Day of Reckoning

Book Cover: Day of Reckoning

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On a midwinter day at a local delicatessen in Chicago, a bomb is suddenly detonated, destroying the establishment and taking the lives of thirteen innocent people. It quickly becomes apparent that the explosion was a planned mission of terror. Alon Levy, a combat-hardened Israeli Mossad commander and a recognized authority on international terrorism, arrives in Chicago to care for his son, who lost his arm in the explosion. Soon, Alon is approached by the FBI to act as a consultant on the case. But Alon immediately takes on a more active role—and he’s not overly concerned about operating outside the parameters of the existing authorities. He soon uncovers facts that make this case more involved than previously thought. Follow the twists and turns of this story to discover what really happened that day.

Testimonials

“This book grabs you early on and does not let you go until the last page.” ….Luiza Khan

“The story is suspenseful, emotional, realistic, and very well written.” ….Jeffrey Yung

“I enjoy books that are action packed, unpredictable, and thought provoking. Day of Reckoning more than exceeds these expectations.” ….Jay Schwalm

“The sign of a good read is when you want more by the same author. I am very anxious for this author’s next book.” ….Jennifer Zubke

“The story line, characters, and dialogue in this well-told tale of realism succeed in making this book a real page turner.” ….Payal Patel

“This book is a fun and exciting action thriller well worth reading.” ….Todd Peabody

“Day of Reckoning starts out good, gets better, and ends with a bang!” ….Keleigh Muxlow

“The characters, conflicts, and solutions come alive in this book. Once you start, you are hooked into a page-turning adventure.” ….Jacob Stuart

“An action packed story with an excellent plot.” ….Tim Findling

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The Beginning

Baharak, Afghanistan

The mountainous air at 10:30 p.m. in mid-November in the border town of Baharak, just east of Kabul, Afghanistan was cold, dark, and exceptionally quiet. Three Afghani guards stood outside a stone hedge with a large closed wooden gate surrounding a brick home. Each of the guards held a loaded AK-47. The automatic machine guns were unintended gifts left by the Russians as spoils of their war with Afghanistan from 1979-1989. The guards were alert for any unexpected movements around the perimeter of the house. They were expecting a very special guest and security precautions were at a high.

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At about 10:45 p.m., they sighted the dust trail of fast moving vehicles heading toward the residential destination under watch. As they neared, the sound of the powerful SUV engines began to echo throughout the village. They arrived and once identified, were immediately passed through the opened security gate. Three black, bullet-proofed, Mercedes SUVs came to a halt and six armed guards emerged, forming a protective ring around the vehicles. One of the guards opened the back door on the second car and an Arab man in full ethnic garb stepped out. Who he was, where he was from, and the purpose of his visit were question marks, but it was obvious he was a major figure, at the very least a representative of an existing power, one whose middle of the night meetings were conducted under concealment for good reason.

He entered the house with two of his personal guards and was greeted by five men wearing Afghani robes and hats. After the usual cordial greetings were completed, the entourage moved into the larger living room furnished with a long, rectangular wooden table and chairs. An offer of food and drink was declined by the guest of honor.

His presentation addressed the need to step up the suicide bombings and other disruptive political activities on an international level. He further explained that random acts of violence would effectively serve to break down the infrastructure of those nations considered hostile. A continued argument was made to defend the violent actions as militarily disadvantaged responses by third world powers against the super powers. “The word ‘terrorism,” he said, “was nothing more than a westernized term for retaliation by oppressed nations that have been targeted by massive military forces.” He went on to explain how the American military and financial support of Israel has been and always will be an affront to most Middle Eastern countries.

There were no actual details discussed about who was funding or supplying the proposed retaliation attacks. No specific targets were mentioned; those present already had their own assigned areas. At the conclusion of the meeting, the guest of honor handed each man a sealed manila envelope. In it were the necessary details of suggested targets, religious groups, and political factions, and a proposed timetable for initiating the actions discussed. The farewell greetings were made and the SUV convoy departed into the darkness of night. The business was done. It was time for action.

Chapter 1

Chicago, Illinois                                              

BOOM! In one shattering moment, the explosion rocked the entire city block and changed the lives forever of those within its walls. Sid's Delicatessen, once a local legend in Jewish cuisine, was now blown-out bits of rubble and smoke. Worst of all were the sounds of agonizing pain, the cries for help by those injured and burned by the explosion, in contrast to the eerie quiet of death. As the cloud of smoke and airborne particles settled, a tortured landscape revealed the injured—conscious and unconscious—dusted with a flour-like layer of dust and larger debris. Body parts were strewn about, lying in pools of blood with human tissue sprayed against destroyed surfaces.

