An excerpt from The Last Line, a military thriller by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer with William H. Keith (available June 4, 2013).
Chris Teller may be the best in the intelligence business, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most popular. Far from it, in fact. While he may be a threat to the status quo, however, the only thing saving him from expulsion is an even greater threat to his country, one that’s already within our borders.
With Mexico descending into anarchy, the drug cartels have kicked up the heat, allying with Hezbollah and the Iranian secret service in a plot aimed at nothing less than the destruction of the United States of America. As Teller races to unravel the plot, he discovers that the most dangerous and pernicious enemies are not bloodthirsty drug lords, but a terrifying and treasonous cabal within the U.S. government itself.
2 MILES EAST OF NOGALES, ARIZONA
1650 HOURS, MST
Even here, the screams were too loud to allow him to pray.
Saeed Reyshahri remained kneeling, facing east, trying again to recite the Surat al-Fatiha, the seven opening verses of the Koran. “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful, all appreciation, gratefulness, and thankfulness are to Allah alone, lord of the worlds . . .”
A dry wind whispered across the sere and barren landscape. Behind him, on the other side of the ridge, a woman was begging, desperately pleading. Reyshahri did not speak Spanish, but he could guess easily enough what she was saying.
“!No! !No! Por favor . . . !Largate! !No me chinge! ¡No me chinge!”
Filthy dogs. No respect for women— but worse, far worse, no concern for the importance, the urgency of his mission. Why had Colonel Salehi insisted on using these . . . these animals for Operation Shah Mat? The Sinaloa Cartel’s coyotes were . . . ruthless. Mercenary. Reliable enough if you met their price, but vicious and dangerous.
They had their own agenda.
Reyshahri was an officer in the Vezarat-e Ettela’at va Amniyat-e Keshvar—VEVAK as it was commonly known, the state security service of the Republic of Iran. His rank was sarvan, equivalent to a captain in the U.S. Army; he’d been a member of the Sepah for ten years, and with VEVAK for three more. For most of that time he’d helped train Hezbollah militias for their struggle against the Zionists.
VEVAK was known neither for sentimentality nor for squeamishness when it came to operations in the field. There were times when raw brutality was absolutely necessary—to fulfill a mission, to make a point, to send a message.
This, however, was not one of those times.
[Read the full excerpt of The Last Line by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and William H. Keith]