Eldritch Ops and Agent G: Assassin nominated for awards!

Hey guys!

Great news! I’m pleased to say that I have been nominated for two audiobook awards at the Indie Audiobook Awards at the HearNow Festival.

PARANORMAL: ELDRITCH OPS by C.T. Phipps as narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

Derek Hawthorne has ascended to become a member of the all-powerful Committee, which rules the world through the nebulous House. The House, officially, exists to protect humanity from the vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness that imperil humanity. Unofficially, it exists to protect its own power. 

When his old partner, Christopher Hang, turns up as one of the undead — Derek is nonplussed to say the least. Christopher also has a message that troubles the tiny remains of Derek’s conscience: The House is running a secret project to not only control supernaturals but eliminate them. Now, Derek has to figure out if he’s to side with the supernatural or humanity or neither. Oh and did we mention Dracula, pirates, and werewolves were involved, too?

Available here

SCIENCE FICTION: AGENT G: ASSASSIN by C.T. Phipps by Jeffrey Kafer

Agent G, now going by the name Case, thought he’d won. He’d exposed his former employers, shared black technology with the world, and killed the man who’d started it all.

Unfortunately, history slows for no man. After a volcanic eruption decimates the United States, G spends the next decade witnessing humanity rebuild itself into a corporate-run dystopia.

Preferring to the be the boot rather than the ant, Case has become a powerful executive in the new cyberpunk world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to his past. Contacted by the only woman he ever loved, Case finds himself, once more, embroiled in a conspiracy to take what little the public has left. Now, he has to decide whether to save what remains of the world or rule it.

Available here

Book Announcements for October 2020

Hey folks,

I’m very pleased to say that we’ve got a lot of news for fans of my writing. I want to thank all my wonderful fans for their support in making this a productive year for me despite the fact, well, it’s been a real pear of a year for just about everyone and everything.

Some of this information will be new to you and others will be a retread but as November approaches, I figure it’d be good to give a year update.

Cover Art for Upcoming Books 

A NIGHTMARE ON ELK STREET (Bright Falls Mysteries Book #3): The Bright Falls Mysteries remains one of my all time favorite creations and it is with both excitement as well as a heavy heart that I post the cover for the final in the trilogy. Jane Doe is hired by Lucien Lyons to serve as security on his low-budget horror movies using real shifters and witches. Unfortunately, this is after someone has started making threats against the actresses. Is it a publicity stunt gone wrong or the return of an evil that Jane thought she’d put away? Why won’t Lucien shut down the production?

 The Bright Falls Mysteries

THE HORROR OF SUPERVILLAINY (Supervillainy Saga book #7): Gary Karkofsky is back! Having decided to make the jump from supervillain to superhero, he soon finds himself bored out of his mind in the now mostly crime-free Falconcrest City. Thankfully (?), he soon finds himself on a quest to rescue the President’s daughter from a bunch of vampires in Nightmare Swamp! But what does a crooked mutant sheriff, a summer camp of superpowered women, and the merging of universes have to do with Dracula! Find out inside Gary’s latest adventure that homages classic DC and Marvel horror comics.

The Supervillainy Saga 

BRIGHTEYES (Morgan Detective Agency #2): The sequel to Brightblade and the next chapter of Ashley Morgan’s badass adventures. Having recovered her wounded sister, Anna, Ashley is informed that her family is now under attack by mysterious forces in the Men in Black. Worse, there’s a massive slave auction of former Solomon Academy spy school graduates planned in New Detroit. The vampire nation plans to turn all of them into tools for spreaidng their power. Despite having a vampire for a brother, Ashley thinks this is a fate worse than death and plans to stop them.

Morgan Detective Agency

Now Available on Audiobook 

PSYCHO KILLERS IN LOVE: I’m pleased to say that Psycho Killers in Love is now available on audiobook. The earliest volume so far in the United States of Monsters series. William England is the son of Billy the Immortal, a holiday-themed slasher who terrified teenagers throughout the Eighties. Billy was eventually slain by a slasher-hunter called an Artemis and William was freed. Unfortunately, he and his sister Carrie were promptly locked up in an asylum for their father’s crimes. Escaping, they find themselves meeting one of those slasher-hunting Artemises. William is immediately smitten but can his desire not to be a slasher overcome both their instincts to destroy the other? Narrated by Jefferey Kafer.

Available here

AGENT G: ASSASSIN (Agent G #3): The exciting conclusion to the AGENT G trilogy! Case, formerly known as G, has successfully escaped from his employers but a natural disaster plunged the world into a decade of chaos. What has emerged is a megacorp-dominated hellhole straight out of Gibson. I really have loved writing Case’s adventures from beginning to end. Will he achieve the peace he’s always sought or will it end in a tragedy? Probably in a rain soaked cyberpunk alley? Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. 

