The opening scene of the book took me straight to the spy spoof movies I enjoyed while growing up. While it did take most of a chapter for me to clue in on the reality of the story I was already hooked and didn’t put the book down again until the last page. James Flynn is a functioning delusional. He is convinced the hospital where he lives is a secret base for Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Though he can’t remember how it is exactly that he got assigned to a detail in Southern California, he is sure that it is a most important posting. In this adventure his sights are set on a young woman named Chloe who has been brought in after a suicide attempt. While she tries to tell anyone and everyone that she has run afoul of a powerful Hollywood producer who wants her dead, only Flynn seems to be listening.
The book, and its hero, have the suave elusive qualities of James Bond, the irreverence of The Kingsmen, and the heart and sheer dumb luck of Maxwell Smart. Though Flynn has got it all wrong, seeing a plot in play for world domination, he still manages to fall on the side of right, get the mystery solved, and save the girl (and maybe the world). The book is filled with laugh at loud moments, intense fight scenes, and clever machinations. All the while it delivers a biting social commentary that makes full use of the quirky characters and clever twists and turns that will leave the reader breathless, either from laughter or shock. As a native of So Cal, I thoroughly enjoyed the historical snippets at the beginning of the chapters.
I will tentatively suggest reading the first books in the series simply because I was a bit lost with the secondary characters, personnel at the City of Roses Psychiatric Institute, referring to their previous adventures with Flynn. Still, it reads quite well as a standalone. James Flynn is a character that readers will want to keep coming back to enjoy. I do.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
I received an advance review copy for free from Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Goldhammer by Haris Orkin June 6 – July 1, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
A James Flynn Escapade
A young actress, involuntarily committed to City of Roses Psychiatric Hospital, plunges James Flynn into a dangerous new adventure when she claims one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood is trying to kill her.
Still convinced he’s a secret agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Flynn springs into action, helps her escape and finds himself embroiled in a battle with a dangerous sociopath worth billions. In the process, he uncovers a high-tech conspiracy to control the mind of every human being on Earth.
With the help of his reluctant sidekick, Sancho, and a forgotten Hollywood sex symbol from the 1960s, Flynn faces off with Goldhammer and his private army in a desperate attempt to save the young actress…and save the world…once again.
Praise for Goldhammer:
“One of those books that has you laughing and turning pages well into the night.” —Len Boswell, Bestselling author of The Simon Grave Mysteries
“A riotous comic novel that’s also a legit page turner. A deftly plotted, swiftly paced thriller.” —R. Lee Procter, Author of The Million Dollar Sticky Note and Sugarball
“A fast-paced quixotic thriller that would make Miguel de Cervantes and Ian Fleming proud. The third James Flynn novel is a powerful cocktail of suspense, adrenaline and a whole lot of laughs. Orkin has the remarkable ability to keep the reader straddled between a genuine spy thriller and an off-the-wall comedy” —Joe Barret, Award-winning author of Managed Care
Genre: Comedy Thriller Published by: Black Rose Writing Publication Date: June 23rd 2022 Number of Pages: 240 ISBN: 1684339677 (ISBN-13: 978-1684339679) Series: The James Flynn Escapades, Book 3 | Each is a stand-alone thriller Book Links:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
The Corsican wanted him dead.
Of that James Flynn was certain.
Somehow, the assassin had infiltrated Her Majesty’s Secret Service as a security officer. Flynn didn’t recognize him at first. The killer had put on a few pounds and likely had plastic surgery, but what he couldn’t disguise were his eyes. His cold, dark, pitiless eyes. The eyes of a sociopath. The eyes of an executioner.
The only question was when.
When would the Corsican come for him?
He told his colleagues what he suspected, but they refused to believe him. They claimed his name was Thomas Hernandez and that someone else on the security team had recommended him. They also said they fully vetted him. But Flynn wasn’t fooled. He tangled with the Corsican before. The man was relentless. A cold-blooded enforcer who started with the Corsican mafia but went on to do contract hits for the Sicilians, the Albanians, the Serbians, and the Russians.
Instead of waiting for the Corsican to come to him, Flynn decided to flush him out. Force his hand. Expose him for who he was and why he was there.
Flynn dressed in black denim and a black turtleneck and waited until 2 a.m. to make his move. He kept to the shadows as he trod the deserted corridors. He had no weapon since lethal weapons of any kind were now forbidden at headquarters. A foolish rule put in place by sheltered bureaucrats who had no clue. Luckily, not even security could carry a firearm at headquarters. All the Corsican had was an expandable baton and a Taser. Even so, the man was lethal enough with just his hands and feet.
But then, so was Flynn.
Flynn heard footsteps ahead and ducked into a conference room. He waited and listened as the footsteps drew closer. As they passed the doorway, Flynn peered into the corridor to see the Corsican lumbering forward, quietly peering in room after room. Suddenly, he stopped. Flynn felt a jolt of adrenaline. The air was electric. The silence palpable. Could the Corsican feel Flynn’s eyes on him? Flynn knew that scientists have identified a specialized group of neurons in the primate brain that fire specifically when a monkey is under the direct gaze of another. Humans also appear to be wired for that kind of gaze perception. Predators like Flynn and the Corsican can also be prey and have developed a sixth sense to alert them to danger.
