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A Killing Air is the first in a new thriller series featuring Harry Brown, ex-army officer, now working in disaster planning and crisis management.

Taking a break from my historical fiction novels, published under the pen name Anthony Conway by Hodder & Stoughton, I decided to write some contemporary thrillers which led me to Harry Brown.

The idea for Harry’s post-military career came from a fellow ex-officer friend who ended up doing exactly that. Mike and I had both been through the Falklands War together and ended up at first light on 14 June 1982, grovelling in the mud and snow on the western slopes of Tumbledown being hammered by Argentine artillery fire and taking casualties. It was the only two battalion attack of the war, the superb Scots Guards in Phase 1, followed by our Gurkhas in Phase 2, securing the very eastern end of Tumbledown, then swinging south and taking Mt William. The technical term for what we were conducting was a passage of lines, by night, in contact, under fire. Having just gone through a minefield it was quite a night. The sounds of incoming shells and casualties is stuff you don’t forget. I’ve put some of that into Harry’s head, while transposing his own combat experience to the more recent theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan. That made him young enough to run around and punch people, unlike his author who has reached an age where joints creak and punching people is extremely rude (however much some of them might deserve it).

As for many veterans, the transfer to civilian life has been a bumpy road for Harry. His planning and training abilities are central to his new job; everything else is surplus to requirement. But nothing goes away. It’s like riding a bike. All the old skills are still there, packed in ice. Stripping and assembling a 9mm pistol, improvising a booby trap, or knowing where and how to hit someone who is intent on spoiling your plans for retirement.

I’ve set his first outing in Beijing, a city I know reasonably well. When you get off the plane you taste the petrol fumes and by the time you leave at the end of whatever you were there for, you’re coughing like a good ‘un.

I very much hope you enjoy the story. Harry will be back in A Necessary Hell. Hard to say where he goes after that, but that’s pretty much the case for all of us, isn’t it?

Get your copy of A Killing Air HERE, and keep your eyes peeled for the latest instalment in the Harry Brown series, publishing soon…

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