Available here 

ELDRTICH OPS (Red Room #2): The Red Room series is where my writing career began and it is also the first of my trilogies to be completed. Derek Hawthorne was my attempt to combine James Bond and Harry Dresden, with him coming out as his own character in return. This book is the second of his adventures where he finds himself in the impossible situation of investigating the House to see if their leadership are planning a genocide of the world’s vampires. This is problematic because he is the world’s most famous living vampire hunter. Yet, his ex-partner, Christopher, begs him to protect those who aren’t completely evil. Besides, Derek owes him for a secret that would get him killed by his own side. Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer.

Available here


An awesome interview with me on Bookworm Blues
An interview with me on Booknest.EU

Book Sales

Brightblade (Morgan Detective Agency #1): Is available on Kindle for 99c until December 5th!

Esoterrorism (Red Room #1): Is available on Kindle for 99c until December 5th!

New Releases for 2019

Hey folks,

I thought I would share some interesting new works from the Phipps Factory. I hope you guys will check them out and enjoy the results. I’ve almost got all of my series on audiobook and will proceed to finish up the majority of the series from there.


Agent G a.k.a Case Gordon has managed to wiggle himself free from the United States military but the entire world has suffered in its place. After the eruption of a volcano and the release of Black Technology to the world, the world has become a cyberpunk dystopia with massive arcologies replacing the cities of yesterday. Now a ruthless corporate executive, well past obsolescence, he is brought back to deal with the world’s most dangerous terrorist: his ex-lover Marissa.

Available here

WRAITH LORD (Kindle, audiobook, paperback)

Wraith Lord is the sequel to Wraith Knight and a work I am particularly proud of. The premise of the series is that a Ring wraith-esque individual named Jacob Riverson has regained his free will after the death of the King Below. The sequel picks up after the events of the first book with Jacob now the ruler of the Shadowkind races with his brides Regina and Serah. A messenger from the South reveals that an attack against the North is imminent and Jacob is forced to face an impossible test: how does he get the world to side with the ruler of all monsters?

Available here

PREDESTINY (Kindle) w/ Frank Martin

Robbie is an ordinary high school student in a time when the US government is on the brink of collapse. The economy is now under the control of an alliance of megacorporations that seeks to make it a puppet state under their control. During a protest, he is almost killed by a group of assassins. Rescued by a beautiful white haired girl his own age, he’s told something he can’t wrap his head around: that he will become history’s worst dictator and the dying future is out to stop him from rising to power.

Available here

TALES OF THE AL-AZIF (Kindle, Paperback) w/ David Hambling, David J. West, Matthew Davenport, and David Niall Wilson

H.P. Lovecraft’s famous Necronomicon is not the only fictional book he created. Predating the Book of the Voices of the Dead was the Book of the Insect. Tales of the Al-Azif is a collection of novelettes based around Pulp heroes John Henry Booth, Harry Stubbs, Andrew Doran, and Porter Rockwell by various Cthulhu Mythos authors describing their encounters with the cursed book. I’m very proud of this one.

Available here

ESOTERRORISM (Kindle, audiobook)

Esoterrorism is a prequel to my United States of Monsters novels or they’re a sequel to it depending on how you choose to interpret it. Derek Hawthorne is a agent for the Red Room, the conspiracy that keeps the world from knowing about the supernatural. Its resources are stretched thin with a terrorist organization that is determined to reveal the truth to the world–they’re just going to use massive numbers of hungry dead to do it. Derek is framed as a traitor before he can discover who is responsible and it’s up to him and his partner to not only prove his innocence but stop the world from suffering a zombie apocalypse.

Available here

Agent G: Assassin is now available on Kindle

AGENT G is a series I’ve really enjoyed writing. At present, I have it set up for five books with the third book in the series, AGENT G: ASSASSIN having recently been released on Kindle (and for Kindle Unlimited).

From the best-selling author of THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY:

Agent G, now going by the name Case, thought he’d won. He’d exposed his former employers, shared Black Technology with the world, and killed the man who’d started it all. Unfortunately, history slows for no man. After a volcanic eruption decimates the United States, G spends the next decade witnessing humanity rebuild itself into a corporate-run dystopia.

Preferring to the be the boot rather than the ant, Case has become a powerful executive in the new cyberpunk world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he’s immune to his past. Contacted by the only woman he ever loved, Case finds himself once more embroiled in a conspiracy to take what little the public has left. Now he has to decide whether to save what remains of the world or rule it.

Available for purchase here

CT PHIPPS’ books for 2018

Hey folks,

I thought I’d share the books which you should expect to see in 2018 from me. These are all things which I think you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan of my existing work.


