Friday, April 27, 2012

Night Chill - Preface

[Note: This is the first installment - a new is coming every two days - Look for them]

(C) John V. Tieso, 2012.  All Rights Reserved.


Death is the all-inclusive equalizer of men. Whether the person is rich or poor, important or unknown, gifted or incapable, the progress of life eventually leads to death. Unfortunately, death is also a useful tool of those who would send someone to their demise much earlier than expected. Some murders are intentional—planned and executed to ensure success. Others are less intentional, occurring as a result of committing another crime, and still others occur without any intention at all to harm a victim. The one thing generally common about any murder is the expected personal benefit received by the criminal--be it insurance money, the proceeds from a robbery, or some other tangible or intangible gain.
There are also expected results from terror acts to include the murder of a designated victim. However, the terrorist is a different breed from the common murderer. The terrorist wants people to believe they have a higher vision, a wrong that needs righting, or a desire to bring a much broader change to society. There are many kinds of terrorists, just as there are many kinds of murderers. Psychological terror-raising the level of fear and concern to higher than normal levels-can be caused, not by one major event, but by many smaller events that instill the fear that more events are coming. Reactional terror-the causing of a series of terrorist acts by two or more groups, all of whom are responding to the previous acts-is even more damaging, since the level of terror increases with each reaction. Confrontational terror-the fear that adverse actions will occur when in the presence of a particular individual, or a group, such as a bully or a gang, often is more of a potential threat than a real one, but nonetheless unnerving for the individual.
Today's terrorists are a bit of all three types. They produce great psychological angst, and the fear of confrontation has driven a number of governments to try to appease them. However, the reactional aspects of terror, the domino effect, cause the most damage. One side does something, and the other side reacts. A third country issues a statement, or some other kind of support for one side or other. Yet another reaction occurs, drawing the third country into a triangle. As you will see in this volume, my main characters continue to represent two opposing sides of a triangle, the Arab and America sides, and also include a third party government.
On a second note, this book departs somewhat from my normal practice of trying to keep the historical background as accurate as possible. There is currently no Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility or terminal in the Mississippi River Delta. The nearest one is at Lake Charles, LA. However, one part of the continuing national debate on the future of energy, the economy, and the environment, is the placing of LNG terminals and processing facilities in major harbor areas, along with concern for the immense size of the ships themselves.     Most American waterways and harbors are composed of older construction. They were not intended for the traffic they now bear. The bridges that span our major rivers from the sea were not intended to be faced with a ship 1000 feet long, 100 feet high, and 150 feet wide; nor were the harbors and waterways built with enough safety in mind to accommodate a ship containing over 30 million cubic meters of LNG, enough to light a medium-sized city for a month.
Ships, such as these mammoths, are thus inviting targets for terrorists. In this instance, I took a bit of literary license, and put the LNG terminal at the edge of the Delta, rather than try to plot around the port of Lake Charles. There is a good reason for this. Port Charles is to the west of  the Louisiana River Delta, some 80 miles west of New Orleans and the Mississippi River. The gas terminals are connected to New Orleans through pipeline. The ever-changing silt of the Delta makes placing even a deep-port connection in the River Delta a problem as the silt moves, changes bottom depths, and the floods that frequently occur can wreak havoc on gas delivery. The amount of LNG in these ships would simply destroy the River Delta and New Orleans should the gas escape and not dissipate.
People may also question why I chose New Orleans at all. The answer here is simple. I love New Orleans and its people, have spent considerable time there; know the streets and alleys; and love to have cities as a location that literally reeks of intrigue and local color. New Orleans, for my mind, is the All-American City.
One other thing about my writing style. Those who have already been reading the draft as it progressed confessed that they were getting a bit confused by the changing locations, and the changing plot that emerged from the first few chapters into the main part of the book.
Life situations are not neat packages of data that are announced and then used as standards until time immemorial. In this case, as one sees in real life, initial impressions often give way to different views as more knowledge is gained about the situation at hand. That type of evolution occurs throughout this book as well.
Another note involves the United States Joint Forces Command, formerly at Norfolk, Virginia, which was disbanded in 2010. When I started writing this book, the command still had many of the responsibilities described here, but now exercised by other organizations. I left Joint Forces Command in the book to show how actions took place historically, although not currently.

For those that may not have read the books that preceded this one, a bit of information that will help you understand what is happening here. My first book, Bernie Minihan’s Dilemma detailed the unfolding of a terrorist plot designed to execute in Boston, Massachusetts. That volume introduced Amoud Fatool, a terror ringleader based in Cairo, Egypt, but with broad interests and tentacles throughout the Middle East. That book ends with the death of terror cell members in Boston, with Fatool escaping, and Minihan flying to Washington DC before returning to his post in Lisbon, Portugal.
The second book, For the Sake of Terror, brings Minihan to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and eventually on a worldwide trip that takes him to Kazakhstan, Egypt, Europe, and back to the US, all the time trying to chase down his nemesis Fatool and undo several potential major terrorist acts. The two books should really be read in order to understand all the activity going on.
This book is the third and final volume that features Minihan, and several threads from the first two books are explained and extended here. Some will want to go back and read the first two to be sure they have both plots in mind as they tackle this volume.

John V. Tieso
March 2012

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