Within minutes of the explosion, sirens could be heard at a distance. Fire trucks, police cars, and emergency medical vehicles all sped to the restaurant’s site on E.59th Street. The sirens shrilled as they approached, silent to survivors of the blast. Blown out ear drums and shock had obliterated their hearing and created a miasma of confusion and fear as those who were able, moved from the site of destruction towards the light of day. Survivors were seen assisting others, giving care to friends and loved ones, and crawling or limping towards the safety of daylight.

On that day in Chicago, at what was once Sid's Delicatessen, survival was the only goal. Questions about the cause or extent of the damage would come later, and those who lived would be deeply scarred by the trauma for the rest of their lives.

Tel Aviv, Israel / Three Months Earlier

The Director of Covert Operations, a special division of the Israeli Mossad, sat patiently waiting for his requested conference with the Prime Minister and other high-ranking political officials. His identification badge read Alon Levy, with a grade four security clearance. It meant Levy could go almost anywhere in Israel and talk to high-ranking officials without seeking special permission. His fellow Mossad agents referred to him as Alon to his face, but always saw him as a hard-ass in the operative field. When trouble arose, and it often did, you thanked God if Alon Levy was with you.

An attractive young woman in her early 40s stepped out of the conference door and announced it was time for Alon to join the meeting. Upon entering, Alon nodded at several of the attendees; he knew most everyone there and joined them at the conference table.

The Prime Minister spoke first. “Alon,” he said, “how are you and the children? Again, I want to offer my condolence for the loss of your wife. She was a good woman and a loss to all of us.”

“Thank you, sir,”

“Alon,” the Prime Minister said, “we are interested in your present assessment of Middle Eastern planned, subsidized, and/or anticipated terrorist acts. We are particularly interested in activities that target Jewish population groups both in and outside of Israel.”

Alon opened a plastic briefcase and removed a chart marked “confidential” in red letters. He scanned the contents though he knew the information it held. “First of all, sir,” he began, “our field sources indicate there are greater political pressures to push for an increase in international Jewish terrorist activities in the very near future. The consensus of opinions seems to be that these anti-Jewish strikes are not supported financially, militarily or verbally by any particular government. Rather, they are being subsidized by smaller, but powerful radicalized factions behind the scenes. Now, understand me when I say our neighboring countries, although not publicly supporting this movement, will do nothing to stop it. And that pretty much sums up what we have thus far.”

The Minister of Defense spoke. “Alon, I’d like your opinion. How do you envision the magnitude of the terrorist strikes? Will they be large events, political assassinations, missile attacks? How do you think the attacks will take place?”

“Gentlemen, I have no data or evidence from any reliable source to even offer an educated guess. Our only viable indication is that these preemptive attacks will soon be on the increase and will target Jewish and non-Jewish groups on an international level. Their main objective appears to be to destabilize American-Israeli relations and in particular, the political and financial support of the Jewish state by the Western powers. A second objective would be to use random terrorist attacks to create fear as a deterrent against utilizing governmental sanctions and/or military actions against the Middle Eastern countries.”

The Prime Minister responded, “Alon, how do you think these attacks will occur? Don’t tell us about a lack of credible evidence. Give us your damn opinion and forget the politically correct answers. We are family, friends, and colleagues, so say what you mean, what you believe. All of us here respect your opinion.”

“Okay. First of all, I believe the terrorist attacks will be small scale random actions with suicide bombings at the head of the list. Larger attacks would more likely require governmental support, and retaliatory actions would be too costly so I don’t see that route as viable. Terrorist groups do not favor surviving activists. Suicide missions are more likely.”

One of the other seated leaders at the table interjected, “Assuming your assessment is accurate, what can we do about it?”

Alon Levy, who had thus far responded with confidence, hesitated. “Gentlemen, I am not sure my response will satisfy anyone. How do we stop someone wearing a jacket lined with explosives from walking into a restaurant, theatre, or coffee shop and setting it off? The worst part is that he or she believes the act is not only justified, but a mark of valor. Such an enemy is nearly impossible to defeat. The only answer that makes sense to me is to identify and target the source of the act. Cut off a tentacle from the octopus and it still moves about, but you destroy the head and the beast dies.”

The Prime Minister looked at Alon and replied, “Set up a task force. Make it your mission to locate and/or identify the supporting groups. Then, when we have the information we need, let's kill the beast!”

 

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