The Corsican turned and he and Flynn locked eyes for a moment. Before the hit man could take a step, Flynn took off down the hall in the opposite direction. He heard the footfalls of the Corsican as he chased after him. Flynn had his route all mapped out. Darting down one corridor. Then another. Running until he arrived at a door that led down to the basement and the guts of the building. Flynn had picked the lock after dinner, knowing that this was the night he would lure the Corsican to his end. He had a license to kill and could have used it anytime, but Flynn didn’t exercise that power willy-nilly. Only as a last resort. He didn’t want the Corsican dead. He needed to know who put the price on his head. Otherwise who ever hired the killer would continue to send hitters until finally one succeeded.
The building that housed HMSS was huge and had a substantial infrastructure. The basement utility plant had mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems that fed water, air, and electricity all through the facility. Flynn moved from massive room to massive room, staying just ahead of the Corsican. He needed to lose him and lay in wait. Flynn was confident in his abilities, but to come at a killer like that head-on didn’t make much sense. Why give your opponents any edge at all?
Flynn ducked into a room that housed all the electrical panels, distribution boards, and circuit breakers. Conduit snaked everywhere and Flynn found a metal door secured with a heavy padlock. Using two straightened paper clips, he quickly picked the lock. The door led to an outside area protected by a chain-link fence topped with razor wire. The security fence surrounded three giant transformers and two massive backup generators the size of semi-trailers.
Flynn stood next to the door and strained his ears to hear approaching footsteps over the electrical buzz of the transformers. Faint at first, they moved closer. Careful. Slow. Stealthy. He saw a shoe as someone came through and Flynn took them from behind, using jiu-jitsu to slam them into the ground.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said the man Flynn had face down in the gravel.
“Get off me, man.”
Flynn released his comrade-in-arms and helped him to his feet. Bits of gravel still clung to his face. “I thought you were the Corsican.” Flynn’s British accent had a touch of Scottish burr.
“His name is Hernandez,” Sancho said.
“That’s not his real name.”
“And I’m telling you, he’s not the Corsican.”
“Don’t let him fool you, my friend. He’s not who he says he is.”
“Then why’d he call me? He knows I know you. He knows we’re friends. He asked me to find you. Talk to you. Calm you down.”
“Perhaps he wants to take care of you too.”
“Take care of me?”
Flynn heard the Corsican call to them, his voice deep and resonant. “You okay in there, brother?”
“We’re good,” Sancho said.
The Corsican walked in with two other men. All three wore the blue security uniform issued to those who guard HMSS. The Corsican looked at Flynn with his dark, merciless eyes. “You okay, Mr. Flynn?”
“Tell them who you are,” Flynn demanded.
“Who you really are.”
The Corsican rolled his eyes and sighed. “That’s who I really am.”
Flynn aimed an accusatory finger. “I know who you are. Born Stefanu Perrina in Porto, Corsica. Contract killer for the Unione Corse, the Cosa Nostra, and the Russian mafia. Wanted by Interpol for fifty-two confirmed kills.”
“I was born in Hacienda Heights.”
Flynn glanced at Sancho. “The man is a master of deception. It’s kill or be killed with men like him.”
The Corsican drew his Taser and the other two guards followed suit.
Sancho raised his hands. “Whoa, come on now. Easy.” He stepped in front of Flynn as the Corsican fired. The Taser darts caught Sancho in the shoulder and socked him with fifty thousand volts. He screamed in agony as his whole body seized up and shook. His legs gave out and he fell on his side, helpless and twitching.
Flynn dove behind a generator before the other two guards could fire. Each guard stalked him from a different side. Flynn clambered up over the top and launched himself from above, tackling the Corsican. He wrenched away his reloaded Taser and shot one of the guards in the crotch. The man went down with a shriek as the other guard fired on him. Flynn fell to his knees and the darts parted his hair before hitting the Corsican in the chest. The killer crumpled as Flynn sprang to his feet and pulled the Corsican’s expandable baton out of its holster. Flicking his wrist, Flynn fully extended the menacing club and turned to confront the last standing guard.
Someone grabbed Flynn by the arm and Flynn elbowed him in the face. Sancho staggered back, holding his bloody nose. “What the hell, man?”
Flynn heard a Taser fire and an instant later, two darts hit him in the side. Fifty thousand volts took him to his knees as another guard fired another Taser. Those two darts hit him in the stomach. Flynn lost control of every muscle in his body. And then he saw the Corsican looming over him with his own weapon. He shot the darts directly into Flynn’s chest. Right over his heart. Now all three lit him up with electricity. One hundred and fifty thousand volts rocked Flynn as they shocked him with charge after charge until the world faded into a tiny aperture that slowly began to close.
Excerpt from Goldhammer by Haris Orkin. Copyright 2022 by Haris Orkin. Reproduced with permission from Haris Orkin. All rights reserved.
Haris Orkin is a novelist, a playwright, a screenwriter, and a game writer. His play, Dada was produced at The American Stage and the La Jolla Playhouse. Sex, Impotence, and International Terrorism was chosen as a critic’s choice by the L.A. Weekly and sold as a film script to MGM/UA. Save the Dog was produced as a Disney Sunday Night movie. His original screenplay, A Saintly Switch, was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred David Alan Grier and Vivica A. Fox. He is a WGA Award and BAFTA Award nominated game writer and narrative designer known for Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Mafia 3, and Dying Light.