Being a supervillain was all Gary ever wanted to be but the constant beatings, moral ambiguity, and the fact he now has a young daughter to look after have caused him to reconsider his career path. As he debates making a jump to the “other side”, Gary finds himself recruited by Death to serve as her champion in a multiversal tournament for the ultimate prize: anything you could desire!

Gary and a oddball collection of champions from a variety of universes must prevent the prize from falling into the hands of the genocidal space wizard Entropicus! He also must discover just where his heart really lies when his two closest loves reveal shocking secrets.

Guest starring Jane Doe from I Was a Teenage Weredeer, Agent G from Agent G: Infiltrator, and Cassius Mass from Lucifer’s Star.


ELDRITCH OPS (Red Room 2#)

Derek Hawthorne managed to gain a seat on the Committee of the House–the secret cabal which rules the world–and all it cost him was his soul. Unfortunately, success comes with responsibility and he’s found himself as the only member of the group who wants to avoid a brutal war with the Vampire Nation. It’s a desire which becomes stronger when he finds out his ex-partner has become one of their primary lieutenants.

Unfortunately, Derek soon discovers not only is war inevitable but his side is preparing for a genocidal campaign to rid the world of the supernatural. Now he’s going to have to decide whether or not it’s better to ally with an army of bloodsucking marauders to stop it. Guest starring the original vampire, Dracula himself.



Agent G, now going by the name Case Gordon, has successfully freed himself from the control of the US government. Unfortunately, it’s come after a super volcano eruption and the release of all the Society’s Black Technology. The combination has created a new cyberpunk future. The world has mostly recovered but it is glittering, cold, and corporate-driven. 

Still alive, Case has devoted himself to trying to gain enough power and influence to protect the little guy from the worst of the corruption. Unfortunately, it also results in him becoming implicated in the death of a former ally. Confronted with the ghosts of his past, Case has to decide whether he wants to be a hero or make a difference. 

He can’t do both.


WRAITH LORD (Wraith Knight 2#)

Jacob Riverson has ascended to become ruler of the Northern Wasteland and God-King of the Shadowkind. Unfortunately, becoming a deity has not been a transformation that has freed him from his guilt for the atrocities he committed as a Wraith Knight for the King Below. Married to both Serah Brightwaters and Regina Whitetremor, he has shared his power with them in hopes of redeeming the legacy of his dark past.

The legacy of the King Below is not so easily cleansed, however, as he receives an unexpected visitor in the form of Regina’s only surviving relative. The city of Kerifas, Jewel of Winterholme, is on the verge of revolt against the surviving members of the Nine Heroes and their tyrannical regime. If Jacob and his brides do not intervene then the city will be slaughtered with their inhabitants but if they do, then they may be playing right into the hands of a group that wants to start another Great War of Light and Darkness.

What is the point of being a hero if one must spill the blood of thousands to be one?


100 MILES AND VAMPIN’ (The United States of Monsters 4#)

Peter Stone is the new sheriff in town, or at least vampire magistrate.  It’s a job that eats at him despite the perks since he has to cover up the worst crimes of his fellow vampires in order to keep the peace with humanity. Peter reaches the limit of even his jaded morality, though, when he’s asked to play bodyguard to a murderous psychopath who just so happens to also be the country’s most famous paranormal romance author.

When that vampire is murdered, Peter finds himself the primary suspect as her death sends ripples throughout the vampire community. Peter has to solve her murder before the Federal government has an excuse to break up the Vampire Nation and begin a general purge of supernaturals. 

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get out of the coffin. 




Expected Release Date: August 2018

Audiobook Reviewer award nominations!

 Hey, I’ve been nominated for multiple audiobook awards this year. I’m very pleased to get the acknowledgement for my work and am so proud of the material done by my narrators. Thank you so very much.




 It has been a year since John Henry Booth’s exile from New America and the fall of the Black Cathedral. Cursed with a slow transformation into a monster, he has begun a doomed relationship with fellow escapee Mercury Halsey as they seek some way to arrest his transformation.

Dubious hope arrives in the form of the University, the deranged scientists and cultists descended from the staff of Miskatonic University. Except, their offer of help comes at a price. Having sold themselves to ancient aliens called the Yith, they wish John and Mercury to join a group of rogues in hunting down a wayward member of their faculty: a man who intends to release the last of the sleeping Great Old Ones on an already ravaged planet. If they’re telling the truth, John and Mercury will be heroes. If.

The Tower of Zhaal is the second novel of the Cthulhu Armageddon series, a post-apocalypse continuation of H.P. Lovecraft’s popular Cthulhu Mythos.


Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy™ returns in the fourth volume of the popular Supervillainy Saga. Having discovered the world’s greatest superhero slain by his doppelganger from another reality, Merciful: The Supervillain with Mercy™, and the arrogant President Omega, Gary dedicates himself to overthrowing both. 

Unfortunately, this is harder than it looks since Merciful has all of Gary’s genre savviness while President Omega has the entire brainwashed United States military behind him. In the end, though, there can be only one ruler of the world and two of these three feuding villains will have to go.


Peter Stone is a poor black vampire who is wondering where his nightclub, mansion, and sports car is. Instead, he is working a minimum wage job during the night shift as being a vampire isn’t all that impressive in a world where they’ve come out to mortals.

Exiled from the rich and powerful undead in New Detroit, he is forced to go back when someone dumps a newly-transformed vampire in the bathroom of his gas station’s store. This gets him fangs-deep in a plot of vampire hunters, supernatural revolutionaries, and a millennium-old French knight determined to wipe out the supernatural. Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to get out of the coffin.


“Black Technology has made murder a billion dollar industry.”

The International Refugee Society has twenty-six cybernetically enhanced “Letters,” and for the right price, they’ll eliminate anyone. They’ve given up their families and their memories for ten years of service with the promise of a life of luxury awaiting them.

Agent G is one of these “Letters,” but clues to his past are starting to emerge while he’s on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the Society’s most dangerous competitor. In the midst of all the violence, subterfuge, and deceit, he’ll need to keep his wits about him and trust sparingly. After all if an organization will kill for money, what would they do to keep the truth hidden?



Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he’d been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.

LUCIFER’S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer’s Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

Agent G and Esoterrorism news for Black Friday

Happy Black Friday, folks!

The first bit of good news is Amber Cove is having a HUGE sale on their books from November 24th to Monday 27th! Numerous novels of theirs are going to be available, free of charge, on Amazon Kindle including Agent G: Infiltrator!

“Black Technology has made murder a billion dollar industry.”

The International Refugee Society has twenty-six cybernetically enhanced “Letters,” and for the right price, they’ll eliminate anyone. They’ve given up their families and their memories for ten years of service with the promise of a life of luxury awaiting them.

Agent G is one of these “Letters,” but clues to his past are starting to emerge while he’s on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the Society’s most dangerous competitor. In the midst of all the violence, subterfuge, and deceit, he’ll need to keep his wits about him and trust sparingly.

After all if an organization will kill for money, what would they do to keep the truth hidden?

Agent G is my “pre-cyberpunk” novel about a cyborg assassin which I consider to be one of my favorite works. It’s sequel, Agent G: Saboteur, is coming out at the end of the year and I hope everyone will pick up a copy of this book so they can enjoy the latter. Take note the audiobook costs $2 on Audible if you pick up the free ebook first.

Other books I suggest you pick up from Amber Cove’s Thanksgiving Day sale are Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery by Jim Bernheimer, Technomancer: To Beat the Devil by Michael Gibson, and Villains Rule by Michael Gibson. All free of charge!

There is another bit of great news for this Turkey Day and that is the re-release of Esoterrorism! Esoterrorism was my first novel and remains a favorite with readers. While the kerfluffle with Ragnarok remains a sore subject, I’m very pleased Amber Cove has decided to pick up the slack with my urban fantasy spy novel. They’ve also lowered the price to 3.99, which is something I hope will entice new readers to pick it up. The sequel, Eldritch Ops, is going to be released around the same time as Agent G’s sequel.

There are no good guys in the world of shadows…but maybe some bad men are better than others.

Derek Hawthorne was born to be an agent of the Red Room. Literally. Raised in a conspiracy that has protected the world from the supernatural for centuries, he’s never been anything other than a servant of their agenda. Times are changing, though, and it may not be long before their existence is exposed.

When a routine mission uncovers the latest plan of magical terrorist the Wazir, Derek finds himself saddled with a new partner. Who is the mysterious but deadly Shannon O’Reilly? What is her agenda? Couple this with the discovery that the Red Room has a mole seeking to frame Derek for treason and you have a plot that might bring down a millennium-old organization. Can he stop the Wazir’s mission to expose the supernatural? And should he?

Pick up your copies today! Or at least Agent G since the price is right there for anyone.

JUNE 2017 update on my writing

A heads’ up on where I’m related to on my various projects:

THE KINGDOM OF SUPERVILLAINY: I am at 22K writing this, which is a lot more impressive than it sounds as I haven’t “officially” started writing it. I planned to start writing it after I finished Lucifer’s Nebula but I keep writing a little bit more here and there as the jokes and plot come to me. It’s poor Gary enjoying the height of his success as a supervillain only to discover that comes with the cost of the heroes in retreat. Can he live in a world dominated by evil or will he decide he has to give the heroes a little push? I expect it to finish around 70K.


