Shades of Loyalty, a Crime Action Thriller That Conveys a World of Duty, Expectation, Divided Loyalties, and REVENGE.
“This incisive fiction ensnares the reader, compelling them to join in the hunt.”
When law enforcement agencies in five different locations across two countries can’t solve a string of deadly explosions, a drowning and the theft of £24.25million, it’s time for Jack Jago and his team to join in. Only they don’t have to play by the rules.
Undaunted by the possibility that the perpetrator may be a professionally trained killer, Jago’s expertise and innate sense of justice drive him to find a solution to the murder and mayhem.
The problem for Jago and his team is that if they’re right, they may have only a matter of days before the next attack. When or where will they strike next?
This compelling crime action thriller takes place in England, Spain and the USA before sweeping to a thrilling conclusion.
What the Readers Are Saying
Editorial Review for the Author Resource Centre Prepared by Grant Leishman
Shades of Loyalty (Jack Jago Thriller Series Book #2) by Paul Stretton-Stephens is the second book in the series that introduces the reader to our main hero, the terrorist fighting Jack Jago of the British Intelligence Service. Jack has one big advantage over the normal run-of-the-mill intelligence agency or police. Their team has no rules-of-engagement and has to seek no authority from anyone. When they are on a mission, the decisions are all theirs and they do whatever is necessary to ensure the job is done and the threat is eliminated.
“Great story, so easy to get into the flow of whats happening. Jago is a likable protagonist, who exhibits strong moral and ethical stances, which are not always within the letter of the law. a black ops style “police” procedural, with “villains” that are in some ways, victims of circumstance, rather than outright bad people. thought-provoking in many ways, particularly in terms or “right” and “wrong”. a highly recommended read.“
Kirsten Eriksen (Kobo)
“Fantastic Thriller – This book is a thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go! I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace and the interaction of Jack Jago and his team. It kept me guessing till the end and i’m looking forward to his next book. If you like action-packed books that keep you turning page after page then this one is for you! Don’t miss it!”
“Right from the opening scenes, I was there with Jack Jago trying to decipher the pieces of the puzzle. Unlike most mysteries, where I know “who done it” but the middle of the book, Shades of Loyalty kept me guessing and intrigued until the very end! I am a new fan of both Paul Stretton-Stephens and Jack Jago!”
Marianne Corcoran (Amazon)
“GET READY FOR A NON-STOP ROLLER COASTER RIDE OF YOUR LIFE.
I just learned that this is the second book in the Jack Jago Thriller Series-I am going to get the first book and I know that there is another book after this one (hence series).
I loved this book because it grabbed me my the hand and did not let me go. I really like Jacks group. I just can not get enough of them. This book is one that I would like to see a movie made of- (with NO CHANGES).
I also loved this book because I learned a few new things and I love learning from books.”
“I first have to say, I absolutely love British English. I adore the dry humour and wit. Paul Stretton-Stephens strikes an impressive balance with his characters. The bad guy, not all bad….and the good guy, not all good. The characters are humanized, and very real.
I’d like to have a cup of tea with them, and help on their next mission.
Gina Martin (Amazon)
“This one seat of the pants action thriller. Great plot and characters, plenty of suspense and action. Bombs, stolen money, military personnel and payback. Author did a wonderful job on this suspenseful thriller, great plot, and characters.”
“I’ve just finished Shades of Loyalty and it was as good as expected. I’m really enjoying this series. I really recommend these books. Jago and company are everyone’s heroes.”
Christine Lock (Independent Reviewer)
“This is a non-stop adventure with a strong convoluted plot. Jago had to solve a puzzle and stop further crime committed by as-yet-unknown suspects. He has assembled a crew who are equally as smart and tough as he and will stop at nothing to accomplish the final goal. I look forward to more adventures from Jago, Abi, Bernie, and Dom.”
Cat Kelley (GoodReads)
“Once I started, I couldn’t put the book down. Story moves fast and I kept reading not wanting to miss the next twist. Well written. If you like spy thrillers, this is a great one.
Part I really liked about this author is, Though it says it is book 2 in the series, it is completely self-contained. So many authors write one story but break it into many different books, which Paul did not.”
Paul Natale (GoodReads)
Sneak Peek of: Chapter 1 – Events
Thursday 24th December, 2015
Willows Nursing and Residential Home, Upper Fronton, Northern England.
It was a cold Christmas Eve morning. A sharp frost had coated the ground, the grass, the pavement and the road, so the decapitated head of a white-haired old man didn’t look out of place as it came to rest against the wheel of a parked car.
