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Sunday, 15 May 2016

☀ End As An Assassin: André Warner, Manhunter [1] - Lex Lander

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for End As An Assassin, a High Octane Thriller by (, Kaybec Publishing, 295 pages).

This is the first book in the André Warner, Manhunter series.  Book two, I Kill, is also available now!  Find out about it and the next two books in the series.

Don't miss our interview with author Lex Lander.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below.

For a limited time End as an Assassin is FREE to download!


Read the first two chapters with Amazon Look Inside.  End As An Assassin is FREE on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.


Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Tour Stops

Synopsis

THIS TIME IT’S NOT FOR MONEY.
THIS TIME IT’S FOR BLOOD, PURE AND SIMPLE.

André Warner is a professional killer, ex-British Secret Service. Thirty-nine contracts have made him a wealthy man, and his fortieth is to be his last.

The hit goes smoothly enough, and the victim – a degenerate drug baron – is dispatched with minimal fuss and no traces left to incriminate Warner. He drives off into the sunrise to hang up his gun and retire to his home in Geneva.

Then into his life comes Gina, a hauntingly beautiful divorcee, fugitive from a bad marriage. The timing is perfect, coinciding as it does with Warner’s new beginning. They soon become lovers, and all seems set fair for a life together.

Their idyll is shattered when a former associate turns against Warner, and he faces exposure and arrest. Accompanied by Gina, he flees his Geneva home, only to run from the clutches of the Swiss police into the far deadlier embrace of a Marseilles crime syndicate whose boss has a score to settle on behalf of Warner’s last victim. Suddenly Gina is at risk through her association with him, and in trying to protect her he only makes matters worse.

His retirement plans in shreds, his life on the line, Warner is forced to stage a comeback. Only this time it’s not for money. It’s for blood, pure and simple.

Teaser: Excerpt

One 


A contract to kill is not a signed document. In fact it’s not a document at all. It’s not even sealed with a handshake. It’s best described as a verbal pledge between the contractor and the contractee, that in return for a specified sum of money a certain person will be assassinated. This I know, because I am of the rare breed that kills for money. I am a paid assassin.
      In my case at least, the terms and mechanics of the covenant hardly ever vary. Fifty per cent of the fee is paid up front. From that point onwards it is binding on both parties. Reneging is out of the question. If the assassin does not deliver, the word will travel and he will never find employment again. Moreover he may himself be hunted down in retribution. Conversely, if the hirer does not pay the balance of the fee, he in turn becomes a legitimate target for the assassin who, for the sake of his reputation, cannot forgive the default. Retribution is not a matter of ego, it’s a commercial imperative.
      It is therefore a “perfect” covenant. A win-win scenario.
      Except for the victim.
     