LUCIFER’S NEBULA: The sequel to Lucifer’s Star is 55K now and should be about 90K when done. The story will pick up a year after the events of the first book as Cassius finds its impossible to escape his past, no matter how far he runs. He must confront his doppelganger and wayward family, who are presently the heads of the galaxy’s ever-successful rebellion. But there’s a darker hand behind the Spiral’s civil war and if humanity doesn’t unite then it may simply join the legion of other extinct races across the universe. Cassius woudl rather just engage in some not-so-good-natured smuggling.


100 MILES AND VAMPIN’: The sequel Peter Stone’s original adventure. 100 Miles and Vampin’ picks up with him being in a slightly-better but still pretty poor place in the vampire hierarchy. In this case, he’s assigned to look after the equivalent of Stephanie Meyers and immediately botches the job when she’s killed by an unknown assailant. Forced to solve the murder before he’s thrown up as a sacrifice to the masses, Peter needs to decide if success among the undead is worth it. I’m about 50K into this out of 70K so another almost done volume.


WRAITH LORD: It’s taken just about forever to get my books right back for both Wraith Knight and the Red Room series. However, I have successfully done so. If you were interested in the my take on Tolkien-esque fiction then you might enjoy the fact I have a second volume coming out as soon as the cover is finished. Alex Raspad is working on it now. Jacob has consolidated his rule over the Formori and other “evil” races but does he really want to begin war with the “light” species? It turns out he doesn’t have much of a choice as they have begun their own invasion.


AGENT G: SABOTEUR: The sequel to Agent G: Infiltrator, we pick up with G now working for the United States government to hunt down his former comrades. Kept on a leash by the fact they have an offer to fix his condition before he dies in a few years (if he has that long), he’s less than happy with being one of the “good” guys. It gets worse when he realizes what he found out was true of his past was just the tip of the ice berg. It’ll be released as soon as I can get approval for it from Amber Cove.


ELDRITCH OPS: The sequel to ESOTERRORISM is ready to go and should be coming out in a few months. I just want to get the book in a place where I’m not competing with myself. In this case, Derek is bored out of his skull as a member of the Committee and wishes he hadn’t given up his field agent status. Stupidly agreeing to investigate a diplomatic incident between the Red Room and the Vampire Nation, he ends up getting himself in the crosshairs of forces which want a war between the two powers. Oh and Dracula, himself, has decided to become involved.


As for upcoming projects? I have plans on continuing the SUPERVILLAINY SAGA with not only Kingdom but an upcoming crossover book called WORLDS OF SUPERVILLAINY which will visit the universe of LUCIFER’S STAR and CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON. I also intend to continue both the LUCIFER’S STAR universe as a series while the majority of the others listed here will be capped off as trilogies. CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON is a special case as it was meant to be a stand-alone but I’m working on a third book and may have more as ideas come to me.

I’m also sketching out a collaboration with DAWN CHAPMAN for a Lit-RPG science fiction novel.

Book Writing Update 5/22/2017

My current progress on multiple manuscripts:

Agent G: Saboteur (Agent G 2#): Complete and submitted to Amber Cove publishing. Jeffrey Kafer will be doing the audiobook. Cover complete.

Lucifer’s Nebula (Lucifer’s Star 2#): 41,000 Words (90K estimate for completed manuscript). Cover complete. Eric Burns will be doing the audiobook.

100′ Miles and Vamping (Straight Outta Fangton 2#): 51,000 Words (65K estimate for completed manuscript). Cover complete.


The Kingdom of Supervillainy (Supervillainy Saga 5#): 11,900 Words (65K estimate for completed manuscript). No cover.

The Tree of Azathoth (Cthulhu Armageddon 3#): 17,000 Words (90K estimated word count at completion). This is a low priority at present because I want this one to be perfect but it is still in the works.


Wraith Lord (Wraith Knight 2#): Completed and submitted to Crossroad Press but held up by *grumble grumble* issues. No cover.

Eldtich Ops

Eldritch Ops. (Red Room 2#): Completed and ready for submission to Amber Cove but held up by *grumble grumble issues* Cover complete.

I have a few other irons in the fire as well with a YA sci-fi novel and a upcoming Lit-RPG space opera.

Excerpt of Agent G: Infiltrator available

Here’s a sample chapter from my recently released book:

Chapter One

I was sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2017 Mercedes Benz S-Klasse, staring at a handheld computer screen tapped into the security feed of the Everhope Hotel. It was a cold Chicago night and the tomb-like atmosphere of the parking garage didn’t help. Still, it was appropriate for my job: to kill very rich and powerful people for money.