A few minutes earlier, the elderly residents of the Willows Nursing Home had been enjoying the warmth of their modern, purpose-built home in the sleepy suburb of Upper Fronton in the north-east of England. The home’s open plan gardens bore all the hallmarks of winter and Christmas; the interior was adorned with a multitude of festive decorations, while outside in the garden a tree was illuminated by Christmas lights. A set of fibreglass reindeer, complete with sleigh, had parked themselves on the lawn of the front garden. Outside, Bernard was placing food on the bird table in front of the window. Inside, Albert exited his room and prepared, walking frame in hand, for the arduous journey along the corridor. He walked slowly and deliberately. In the vast, well-lit day room, a tall, traditionally-decorated Christmas tree occupied pride of place beside the entrance. Some of the residents were reading, some talking, some laughing and joking, while three female nursing assistants cared for them. One was helping a woman named Joan to rest, another was handing out cups of tea, and the other was helping a lady with a jigsaw at a table.
“Come on, my love. I’ll help you. How many pieces is it? Five hundred or one hundred?”
Margaret, the purple-haired lady, replied, “I think it has five hundred. My daughter brought it for me. I think it’s a Constable painting.”
“I don’t know the artist, but it’s a nice scene. Right, let’s find those corners, shall we?”
As the nurse uttered those words, an explosion rang out. Debris flew through the air as if in slow motion, searing its way through the building and scattering the garden and open plan lawns of adjoining houses. Momentarily, everything came to a halt— the only movement and noise being debris hanging from the structure and the piercing sound of the fire alarm. A few neighbours started to appear in the street, running to the scene in disbelief. Screams came from within the home. Nurses began to exit from a side door with bloodstained elderly residents, and the neighbours closed in to help, passing the decapitated body. As the survivors emerged, they could hear sirens approaching, intermingled with a symphony of alarms from the home and nearby cars. Two people had died, seven were seriously injured and twenty-three suffered minor injuries.
A short while later, a small, well-placed camera fixed high up on a lamppost recorded images of the uniformed police officers arriving with their plain-clothed colleagues. A pair of hands expertly worked across a keyboard in front of three monitors. The view changed rapidly from screen to screen. Fingers controlled keys, a hand controlled the mouse and zoomed in on faces, taking snapshots of those of the plain-clothed police. The facial images were placed on a screen and a search initiated. The screens showed a scan of the facial profiles of the investigating officers, stopping occasionally when a match was made. The results were saved.
Monday 25th January, 2016
Little Coxford Hospital, Hampshire
Sharon, a medical secretary, was going about her work when a porter arrived at her desk with his trolley full of mail. He handed her a bunch of letters and a small parcel, then departed, leaving Sharon to deal with the mail for the day. Sharon began opening the small package addressed to Dr Dean’s clinic, and just as she did so, it exploded. Her screams echoed throughout the hospital and staff ran to her aid. Her left hand was severely mutilated and her body suffered multiple wounds from fish hooks and razor blades.
Wednesday 24th February, 2016
St Mark’s Steam Train Centre, Devon
Well-wrapped and excited school children boarded a steam train with their three female teachers. Once aboard, the man on the platform blew his whistle and the driver replied with the train’s piercing response. The railway man waved his flag and the train slowly left the pristine platform, gradually picking up speed.
On board, the thrilled children listened to their teacher. Some were staring out of the windows onto the moistened meadows and fields; some were playing clapping games; some were singing. After about thirty minutes, they settled down. The train was now at speed, bellowing steam as it passed through an area of woodland with tall spruce pines either side of the track. It slowed as the line started to incline gently. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion, mostly unheard inside the train carriages due to the thunderous noise of the engine and the children’s excitement. Two large trees toppled and struck the end of the rearmost carriage. The train jolted but continued at a slower speed for a short while. Passengers were thrown around the carriage like ragdolls, screaming and shouting. The train ground to a halt. A young female teacher got to her feet and headed for the door.
“Come on, slowly now, we have to get off.” The kids rose to their feet, some crying, others shouting to their friends. “Slowly. In a line, now. Go and stand over by that fence.” She turned to a dazed colleague. “Trudy, you stay with them, and I’ll go back inside.”
Trudy comforted some crying children as the young teacher boarded the train again. There were no significant injuries, and most of the ones suffered were nothing more than bumps and bruises. It could have been a lot worse.
Friday 25th March, 2016
Orenid Finance, City of London
Investment bank traders were busy at work on the 10th floor. The large screens of their computers were full of ever-changing financial data. Just another Monday at the office. A tall, clean-cut man in a blue suit entered a glass-walled office in which a balding man was meeting with his secretary.
“Do you have few moments, Sir?”
“Shaw, can’t you see that I’m in the middle of something?”
“I do apologise, Mr Atkins. However, I do urge you to make a brief pause and accompany me into the secure room for what I need to tell you.”
That statement caught the CEO’s attention and stopped him in his tracks. He hated using the secure room and only used it when necessary. Shaw wouldn’t have suggested it without good reason.
The CEO turned to his secretary.