* * * * * 

The warble of my cell phone dragged me from my afternoon doze. Initially disorientated, I rolled from my side onto my back and forced my eyes open. It was a bleary world out there. I blinked repeatedly and fast like a robot gone berserk. The balloon of confusion popped and the walls of the hotel room swam into focus. I reached for the trilling, annoying, indispensible piece of plastic on the bedside table. UNKNOWN CALLER the green screen announced. I swiped the response icon.
      ‘Yes?’ I snapped, making no effort to suppress my irritation.
      ‘Townsend, c’est bien vous?’ my unknown caller – male, French – queried. He was using my current alias, so it could only be one of two people. In any case, I was sure I recognized the Parisian accent of my paymaster.
      I confirmed it was bien me.
      ‘Ici Bonhomme,’ he said, confirming it was bien him.
      Bonhomme translates as Goodman in English. Was it his real name? I guessed not. Same as mine wasn’t Townsend. In the world where I did business pseudonyms were the rule.
      ‘You received the transfer?’ he asked. He sounded edgy.
      ‘Yes.’ The second stage instalment of two hundred thousand American dollars, minus a precise two thousand two hundred of extortionate bank charges, had showed up in my Swiss account this very morning. ‘Have you got the arrival time?’
      ‘That’s my reason for calling. They will land at München at eighteen-fifty. From there it is about an hour by car.’
      The fog of sleep was suddenly dispersed. I sat up and swung my legs off the edge of the bed.
      ‘Whoa there, just a minute. What do you mean, they?’
      ‘The woman will be with him.’ No wonder he was edgy. The woman wasn’t part of the program.
      ‘Look, Bonhomme,’ I said, letting a snarl creep into my voice. ‘She’s not supposed to be here until the day after tomorrow. If she’s around tomorrow night it will totally fuck up the job.’
      A short silence, then, ‘She’s expendable.’
      ‘Expendable! That’s big of you. You mean you expect me to take her out too?’
      ‘If she’s there, you’ll have no choice.’
      He was right, but it didn’t make me feel any better about it. ‘The price just went up,’ I told him.
      ‘Don’t try to blackmail me, Townsend. You’ll be sorry if you do.’
      ‘And don’t try to get two jobs done for the price of one,’ I countered. I gave him a couple of beats to think about it. ‘Another hundred thousand or it’s off.’
      To my surprise, he didn’t go volcanic.
      ‘Very well.’ He sighed. ‘But it will not reach your account until tomorrow.’
      The connection was cut, leaving me glowering at my reflection in the cell phone’s screen. The additional hundred grand was a malus not a bonus. I didn’t need the money and I didn’t need more blood on my conscience. Female blood, especially.
      Fuming, I flopped back on my pillow. The job had just been transformed from straightforward low-risk, to complicated and tricky, with my neck on the chopping block if it went awry. The collateral damage was anathema, professional and personal. Killing an innocent party transgressed a private code; that the party in this instance was female just added to the anguish. Too late now to make new arrangements. The venue – their secret love nest – was custom built for the job, and none of the alternatives came within a mile of it for suitability. Whatever heart searching was involved, I was not about to compromise the outcome.
      Another – albeit lesser – worry was the identity of the woman. His mistress was the free-ranging wife of a prominent German politician and businessman.
      When this hit the press the stink was going to be noxious.
      Aside from the nuisance factor of a double killing, only the escape route was causing me the odd twinge of concern: a narrow, twisting track without a single exit; a good three minutes’ driving and nowhere to hide. Meeting an oncoming vehicle would mean pulling over, backing up, and God knows what else. Plenty of opportunity for the other driver to sum me up, with my car and my license plate, and wonder what the hell I was doing on a road that led only to one place. The risk of such an encounter was slight, but I’d lived to a ripe thirty-eight and a few months by keeping risks to an irreducible minimum.
      By now I was thoroughly awake if not refreshed, and slid off the bed.
      Outside it was grey, damp and dismal; November in Bavaria. It didn’t make poetry. It didn’t chime with sunshine and trees in blossom and a glass of wine on the terrace. Beneath saturnine skies mist hung motionless in cobwebs, with incessant rain varying only in its intensity. It hadn’t varied since I set foot in Oberpframmern, on the outskirts of München, two days ago.
      From the window of my functional, plastic-veneered hotel room cubicle I looked out over the Höhenkirchenwald a roller-coaster landscape coated with black conifers, with here and there a farm. On the other side of the rolling hills, this time tomorrow give or take an hour, I would enter the house where the hit would be staying, and place two, maybe three, bullets where they would do lethal harm. Same for the woman. As far as the guy was concerned, no qualms on my part, and no regrets. As for her, I just hoped I was ruthless enough to do the deed.
     
* * * * * 

End As An Assassin
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The Series: André Warner, Manhunter

|| [2] || [3] || [4] ||

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I Kill [2]

When she was taken from him he went after her and sealed her fate - his too

Racked by guilt over his accidental killing of a young Italian girl, contract killer André Warner has effectively retired himself from his ‘profession’ and taken to drink and other palliatives, while sinking slowly into a mire of depression.

A contract in Tangier to assassinate an Arab drug trafficker lures him out of retirement and self-pity. Soon after his arrival he encounters attractive American widow, Clair Power, and her precocious sixteen year-old daughter, Lizzy, who bears such a striking resemblance to the girl Warner killed that his waning anguish is instantly rekindled. He attempts to assuage it by embarking on a fling with Clair which brings him into conflict with a mysterious Dutchman named Rik de Bruin, who also appears to have designs on her.