The target, Marshall Redmond, was fifty-two, possessed a net worth of sixty hundred million dollars, and was currently attending a fundraiser for a cause only the one percent of the one percent could care about. Conservation of a breed of salmon or something. The fat blond man was sitting at the table in the front of the ballroom with his unhappy-looking spouse beside him.

I was dressed in a chauffeur’s outfit, deep in the identity I’d established for myself, and doing my best not to be bored out of my mind. I was G, just G. Once I had a human name and background, but that’d been scrubbed from my brain along with the rest of my past. Real Total Recall stuff. Despite losing almost the entirety of my life, I didn’t sweat the details too much. I was paid exorbitant amounts of money to do what I did and would get the details back after ten years. Supposedly. One thing you learned when working for the—finger quotes—”International Refugee Society” was paranoia. It was the most valuable skill they could teach you.

To allay my boredom, I often tried to figure out why the Society had sent me to kill a target. I mean, obviously, it was because someone had paid them, but I mean the reasons behind the hit. Usually, it was depressingly simple: A target was having an affair and their spouse was a client. A target was a witness to a crime that could bring an end to a multimillionaire’s business. Or a political activist working for some group’s rights, or a political activist working against another group’s (many times the same group. Or someone who had made the mistake of betraying their employer in some way.

Not Marshall Redmond. No, he was special. To look at him, you’d think he was being targeted by his wife for decades of unhappy marriage or by someone he’d bilked out of millions. He looked like Bernie Madoff, not Osama bin Laden. However, it was closer to the latter than former. Marshall Redmond was a terrorist, or at least a terrorist financier. The difference was academic, really, since the former could kill a few hundred people in a bombing while the latter could kill thousands by organizing dozens.

Honestly, that had caught me off guard. People weren’t complex. Nine times out of ten, they were exactly what they appeared to be. It made me curious to see how a guy who’d grown up in the country club circuit had ended up dealing with everyone from ISIS to Red Sword.

“Well, I’ll find out soon enough,” I muttered. “Dead men tell no tales, but the about-to-die are remarkably chatty.”

After waiting twenty minutes for them to arrive, I saw Redmond and his wife part ways and move to their separate cars. Redmond and his bodyguard moved toward this car, the former looking distressed with the latter. Redmond’s bodyguard was a tall, thirty-two-year-old, muscular black man named Charles Dulcimer. Dulcimer was an ex-Navy Seal who had done contracts for Universiti and was currently working for the world’s largest security corporation. He looked violently ill and seconds later threw up on Redmond’s shoes.

“Tsk-tsk-tsk,” I said, shaking my head, adjusting the side view mirror. “You should always watch what you eat, Charles. You never know what someone might have slipped into it.”

Wow, I was so bored I was talking to myself.

Redmond backed away in disgust, yelled some obscenities at the man, and climbed into the back seat of the car. According to the profile, Redmond had never been comfortable with Dulcimer as his bodyguard. At the risk of pulling the race card, I suspected the ex-mercenary’s looks had a large part to play in it.

I was biracial myself, at least per my medical records, but light-skinned enough to pass as a white man. Doubly so since I dyed my hair blonde. Really, my appearance was perfect for putting people like Redmond at ease. These things I could disguise with the right wigs, contacts, and prosthetics, but tonight I was going as something close to the “real” me. It was dangerous, but the FBI didn’t exactly collect information on the Society either. Hell, they were one of its biggest clients.

“Take me home, David,” Redmond said, looking at his shoes. “God almighty, those people. Do we have a napkin or something in here?”

I reached into the glove compartment and removed some McDonald’s napkins I’d collected just in case this sort of situation happened. Putting on a stereotypical Southern drawl, I said, “Here, sir. I hope these help.”

Redmond took them before shooting me a dirty look. “Have you been eating in my car?”

I continued speaking like the expected hick. “No, sir, I ate outside, washed my hands, and came back in. I put the napkins in because you can never have too many napkins.”

“Good,” Redmond said, patting his interior lovingly. “Do you know that fucker actually wants to rezone the city to attract more foreign investment?”

“That fucker” I assumed to be the mayoral candidate. “Really?”

“Ugh. I’d tell him to go to hell, but I’m getting first dibs on several of those projects.”

I’d been working for Redmond for the better part of a week, having arranged for his previous driver to take a preferred assignment with an ex-fashion model known for banging her chauffeurs. I’d then taken over his job after making sure my name was at the top of the list via my Assistant’s computer hacking. Breaking into the limousine service Redmond used wasn’t exactly a challenge for a woman who had cracked the International Refugee Society’s servers, but Marissa was itching for work as much as I was.

I pulled out the car into Chicago’s busy streets. The most difficult part of the mission was over, and I could dispose of my target at any time. However, as I mentioned before, I was curious about what made a man like Redmond throw away a privileged life for something so ephemeral as politics.  “Do you ever give any thought to the matter of identity?”

