was used to people speaking a language that he couldn’t understand. (And Jack had all but given up on learning any Arabic.) Jack, moreover, was lost in his own thoughts; and he now had a lot to think about.

There was another matter, though. Jack knew nothing about these men in the front seat, or their relationship with Tahmid. What was to stop Tahmid from double-crossing him? Tahmid could tell the men about the gemstone, and arrange a robbery. Then they could plan to split the proceeds from the sale of the garnet among them. Never mind that a stone this valuable would be virtually impossible to sell in Egypt. 

When he arrived safely back in the city, however, Jack felt guilty for his suspicions during the ride. True, Tahmid had been an unmotivated and lackluster employee. There was no indication, however, that he was dishonest or prone to criminal activity. Otherwise, Jack supposed, he would having joined the crew of the scarred gangster from the alleyway, or perhaps the men on camels whom they had seen today in the desert. 

Get Book 1 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

New supernatural horror series: ‘The Shaman’s Highway’

COMING SOON!

The Shaman’s Highway is a stretch of two-lane highway in rural Ohio where strange and terrifying things take place. 

Known in paranormal circles as “the most haunted road in Ohio”, the Shaman’s Highway is a route that you don’t want to travel at night.

Readers of ELEVEN MILES OF NIGHT will already be familiar with the Shaman’s Highway.

This upcoming series will feature new characters and new adventures. But the same cursed Ohio road!

The first installment of THE SHAMAN’S HIGHWAY is in production, and will be released soon!

1980s Atari flashback

(The above video clip is courtesy of the Twitter account 80sThen80sNow. Check them out on Twitter if you’re into ’80s nostalgia!)

I was in junior high in the very early 1980s, just in time for the Golden Age of the Mall Arcade.

In those years, the mall arcade was the place to play video games. There were two large shopping malls in my part of Cincinnati, Ohio. Whenever I’d managed to save up some quarters, I would finagle a ride to the mall and play.

My favorite games were: Asteroids, Battlezone (see below), Space Invaders, Missile Command, and—of course–PacMan. 

By late 1980, though, Atari started selling reliable and affordable home game system consoles that hooked up to a standard color television set. My parents surprised me with one for Christmas, 1980. (Hey, I had an idyllic childhood and loving parents. I won’t deny it.)

After so many years, I can’t be certain of the exact model; but it was probably an Atari 2600, shown below.

My Atari phase lasted through the 8th grade. When I entered high school in the fall of 1982, I’d moved on to sports, rock music, and girls. (Well, I moved on to sports and rock music. I was still clueless and awkward around girls at that point; but they certainly captured my attention.)

Video games were never more than a youthful phase for me. Video gaming was different in the 1980s. There was no “gamer” culture as there is today. (Or at least there wasn’t in my environment.) And of course, the Internet as we know it was still more than a decade away.

I have never been a gamer in my adult life, either. I’ve looked at the various role-playing video games available nowadays. They’re incredible, compared to what we had in the early ’80s. But I’m happy to leave them to others. I have more than enough on my plate already.

That said, I had a lot of fun with video games for a few years in that window between childhood and early adulthood. Lots of good memories, too.

World War II historical fiction in Kindle Unlimited

Book 3 of The Cairo Deception just dropped on Amazon. There are two more books coming, with release dates later in 2022!

Amazon description:

“An epic of espionage, sacrifice, and betrayal set in the years immediately before World War II.

A group of Germans and Americans must choose sides for and against Nazi Germany, and deal with the consequences of their decisions. 

Their stories begin in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. They will come together in Cairo, Egypt for a showdown in 1938.”

**You can read the series for FREE in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program** (This is kind of like a Netflix for books, for those of you who are unaware. And yes, I do get paid when you do that, thanks!). 

Click here for Kindle Unlimited free trial:

Click here to view THE CAIRO DECEPTION series page on Amazon!

This week in the 1980s: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Thirty-five years ago yesterday, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors hit the theaters.

Five Nightmare on Elm Street movies were made in the 1980s, with two more in the 1990s.  Oh…and one more (Freddy vs. Jason) in the early 21st century.

The first movie in the franchise, released in 1984, was brilliant. As far as the subsequent ones go….Well, this may have been yet another case of Hollywood trying to ride out a profitable concept for a bit too long. 

Kind of like The Walking Dead in more recent times…which is now in its 11th season. The Walking Dead stopped being really good about seven seasons ago, IMHO. 

New World War II fiction release!

The third book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION series will be released on Amazon on February 28:

Here’s the bookstore description:

Betty Lehmann travels to Berlin, where she discovers a new sense of purpose as an agent of the Third Reich. 

Ingrid and Heinrich Vogel begin their new lives in Cairo. They find that they have not gone nearly far enough to avoid the grasp of the German Gestapo.

In the United States, an American soldier is forced to commit a fatal act of self-defense. He flees to Cairo in search of treasure and a fresh start.

