Port in a Desert Storm

Author: Tom Fugate
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 304
Genre: Espionage/Thriller
July of 1990. The world is once again a dangerous place. The powder keg that is the middle east is once again ready to explode. The small oil rich country of Kuwait has been invaded by the forces of the Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. The world is on the brink of war as a coalition is formed and preparations are made. Lee Thomas is once again right in the middle of the situation even before it starts. Sometimes your dreams can turn out to be nightmares, or even worse they can turn out to be reality. From Washington, DC to MI6 Headquarters in London England and then to the hotbed of the Middle East Lee is once again a witness and participant to history.

My Review

 This is the first book I have read by this author. Having not read any of the prior novels, I was able to easily find my groove with this book and the characters. I liked this book.

Lee is a good main character. He was kind of like MacGyver with his paperclip. Plus, he is calm under pressure. Which is great as this book started out with a difficult situation. From there the storyline was lined out with introduction to other new characters to me. I have to back up one more moment to Lee. Another thing that I liked about him is that his job is a journalist. So, he is like the wild card as the bad guys would never suspect him of being dangerous.

The many different locations was great. Every time that the story shifted to one of the other locations, I felt like I was there with Lee. The only downside I have about this book is that it felt like there was more conversation then there was action. Aside form the first scene, I did not really see much again until about the last third of the story. Yet, I enjoyed this book enough to want to check out the prior books. 


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About the Author


Tom Fugate is a 1978 graduate of Virginia Tech.  Born in the baby boom (1956) he still lives in his hometown of Hiltons, Virginia.   He has worked in radio, television news, the printing industry and in computer support.  Port in a Desert Storm is the fourth book in the memoirs of Lee Thomas.  Mr. Fugate has never worked for any government agency, but he did grow up reading a lot of spy novels.



Book Excerpt:

January 1991 about 8am Iraq local time

When he entered the room I was still sitting in the chair that my feet had been tied to.  My hands were still behind my back as they had been after I was put into the chair in handcuffs.  The look on his face was evil.  There was no doubt that he was planning something very antisocial.  I gave him my best “I know something you don’t know” look.  He almost staggered with the intensity of my gaze.  Upon seeing the knife in his hand I did not think he was there to cut me free.

“You really don’t want to do that.”  I said in a hard steady voice.  I knew he understood English.

“Yes, I do.  I shall enjoy this.  You shall suffer before you tell me of your spying and then you will die a very bad death.”  His voice was hard and had the accent of a fluent but nonnative English speaker.

“Last chance to change your mind.  You can still walk away from this alive.”  My voice was hard cold and hit him like a sledge hammer.  He hesitated in mid-step when I said those words and looked at him with a look that promised very bad things for him.  My words and attitude had rattled his view of the situation.  The world view that he functioned with did not contain people who were not terrified of him.  His biggest problem was that he might not have been smart enough to realize his own mortality was staring back at him and screaming stop before it was too late.

The biggest problem that secret police types have is with dangerous people who are not intimidated by them.  When you are a bully you are off your game when people don’t cow to your wishes.  Snarling, his progress toward me resumed after a noticeable break in his previously confident stride.  His grip on the knife changed to a point down grip for driving downward like an ice pick.  The look in his eyes said that now he was thinking only in terms of my pain and could care less about information that I might have.  He was so enraged that he did not notice the slack in the bindings around my ankles. The knife was raised above his head as he continued forward. He was used to fearful and helpless victims.  I was not sure if it was my tone of voice, my attitude or the now missing British accent but I had upset the poor bastard.

The rage grew in his eyes when I smiled coldly and showed no fear of him.  His one and only chance for a good outcome for him was passing rapidly.  Dealing with the fact that I did not cower from him warped his ability to think.  There is a constant among bullies anywhere in the world.  They do not deal well with loss of control, with a loss of power over their victims.

“INFIDEL,” he screamed at me.  We were well away from any other people and he had closed the door when he entered.  He and I were both on our own and could reasonably expect no interference.  He assumed he had the advantage.  An instructor at the FARM had once told me that he could make me so dangerous that I could be tied naked to a chair and scare most people.  I was sort of tied to a chair and not naked, but the scary part might have been true.  The stupid secret police type never thought that anyone could be worse than him.   Attitudes like that are very bad news for you if you don’t have control of the situation.  He only thought that the situation was one he controlled.

My feet stayed on the floor as they moved to each side and the ropes that were now just draped around them fell away.  The soles of my shoes were solidly on the floor.  By keeping my feet flat on the floor as I moved them sideways, the ropes would not be a problem.  Standing quickly, I spun slightly to the left to turn my body away from him.  My right hand was gripping the side rail of the chair back as I rose.  The lightweight aluminum office chair crashed into his torso on the left side.  I hit him with the chair one more time.  He staggered but did not go down.  I dropped the chair and stepped away from the coil of rope at my ankles.  Using a large object as a club can quickly become awkward and I had already accomplished what I wanted with the chair.  His left arm hung numbly.  Still he continued toward me waving the knife.  My left hand grasped the wrist holding the knife.  My right arm slashed out and my wrist and forearm crashed into his throat.  I had used this move on a knife wielder before and knew how effective it was. 

His eyes bulged outward as his trachea was hit, a devastating but not fatal blow.  He was alive because I did not want that blow to kill him.  Alive he could provide information.  Dead he was practically useless.  In truth, he was probably pretty useless regardless.  The knife dropped to the floor as he fell down.   He gasped for breath and yet he still tried to reach for the AK-47 that hung on his back by a sling.  I kicked him viciously on the chin.  The force imparted to his head by the carbon fiber toes of my hiking boots snapped his neck.  His struggles stopped.  Those were handy boots.  They could hit like steel toed boots and still pass through airport security.

“Allah Effing Akbar, asshole.” I muttered as my foot settled once more to the floor.  I had not planned to kill him, but I would not be bothered by his death.  The viciousness of he and his friends had been on display since my companions and I had been brought to this Iraqi airfield as human shields.  I had bruises from the “persuasion” that had been used to handcuff and tie me.  If it had not been for my companions who really were journalism types I would never have been tied up.  There was no doubt in my mind that the dead man’s hands were red with the blood of many innocent people.  Besides, he had just tried to kill me.  I have said this before, but it does bear repeating.  Trying to kill me really, really pisses me off. 

They should have done a better job of searching me.  Of course, most people are not looking for something as small as a paperclip on the back waistband of someone’s pants.  The small bent wire object was mostly hidden by my belt.  That paperclip is something that I had had with me for years.  It is so small and, if it is the right type of metal, will only be found by a physical search.  I had read once that with a bit of practice standard handcuffs could be picked with a paperclip.  I had tried it until I was successful at it and had carried the paperclip ever since.  Over time I had learned to pick many other locks with that simple tool.  Having a paperclip does not look like possession of burglar tools.  Once my hands had been freed the rest was easy to arrange. 



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