Redmond reached into his jacket and pulled out a bottle of prescription pain killers before popping three into his mouth. “What the fuck are you going on about?”

It was over now. Redmond just didn’t know it. I’d managed to replace the contents of his bottle with a much, much stronger dosage, plus several other recreational pharmaceuticals that would kill even a healthy man Redmond’s age. That was just the backup plan, really, to make sure he didn’t get away. Not that I was afraid he would, but I wasn’t a Letter because I took chances. I also had something more . . . elaborate planned for his demise.

“Memory. It’s the basis of our identities, but so much of it is malleable. We recast events how we want them to be and how our present-day opinions influence them. For example, a person who commits a terrible crime might think of himself as completely justified in the events and recall things that drove him to it—even if they never happened. It’s why eyewitness testimony is so unreliable. Because a lot of times, what people recall happening didn’t happen at all.”

Redmond started coughing, unable to respond.

“For me, I can’t help but think it raises some interesting philosophical questions. Do we ever really know a person? Are all the various wars and conflicts of history because we interpret events solely through our own perspective? If you are a person without a memory, do you have an identity at all, or are you simply a hollow shell? I prefer to believe we’re like cups, emptied and waiting to be filled anew, but retaining some semblance of our past selves.”

“You . . . “ I heard a gasping, labored voice speak behind me. Looking over my shoulder, I watched Redmond clutching his chest, sweating like a pig and reaching for his cellphone. He was desperately trying to enter the number for 911.

I lifted up a small black box. “This is a cellphone jammer. You can buy them at almost any electronics store. It’s hilarious.”

Redmond dropped his cellphone on the ground. “Why? Is it . . . is it Mahad?”

Mahad al-Malik was a Saudi Arabian real estate developer who was suspected of having ties to Red Sword, but was so low on the totem pole he was allowed to conduct business in the United States. I couldn’t make up this shit if I tried.

“Do I look like the kind of guy who works with terrorists?” I said, chuckling “Then again, you don’t exactly look like that sort of fellow yourself. By the way, my name isn’t David, it’s G. I know—that’s a letter, not a name, but it’s as close as I’ve got. No Men in Black jokes, please.”

“I can pay—”

I rolled my eyes. “I hate when targets say that, I really do. First of all, if I spared your life, then you wouldn’t pay me because you’d call the police or the FBI. Next, if you paid me beforehand, there’d be nothing to stop me from killing you afterward. Use your head.”

Redmond looked at me with pure hatred in his eyes. “You’re . . . insane.”

“Possibly,” I admitted, shaking my head. “The people who employ me put me through a fairly punishing

regime of mental conditioning and drug therapies. Things designed to remove those qualities that don’t find humor in your situation, for example.”

Redmond started to cry. It was kind of sad, really. I usually felt better about these things when my target was dirty as fuck. Then again, Redmond was a racist white-collar criminal terrorist, which was a trifecta of things I loathed.

“I would like to know why, actually. That might change a few things.” It wouldn’t, but he didn’t know that.

“The money,” Redmond said, raising his hand into the air. “Red Sword robbed the banks of Mosul of . . . four hundred million dollars . . . they . . . needed someone to launder it.”

I stared at him, frowning. Such a disappointing motive. “Money? Really?”

“I had no choice.” Redmond wheezed, giving the excuse so many other targets gave. “They would have killed me and my family if I’d refused.”

“I’m sure they would have, once you took their money.” I shook my head and turned on the lights again before driving toward Chicago’s industrial district. It wouldn’t be long, now, until Redmond’s heart gave out. I’d have to work quickly if I wanted to make sure I got this whole thing resolved the way I wanted to. A good hit was like a work of art. If it was done properly, it was a remarkable sight and could be talked about for hours. It had to be done just perfectly, though, or the whole thing was ruined.

Redmond proceeded to surprise me again. “You . . . you work for the International Refugee Society.”

I looked into the rearview mirror. “Really? A twit like you knows about the Society?”

Redmond bitterly laughed. “You fucking bastard, they’re the people who arranged the meeting between Mahad and me.”

“As bad as I think my employers are, I don’t think they finance terrorism.”

Terrorists, by and large, couldn’t afford us.

“They’re going to steal . . . the money.”

“Good for them.”

“I can arrange for the . . . CIA . . . to help you. To protect you. They can . . . get you your memories back.”

Redmond knew way too much to be what he appeared. Worse, he was dangling the one carrot in front of my face that might entice me.

The chance to know who I was.