“Carry on with those letters we’ve just worked on, and I’ll be back shortly.”
He walked across the room to where Shaw was waiting next to a sturdy door. Shaw punched in the code and moved forward to allow his retina to be scanned. The automated voice requested the second person’s data, and the CEO repeated Shaw’ actions. They entered a small holding room. Once securely between the two doors, they placed their feet on the templates on the floor and waited for the full body scan to be completed. They stepped towards the second door, and each placed their palm against the panel on the right side. After the palm scan, the door slowly opened and the two men entered.
“Okay, Shaw. What is it?”
“Can we wait for the door to close securely first, Sir?”
“Room secure,” an automated voice announced.
Shaw looked at his boss.
“Sir, we have been hacked like you cannot imagine. I estimate that up to seventy-five per cent of our data has either been acquired and or corrupted. And a large number of funds have been transferred.”
After a brief reflective silence, the CEO asked, “How much, and can we recover from this?”
A loud rumble was heard while the building shuddered. An explosion engulfed the tenth floor, bringing everything to a halt. The force of the explosion produced a fireball that streaked through the open space offices. The power of the blast hurled everything around: people, furniture, monitors, and glass shards flew across the trading centre. People screamed, bloodied, staggering to their feet, dragging each other towards the nearest exit. The building was ablaze, with smoke billowing in the howling winds. Approaching sirens sounded as hordes of people evacuated the building. Two people lost their lives and a further nineteen experienced life-changing injuries. Forty-seven others were injured, including seven visitors from a variety of institutions.
Sunday 24th April, 2016
Mediterranean Coast – Playa Azul, Spain
Some people were enjoying the sunshine and heat of the day. Parasols were dotted around on the golden sands. A couple was waist-deep in the sea on a relatively quiet stretch of the beach. As the woman wearing a red swimsuit left the water, it was clear that she was tall and slender with pale skin. Her husband moved a little deeper in the water, showing off. He was taller than his wife but heavily built, and not in shape. They wore the facial features of eastern Europeans, Russians. He dived under the water, larking about and seeking attention from his wife. Their bodyguards were at the water’s edge, ever alert.
There was a breaker of rocks nearby, from which half a dozen men were fishing. One appeared to be speaking into a mobile phone, discreetly watching the couple.
The man continued his dives into the water, and his wife headed to the shore with her back to him. He surfaced many times, continuing his frolicking.
The man with the mobile phone issued an instruction. “Now. Go now.”
Below the surface, two divers, one on either side, grabbed the flailing Russian and forced his head to the sea floor. They waited until he was lifeless, released him, and then slowly and calmly swam away from the scene.
The body floated to the surface where his bodyguards were the first to see it. They dived into the sea to his aid. The wife turned to see her husband’s body floating face down.
Wednesday 18th May, 2016
Kings Court Private Members’ Club, Chelsea, London.
Two suited gentlemen sat in ancient leather chairs angled towards the window. In between them stood an oak twist-legged table upon which their drinks are waiting.
“Have you read the news reports, Minister?”
“Commander, are you talking about the string of atrocities that have been committed over recent months?.”
“Yes, Sir. That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“I mean, we just can’t have someone’s head landing on the roadside of a residential care home in our country. It’s totally unacceptable.”
“It is, Sir,” the commander said. “It’s wholly unacceptable.”
“And while we know that it wasn’t an accident, we don’t know who did it, and why they did it?”
“I’m afraid that is the case at the moment, Sir. None of the usual forces or branches have been able to come up with anything. And nobody has suspected a link between them, let alone established one. That is, apart from the similarities with dates of course. And bizarrely nobody has claimed responsibility.”
“Has the press got hold of it yet?”
“Fortunately not, Sir. The nursing home was reported as a gas explosion. The train incident is more difficult to explain away. However, current reports are that the trees were old and weary. The letter bomb required a little more imagination, and we’ve linked it to a possible disgruntled patient. And the news of a Russian dying in Spain on holiday has not made our news at all.”
The polished mahogany-walled room in the private gentleman’s club in Chelsea fell silent.
“So, we have no motive nor modus operandi at all to go on?”
“No Sir, nothing except carnage and chaos. We have five dead, twenty-seven have suffered life-changing injuries, and one hundred and five have suffered minor injuries. None of this data accounts for psychological trauma. One thing that is clear is that they’re professionally trained.”
“Well, don’t just stand there, man. Go and get it sorted out! This can’t continue.”
“Of course, Sir. Do I have any particular parameters to adhere to in this undertaking?”
The wide-eyed minister glared at the commander. “I don’t care how it’s done, as long as it’s done … and quickly!”
“Very good, Sir. Leave it to me. I know just the chap.”
END OF CHAPTER
Copyright ©, Paul Stretton-Stephens (2018), All right reserved