This installment introduces a new character: Jack McCallum, a young American soldier-turned-treasure-hunter from Indiana.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous two books in the series, I think you’ll like this one, too.

View HUNTERS AND PREY on Amazon

Oh, I should also note that HUNTERS AND PREY (like the previous two books in the series) will be enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service. This means that you can read the series for free if you’re an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber. (Click here for a free Kindle Unlimited trial.)

PJ O’Rourke (1947 – 2022)

I was browsing in a Barnes & Noble superstore back in the mid-90s one day, when I happened to come across a book entitled All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty

The author of the book was P.J. O’Rourke. 

I was only vaguely aware of O’Rourke at that time. I knew that he was a political commentator. But a different kind of political commentator: O’Rourke brought humor to controversial issues that made most everyone else mad. 

That was his reputation, anyway. So I decided to give the above title a try.

Suffice it to say that All the Trouble in the World not only kept my attention, it also made me laugh out loud. I was instantly hooked, and I have been a fan of O’Rourke’s ever since.

The mid-1990s were more laid-back, less angry times. The culture wars were already flaring up here and there; but mostly they were on a low simmer. 

I immediately recognized O’Rourke as a man who saw things as I did. He was a conservative-leaning moderate, who had no patience for pointy-headed double-talk, and the histrionics of what is now called “wokeness”.

But at the same time, PJ O’Rourke was not mean-spirited. He sought to point out the flaws in the philosophy that had already come to be known as the New Left. Having flirted with the New Left himself in his college days, O’Rourke knew firsthand that political leftism is an  intellectual disorder, but not an incurable one. He also realized that persuasion and humor could win a lot more hearts and minds than shrill denunciations.

In more recent years, O’Rourke has been somewhat mismatched to the times: a genuinely funny man in an age that has lost its sense of humor. Nevertheless, he maintained a following… myself included.

I found out today that PJ O’Rourke has passed away at the age of 74. He was apparently suffering from some serious lung-related issues.

While by no means a young man, his output had continued at more or less the pace of a book a year. I had looked forward to reading the essays and collections that he had yet to write.

This is one literary figure whom I will sorely miss. PJ O’Rourke, age 74, RIP.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Ed’s quick review

I am an unabashed purist when it comes to the film adaptations of books. Numerous novels have been butchered in Hollywood’s hands. Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining (1980) so much, that he all but disavowed the project.

Although the movie is now almost 30 years old, I wanted to see Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) for a handful of reasons. 

First of all, I had read that the movie closely follows Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. Secondly, Francis Ford Coppola directed the movie; and I’m an extreme devotee of The Godfather trilogy. (I can quote entire sections of all three Godfather films from memory.) 

Finally, with a cast consisting of Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Oldman, it couldn’t go wrong. Or so I thought.

I’ve read Bram Stoker’s iconic novel at least three times, so I know it very, very well. Suffice it to say that Francis Ford Coppola’s interpretation of the book does hit most of the major characters and plot points. (The character of Renfield, however, is seriously underplayed—practically nonexistent in the movie.) But Coppola made some major blunders, in my estimation.

First: way too much sex and romance for a horror movie. In the movie, Coppola attempted to reproduce the prudish Victorian sexual tensions hinted at in the book. (The sexual mores of the 1890s were anachronistic even in the 1990s, of course.) But in doing so, Coppola wildly exaggerated the erotic element between Dracula (Gary Oldman) and Mina Harker (Winona Ryder). The result is a series of plodding, old-fashioned love scenes that don’t really go anywhere, and deviate significantly from the book. (This is one of the elements that Coppola added in, which isn’t in the book.)

Secondly: flawed style and realism. The movie is very atmospheric, employing visual cinematic techniques that (once again) were anachronistic even in 1992. This creates a movie that has a lot of atmosphere, but lacks the realism necessary to bring about a suspension of disbelief. 

Thirdly, the pacing is more than a little off. And at 128 minutes, this is a fairly long movie.

My advice: You might enjoy Bram Stoker’s Dracula  if you’re a fan of the original novel, as I am. If you haven’t read the 1897 source material, however, you can safely skip this one. I kind of wish I had. 

Coming-of-age horror from the 1970s

REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS

Steve Wagner assumed that the summer of 1976 was going to be carefree. The 17-year-old wants nothing more than to spend his last summer of high school driving his new car (a ’68 Pontiac Bonneville) and working his part-time job at McDonald’s.

Oh, and Steve has a new romantic interest: the beautiful and strong-willed Diane Parker.

But early in June, there are signs that this will be no ordinary summer:

Young people are going missing in Steve’s neighborhood. 

There are mysterious hoofbeats on the road at night. 

Then Steve has a close encounter with the Headless Horseman, the vengeful Hessian officer who was beheaded at the Battle of White Plains in 1776.

And the Headless Horseman has brought other revolutionary ghosts with him. 

They all seek revenge on random American victims in this Bicentennial summer. 

