Book title: The Seven Sorrows
Author: Gregg Kuehn
Published: October 9, 2017
Publisher: Divertir Publishing
~ Blurb ~
Wealthy weapons collector, COLIN FARTHINGTON, learns that still lethal handheld tactical nuclear weapons are buried in a cave on El Fortunato island in the British West Indies. He discovers that a group of rogue Russian terrorists is hot on the trail of the weapons. When he receives a curious telephone call from the corrupt U.S. Vice President, Farthington realizes he must act quickly. He orders his employee on the island, KC JAMESON, a 33 year old marine biologist with a troubled past, to retrieve the weapons. KC doesn’t have the skills needed to search the cave. KC, unable to engage in meaningful relationships after the murder of his young sister, reluctantly enlists the help of a fiery young woman, NIKKI COLT, an experienced rock climber and caver. Just one day earlier their first meeting ended poorly when Nikki humiliated KC when he emerged naked from the ocean after an early morning swim. But after a run-in with the Russians she agrees to help. KC follows Nikki into the cave only to discover that the weapons are missing. A squad of U.S. Army soldiers arrives to claim the nukes. The Russian terrorists attack and murder the Americans while KC and Nikki make a narrow escape. But they find a clue in the cave: a man’s ring. This leads them to yet another cave where they find a scroll with a strange poem etched on it. After dangerous altercations with a corrupt government official and the Russians, KC and Nikki solve the mystery of the poem and search of the island for the nuclear weapons. They find them in a church, buried below a painting of the Virgin Mary. The Russian team arrives, steal the weapons and take Nikki hostage. KC escapes. With a hurricane bearing down on the island, KC and JIMMY CALHOUN commandeer a helicopter and chase the Russians who are fleeing in a stolen yacht. KC saves Nikki moments before the Russians crash into a barrier coral reef. Nikki loses both her job and her fiancé but surprises KC when she arrives at his beach house early one morning to join him for his daily skinny dip.
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~ Excerpt ~
The man who had less than one hour to live raised himself up on an elbow, craned his neck, and peered out of his filthy window. The smattering of rain blurred his view of the street below, and he fell back with a grunt.
Alexei Baranov stiffened, leaned over the edge of his threadbare cot, and retched into his handkerchief. He pulled it away from his mouth, wiped his lips, and crushed the cloth into a ball. Reddish spittle oozed onto his fingers. The soiled handkerchief slipped from his hand and fell to the floor.
Alexei fell back onto the cot and groaned. His long snow-white hair lay in stark contrast to the dirty yellowed pillow. The pain was worse today, but he would not give in to it. He would not die before the boy arrived. Everything depended on Pyotr.
The pains in his stomach had increased to the point where it was nearly impossible for him to hobble down the dim hallway to the toilet he shared with another tenant of the aging apartment building. The three story brick structure sat on a narrow lane in a northeast section of Moscow not far from several metro stations, the busy “B-Ring” road that circled Moscow, and a few restaurants. On warm sunny days children played in a small playground just across the street from Alexei’s second floor window. But today his windows were fully shut and the street outside stood silent in response to the cold and rain. Alexei stared at the water-stained ceiling and drew a thin blanket over his frail body. The slight movement sent a stabbing pain deep into his belly. His body convulsed. The pain shot up into his chest and he grunted again. He lifted his head a few inches off the pillow and studied the door, hoping for Pyotr’s arrival. The hallway remained silent.
Panic gripped Alexei as he stared at the empty doorway. What if Pyotr hadn’t received the letter he’d sent nearly two weeks ago? Would his secret die with him? He closed his eyes, laid his head back on the pillow, and tried to smile, ignoring the rancid stench of his dim room. Pyotr will come soon, he told himself. Alexei sighed, recalling those glorious days long ago when Khrushchev had challenged the West, when the real glory of Soviet Communism reached
The Seven Sorrows
its peak. He’d never been as proud of Mother Russia as he’d been during those October days of 1962 when the Soviets had challenged the power and influence of the capitalist pigs in America. Damn that arrogant Kennedy and his smug little brother, Bobby. They had ruined everything. A chuckle escaped his lips as he considered that he outlived them both. Another cough wracked his frail body. He felt each of his eighty one years, and they had been hard ones. The long years of running and hiding had taken their toll.
He flinched, and then smiled as he caught the sound of a distant door creaking open and then closed a moment later. Hurried footsteps pounded up the stairway and echoed from the hallway as Pyotr Asimov swept into the room. He was young, not yet thirty, with short sandy hair and brown eyes. His thin muscular body complemented his five foot eleven inch height. If not conventionally handsome, many women his age found him attractive. Something about the way his eyes smiled interested them. Pyotr stopped in mid stride as he took in the sick old man lying on the filthy cot. His eyes opened wide at the sight of Alexei’s shriveled body, hollow eyes, and blood-spattered chin. He stared at the old man for a brief moment, taking in his crooked yellow teeth and dirty stringy beard, then hurried to the window and peeked out to the street below.
It was empty. He took a step toward Alexei.
“Thank heaven, Uncle Alexei. I am so happy to see you. I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner, but I only received your letter this morning. My mother sent it to me. The letter was unopened. Neither she nor my father knows where I am. But why am I here? What’s going on? Why did you tell me to be careful?” Pyotr said as he sidled back to the window and glanced out again. In spite of the chill he raised the window an inch to allow fresh air into the stinking room. He studied the street below for a moment, but it was quiet. He was certain he hadn’t been followed.
“Yes, my boy. I am happy you are finally here. It is good to see you after so many years. You have your mother’s eyes. Is she well? I am dying and have something important to tell you. And something you must do. For the glory of old Russia. I don’t have much time. Sit down and listen
~ About the Author ~
Gregg Kuehn grew up in southeast Wisconsin. he attended Tufts University and the University of Wisconsin where he earned degrees in Psychology and Landscape Architecture. He and wife Kathy live in Grafton Wisconsin where they operated a landscape design-build company for 35 years. In his spare time he enjoys travel, golf, hunting, downhill skiing, solving logic problems, and spending time with his grandchildren.