Time to Kill: A Sniper Novel

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Macmillan, May 7, 2013 - Fiction - 304 pages
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Time to Kill is a pulse-racing thriller about Islamic terrorists bent on delivering Egypt into the hands of America's arch enemy-Iran

In Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis' newest thriller in The New York Times bestselling series featuring American sniper Kyle Swanson, the Sphinx, a symbol of Egypt's ancient history and power, is blown up by terrorists. A visit to Cairo by Iran's national soccer team ends in a bloodbath. Egyptian missiles sink an Iranian vessel in the Red Sea. The Muslim Brotherhood is on the march, working behind the scenes to provoke a war between Egypt and its powerful neighbor, Iran-a war that would certainly result in an Iranian victory. What is at stake is nothing less than total control of the Suez Canal through which most of the world's oil flows.

Behind the coup is a sinister double agent called The Pharaoh whose goal is a fanatic Islamic regime on Israel's borders. To avoid a direct military confrontation with Iran, the U.S. turns to master American sniper Kyle Swanson and his team, Trident. Using ruthlessly accurate targeted kills, they go undercover to teach the Iranian leadership a lesson and prevent a war that could strangle the world's oil supply and cause the death of thousands.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cherylk - LibraryThing

I have never read any books by either of these authors. This is my first introduction to what this duo can do together. I have to say that I was very impressed. So much so that I can't wait to read ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

This time out, it's the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution against Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Swanson. Guess who wins?Accountant Norman Haynes would have had plenty to tell Task Force Trident, the ... Read full review