As the supernatural forces target Steve’s inner circle, he is forced to confront the unimaginable. 

If Steve fails, both he and everyone he loves will meet grisly deaths before summer’s end!

**View REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS on Amazon**

‘The Rockland Horror 4’ available for preorder

I’m presently working on The Rockland Horror 4. As the title suggests, this is the fourth installment in The Rockland Horror series. 

The release date for the book has been set for May 3, 2022. It should be available before then, however. (I would imagine sometime in January or February of next year; March at the latest.)

If you would like to order the book in advance (at a reduced price), then you can do so here, via Amazon. Another advantage to the preorder is that the book will drop automatically onto your Kindle when it comes out.

If you would prefer to wait, or if you haven’t read the first three books of The Rockland Horror series, then you can either check back here (I’ll announce the actual release with a blog post, of course) or check  The Rockland Horror series page at Amazon. 

A note on reading order.  While each of the books is a self-contained story, they are best read in order. If you haven’t read books 1, 2, and 3, I would recommend that you start with those. 

Horror fiction in the factory

Read, “The Robots of Jericho” here on Edward Trimnell Books.

This is one of my early short stories. It was inspired by my many years in the automotive industry.

I’ve spent a lot of time in factories of various kinds, and that means plenty of time around industrial robots.

Industrial robots often seem to be alive. “The Robots of Jericho” is a story about what happens when some actually do come alive.

New World War 2 epic

I’ve got a new series coming out, which you’ll be able to preview on Edward Trimnell Books:

THE CAIRO DECEPTION

In 1938, a rogue German physicist flees to Cairo to prevent Hitler from acquiring the atom bomb.

On his side are his rebellious daughter, and a restless American treasure hunter.

Pitted against him are a ruthless Gestapo agent, and a beautiful American woman with Nazi sympathies.

 

BOOK ONE: THE FIFTH COLUMN

It is summer, 1937, in the town of Dutch Falls, Pennsylvania.

Elisabeth “Betty” Lehmann is a 19-year-old woman who works in her family’s business— a small-town general store.

Oh, and she’s also a member of the German-American Bund, an organization that actively supports Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

Betty is present at a Bund rally when unwelcome visitors arrive.

Read the sample chapters here!

Start ‘The Rockland Horror’ series for FREE: November 1 through 5

I am working on BOOK 4 of THE ROCKLAND HORROR series. THE ROCKLAND HORROR is a multigenerational horror saga about a cursed house in Indiana.

BOOK 4 will be set in the immediate post-WWII era of 1945 to 1946. More information on that shortly.

BOOKs 1, 2, and 3 are already available on Amazon, and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (for those of you who read through KU.)

BOOK 1 is FREE on Kindle for everyone from November 1 through 5, 2021. 

Keep in mind that Amazon manages the back end of all of this, and the exact hours at the tail end of the free run may vary, depending on your time zone. (So grab it early. Don’t wait until 11:58 p.m. on November 5.)

If you’re interested in trying out the series with a zero commitment, this is your chance.

If you’re interested in trying out Kindle Unlimited, check it out here.

Trick-or-treat hours, HOA shenanigans, and my Halloween 2021 report

Halloween 2021 went fairly well in my part of the world, with pleasantly warm weather (and the departure of an extended pattern of rain that left the Cincinnati area just in time).

I live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, or HOA. The HOA is a Sovietized institution that is always meddlesome, and occasionally a creative outlet for aspiring Stalins and Pol Pots. Participation in the administration of an HOA is voluntary, and tends to draw personality types who don’t like minding their own business. 

The parents in my HOA got together this year and voted to extend trick-or-treat hours for one hour beyond the 6 pm to 8 pm time frame designated by the local government. (Another thing about HOAs: they regularly mistake themselves for governments.) So trick-or-treat in my neighborhood was set at three hours this year, lasting from 5 pm to 8 pm.

I thought this was unnecessary, but you have to pick your battles in this world. I went along without any outward grumbling. I enjoyed Halloween as a kid (a theme I explore in my novel 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN), and I don’t begrudge today’s children the pleasure of trick-or-treating.

But three hours of trick-or-treating turned out to be more hours on foot than the average child or parent in my neighborhood could handle. The net result of the time extension was that everyone in the neighborhood went trick-or-treating from 5 pm till 7 pm, and the streets were empty during the hour from 7 till 8.

The ambitious members of my HOA at work…

Speaking of parents and Halloween: I have written before of the downside of helicopter parenting; but there is one upside which I must acknowledge: less youthful mischief on October 31. During my youth in the 1970s and 1980s, Halloween was basically a free-for-all, with kids running wild. Sometimes they victimized homeowners with vandalism, and other kids with bullying.

There seems to be much less of that nowadays, at least in my pleasant suburban part of the world. Change is rarely all good or all bad. It almost always involves a series of tradeoffs, with some things getting better, and some things getting worse.