The contract on the drug merchant is cancelled with no explanation given, but Warner, now seriously involved with Clair, is more relieved than disappointed. Their budding romance is not destined to blossom however. Clair disappears and Warner is landed with the role of de facto guardian to Lizzy.

In tracking down Clair, Warner crosses a line that brings him into conflict with the local police and he is deported from Tangier with a distraught Lizzy in tow. Back at his Andorra villa she slowly recovers from her mother’s disappearance and launches an assault on Warner’s good intentions. Her increasingly provocative behavior disturbs yet excites him, and when Rik de Bruin pitches up in Andorra and begins to take an interest in Lizzy too, Warner gets possessive the only way he knows.

Too late, alas, to save Lizzy from an unspeakable fate.

[Published 1 May 2016, 389 pages]

The Man who Hunted Himself [3]

Seek, find, destroy - if only it were that simple

Andre Warner is a former operative of the British Secret Service, turned contract killer, with over forty contracts under his belt.

An approach from Robert Heider, an American racketeer, whose elder brother, Jeff, was assassinated two years previously, seems routine enough. Heider is resolved to avenge his brother’s death, as are Jeff Heider’s son, Nick, and his nephew, Robert, who together with Robert Heider, control a Houston and Las Vegas-based quasi-business empire. Despite exhaustive enquiries, Heider Sr. has been unable to identify the assassin and is willing to pay Warner a $1 million fee to find and execute the man responsible.

This kind of assignment is Warner’s meat and drink. He kills bad guys and only bad guys. This time though there is a fly in the ointment. It’s not just a straightforward kill. There is a complication that he can see no way to solve. To simply decline the contract is not even an option though, and he agrees to go ahead.

He flies to Las Vegas, ostensibly to interview Jeff Heider’s stunning widow, Maura, and glean information from her. If seduction is required to win her over, he will take this hardship in his stride too. However, making enquiries will only be going through the motions. In reality he must find a fall guy for the killing, which itself presents a further problem: to meet Warner’s moral code of conduct the fall guy must himself be on the wrong side of the law, ideally a killer.

In Las Vegas, with Maura Heider proving receptive to his advances and unexpectedly falling for him, the enormity of the challenge becomes apparent. As his relationship with Maura arouses the suspicions of the Heider family, and the net tightens around him, he has only two choices - fight or run. Or maybe there’s a third option …

[Published TBA, TBA pages]

She Kills [4]

Two years after she was rescued from her abductors and restored to her mother by André Warner (see I Kill), Lizzy Power, now renamed Liza, decides to opt out of her sophomore year at Boston University, and set off for France in search of Warner, with whom she fell in love and cannot forget. She flies to the UK, buys a sports car, and crosses the Channel to France. Three days later she turns up at his hilltop home in Andorra.

But Warner is not at home, and, worse, she learns that his house has been sold. The only remaining link with him is his yacht, Seaspray, berthed in Sitges, in Spain. Dismayed but undeterred by the setback, she heads south.

Unbeknown to her she is no longer alone in her quest. She has unwittingly come to the attention of three unscrupulous individuals, who are now converging on her, each with his own agenda.

To Rik de Bruin, quasi-legitimate flesh peddler, she is a no more than a commodity, a package of meat for the Middle East slave market.

To Bo Rossen, enforcer for the French Mafia, she is another victim, a body to be disposed of. To Albin Lebeau, French police officer, she is the girl of his fantasies, to be possessed, legally or otherwise.

All the while, André Warner, the man she loves, is in St Petersburg, and remains oblivious of her extreme danger. When the showdown comes will he be too far away to save her?

[Published TBA, TBA pages]

About the Author

LEX LANDER is a British born writer of crime thrillers. He was raised in France, attended Auckland University in New Zealand where he obtained a degree in French and Italian, and is now living and working in Montreal.

Despite heavy business commitments – he is a partner in a Property Realtor business – he is currently finding time to produce two novels per annum ‘until I achieve success. Failure is not an option’.

His first novel, ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER JACKAL, was published in 2014. END AS AN ASSASSIN and I KILL were published simultaneously in May 2016.

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