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KYLE SWANSON LEANED ON the white railing of the deck on the second floor of his house as the sun edged down toward the horizon and wondered if he had time to get out in the surf one last time, paddle down to the Wedge, ride a few sets, and get back before it got too dark. Madeline, his girlfriend of the past two weeks, was coming over after her shift in a beachfront restaurant and was expecting him to grill some tuna while she whipped up a salad. They would drink cold cerveza and eat on the open patio with the glass doors all the way open, with a fresh ocean breeze coming in while music spilled into the night. They might take a midnight dip, and he would be dazzled by her body in that red bikini with her blond hair reflecting the moonlight. After that, a strategic retreat to the big bedroom to make love while boarders, bladers, dog walkers, tourists, and other lovers strolled the boardwalk out front, unable to see them.
No, he decided as he rubbed the freshly painted railing. He didn’t have time for that one last swim, and he and Maddy would have to part in the morning, but it had been a hell of a leave. The United States Marine Corps wanted its top sniper back on duty.
His telephone rang, as if it had been waiting for just the right moment to ruin the idyllic mood. A glance at the screen showed Lieutenant Colonel Sybelle Summers was calling from Washington. “Hey,” he said.
“Are you out of the lazy vacation mode yet?”
“Did I ever tell you that you have a sultry voice?”
“I am your superior officer, Gunnery Sergeant Swanson.”
“But we slept together once, Sybelle,” he said. “Remember? A rainy night in France?”
“I’ve never been to France. You must be thinking of your current chippie, what’s her name? Michelin, like the tires?”
“Her name is Madeline, and your memory is slipping. I thought you and I had a deep and special relationship.”
There was a slight, pleasant change in her tone. “Some people just are not that memorable.” They both laughed.
“Sybelle, why are you bothering me on my final evening of leave? Gimme a break, girl. The sun is just about down, I’m drinking beer, watching the beach, getting ready to grill a dead fish, Maddy is coming over, and the California weather is perfect. Washington, where you are sitting, is clogged with snow, according to the Weather Channel. I don’t want to come back.”
“Quit whining, Kyle. You built that big house and now you start acting all rich instead of like the raggedy-ass jarhead you are. Maddy, is it? Maddy? Is she out of high school yet?”
“Here’s a suggestion; why don’t you come out here instead? No snow.”
“Miss Maddy Michelin would be upset if I did that. Let’s get to business. You are wanted back here right away.”
“I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon anyway, Sybelle, and I can’t get back any faster than that.” He tilted back the longneck bottle of Corona beer, which was getting warm. The sky had deepened into a band of solid orange that was being chased by the heavy purple night coming from the east, and the sun was moving so fast that it seemed to be falling.
“Change of plans. A plane will be waiting by the time you get out to John Wayne. I’ll meet the flight here, then we go directly to a meeting. Take this thing off speakerphone.”
He closed the speaker and picked up the receiver. “OK. I’m listening. This line is not secure.”
“Really? I had no idea. Does Maddy know that?”
“Can you get to the point?”
“Some of your father’s friends have contacted the boss, and they want us to talk to a guy lives out on the Maryland shore. We’ll drive out from Andrews.”
That was a jolt. It was her way of advising him that Sir Geoffrey Cornwell in Great Britain apparently had pulled the original string to start this ball rolling, and that was Kyle’s real other life. The man had been a colonel in the British Special Air Service Regiment before a broken leg forced him into retirement. Refusing to be shelved, he had set out to design technical applications and new weaponry for the military, and was on the cutting edge when the War on Terror dollars started to flow like cheap wine. Eventually, he persuaded the Pentagon to lend him a sniper for technical assistance on a unique project to develop a new kind of long-range rifle, the Excalibur. They had sent Kyle Swanson over to England, and before long, the project was successful, and Jeff and his extraordinary wife, Lady Patricia, who were childless, had found a new friend in Kyle Swanson, an American orphan.
Over the years, through some very good times and some very bad and dangerous times, they unconsciously knitted together as a family. Sir Jeff branched into other fields and had a golden touch for business, and although Kyle remained a Marine, he was brought into the business, too, for the Pentagon liked having its own liaison man in the thriving Cornwell pipeline. It had been a special day for Kyle when the Cornwells adopted him as their son.
So if Sir Jeff, who was always helping out clandestine operations for the United States and Great Britain, was behind this thing—Kyle still didn’t know what it was—then Swanson would consider it important and worthwhile. The problem had probably gone from Jeff to his friends within the British intelligence service and perhaps even into the prime minister’s office before leaping over the pond to the White House. That was enough for Swanson, but a last night with Maddy would have been nice.
Kyle paused. “So General Middleton himself is ordering me back?”
“Not that boss, Swanson. The big boss. Anyway, Task Force Trident is now involved.”
That more than aroused his curiosity, but he couldn’t swallow it whole. “You want me to give up my final night, fly coast-to-coast, get off the plane a few hours before I would get there anyway, and go straight to work in Maryland? That urgent?”
“Damned straight, Gunny. Consider yourself back on the government dime.” She ended the call.
“Aw, man.” Kyle folded his phone and returned it to his pocket. The rim of the sun was almost totally gone, sinking into the Pacific Ocean. It was the moment he always watched for but usually missed, because it happened so quickly. Then there it was, for only a heartbeat, a brilliant sparkle of emerald as the final rim of the sun disappeared. Maybe it was an omen, he thought, an official ending to his two weeks of peace and quiet. Now it was back to being the triggerman for Trident.
Reluctantly, he hit the speed dial number to give Madeline the bad news of the broken date. He had to leave right away, he tried to explain, and no, he couldn’t say where, and no again, sorry, but he didn’t know when he would be back. She was totally unsympathetic and went from angry to cold as fast as the green flash had blinked out. “Look, Maddy, I’ve built this damned house right on the beach. You think I’m going to let it stand empty? Of course I’ll be back. And I’ll call you the minute I arrive; even before I arrive, I promise.” She said something extraordinarily vulgar and hung up on him.
* * *
TWO HOURS LATER, HE was the only passenger aboard a small executive jet that was hauling him from John Wayne Airport outside of Newport Beach, heading to Andrews Air Force Base, just over the Maryland line outside of Washington, D.C. Swanson was in the wide, soft seat and had already finished reading the Time and Newsweek magazines that were in the seatback. It was a government plane, so there was no flight attendant, but he could fix a drink on his own in the galley, and somewhere over Missouri he would probably test the shrink-wrapped turkey and cheese sandwich.
Both magazines had covers showing the mobs demonstrating in the cities of Egypt, and their lead articles were about the latest treacherous political storm that was roiling that ancient country. The situation was deteriorating, just as it had been when he began his leave thirteen days earlier, just as it had been doing for years, if not centuries.
He tossed the magazines onto the empty seat across the aisle, settled back, and tried to puzzle together why he was being called back so suddenly. Sybelle’s guarded conversation had given him only some very broad parameters for consideration, but they were startling. First of all, she had mentioned Sir Jeff, and also had said it was the big boss calling him home, and emphasized “big.” His actual commander in Task Force Trident was two-star Marine Major General Bradley Middleton, and the general’s only boss was whoever happened to be the president of the United States.
More than a decade had passed since terrorists had flown fuel-packed civilian airlines into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and the Pennsylvania dirt. In response, the entire U.S. government had reshaped itself both at home and abroad to make sure such attacks never happened again, and that gave birth to the behemoth Homeland Security Department. Even that wasn’t enough, because the inevitable bureaucratic friction soon appeared along the seams of the various departments. Numerous plots had been foiled since 9/11, involving crude devices like explosive shoes and underwear, which proved the system worked as long as people r

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