Pulling onto a set of train tracks just moments before the barriers moved down both in front and behind

me, I heard the warning bells as the flagger began flashing. I could see the train coming down from my left. I turned off the headlights to make sure the car wasn’t visible to the engineer. I had to make a choice now. Eh, who was I kidding? There was no choice. “The CIA won’t go against the Society.”

I stepped out of the car, went to the back of the trunk, and pulled out a drugged and confused-looking David Johnson, a.k.a Josh Harden. He was the man whose identity I’d stolen. An ex-convict and registered sex offender who was operating under a false identity while he sold pills to rich clients. We had a vague resemblance. Especially when you put as much effort into not being noticed as I did.

Putting him in the driver’s seat and adjusting his hat to be perfect, I shut the door and walked forward as

the 11:30 train barreled down the tracks.  I was fifty feet away before I heard the screeching, smashing, and crushing noise that was the death rattle of Redmond and his driver.

I confirmed both kills before walking away from the crime scene and turning my chauffeur’s attire inside out. The black suit top became a Chicago Cubs sports jacket and the hat a ball cap. The pants would become blue jeans, but I would wait until I was somewhere more private to change those. I also needed to contact the Home Office to confirm my kill.

Cramming my tie into my pocket, I pulled out my cellphone before removing a thin metal wire from its side with a needle at the end. I jabbed the needle into the right side of my temple, linking it up to the IRD implant they’d removed part of my brain to install. Cybernetics came with being a Letter.

The International Refugee Society had access to a lot of technology well above what regular humanity did, and instead of using it to help people, they used it to make better killers. Says something about the world, doesn’t it? I wasn’t the Six Million Dollar Man or anything, but I could run sixty miles per hour without breathing hard and recovered in two days the last time I was shot. OK, maybe I was the Six Million Dollar Man, adjusted for inflation.

“Hello, G, is the mission completed?” A woman’s voice interrupted my musings.

A holographic image of an older, white-haired woman in a white business suit appeared in front of my vision. It was Persephone, the Society’s Director. It was unusual for her to be the one answering this sort

of call. Usually, Marissa was the one to check on my progress and relay it to my superiors.

“No, I just love stabbing myself in the head with an information jack.”

“You should learn to watch your mouth. If you weren’t my favorite, I’d have it sewn shut.”

“I bet you say that to all the Letters.”

“Yes, but you should at least have the courtesy to not point that out.”

“Yes, Mom.”

I could feel Persephone’s irritation. I had to wonder what sort of person I was to continually challenge my superiors like that. I didn’t want to. I wanted to just serve out my ten years and retire with the ungodly amount of money I’d made during my contract. Preferably some place with large amounts of sunshine and rum. Yet I just had to push. It was unsettling.

“Now, I repeat, is the job done? No complications?”

“None. Tomorrow the headline will read a suicidal chauffeur decided to kill himself and his boss after deciding he couldn’t live with his crimes. Add in the business with the pills in Redmond’s stomach, and his businesses will be radioactive for the next few months. Just like the client wanted.”

Technically, they’d just said Redmond should die in “infamy,” but I’d interpreted that to mean something

like this.

“We’ll be sending in financial cleaners to his office tomorrow for the next part of the contract. Did he mention anything of importance before you completed your mission?”

“No, ma’am,” I lied, thinking about the whole Red Sword and CIA business Redmond had mentioned. Was it true? Maybe. It didn’t matter now. He was in a hundred pieces and any connection to the Society in his files would be erased tomorrow. It wasn’t my problem, though. I needed to stay loyal. I’d served five years of my ten years of service. I would make it to Reassignment.

“Good. Your payment is awaiting pickup with a bonus for prompt delivery. I’m afraid you’re not going to be able to enjoy spending it on your usual orgy of alcohol, hookers, and cocaine, though.”

“I don’t use cocaine.” I’d also rapidly cut down on my alcohol and hooker intake since beginning my relationship with Marissa. I wasn’t about to tell Persephone that, though, since I didn’t know how that would affect our working relationship. They might reassign her, or worse, and I didn’t want to imagine what life would be like without her. Marissa was one of the few things that made me feel human.

“I need you to come in to the Home Office as soon as possible. This is a time-sensitive issue,”

Persephone said, shaking me out of my thoughts. “High priority.”


“Say hello to the wife while you’re in town. I’m sure she misses you.”

“Like a bullet in the head.”

“Be prompt. Those can be arranged.”

Persephone’s image vanished from view and I removed my information jack. The encryption built into my head meant no one, short of the supercomputers at the NSA, could decrypt our conversations. Theoretically. I couldn’t help but think the Society’s overreliance on technology was a weakness rather than strength.

“Fuck, I need to get cleaned up,” I muttered, disappearing behind some empty rail cars as police sirens buzzed in the distance.

I was gone before they arrived.

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