Monday, June 5, 2017


The sequel to my first novel Tragic City, titled Red Light Run, will be published on Amazon Kindle on July 4, 2017. The paperback will follow shortly thereafter. I currently have the rough outline for book 3 completed and will be releasing a short story collection within the next couple of months. If you are interested in either book, click on the above links to Amazon.

Tragic City is currently priced at $0.99 and FREE with Kindle Unlimited. Red Light Run is available for preorder with a list price of $2.99 and will also be FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Red Light Run (Roger Devereux Book 2) by [McDonald, Robert]

And now, for your reading pleasure, here is my short story Bad Day. Chronologically this takes place a few years before the events of Tragic City while Roger Devereux was working as a security contractor in Mexico. This is an unedited version of the story, so please forgive me the grammar and/or spelling.

I half listened to the chatter on the radio and focused my eyes on the street vendors and traffic as we tooled along the Juarez roadways in our up armored Land Rover Defender. I glanced toward Terry, my team leader, and saw he was doing the same out his window on the opposite side of the second row seat from me. We were on a parallel path to the main convoy transporting the principal.
Terry idly scratched his thick red beard and glanced at me as he felt my gaze. He gave a slight nod of acknowledgment before glancing back out at the human debris cluttering the busy street. 
I’d been on Terry’s team for three month, and this was our third rotation as the Quick React Force, and my first time acting as the team’s assistant team leader. The former ATL had returned to the States upon receiving divorce papers. There were rumors that a tragic donkey show accident had something to do with the divorce, but I wasn’t sure if that was true or just another manifestation of Terry’s sick sense of humor. 
Ronnie, riding shotgun directly in front of me, had been pissed. He had more time on the teams and was an Army vet who had served in combat in Iraq. The truth was, he was a decent shooter, but he brought too much baggage from the Army with him. He never missed a chance to criticize the company and tell us how much better the Army would handle our assignments. Most of us wondered why he hadn’t reenlisted, and everyone wished that he had. 
His attitude caused a lot of friction, especially with the guys who had never served in the military, and it would probably cause Roland to not renew his contract when the current term was up. He was just barely tolerated on our team, and none of the others would have him.
Both Terry and I had no prior military experience, and Ronnie made sure to let us know that made us lesser men in his eyes. Ryan, our SAW gunner, who rode in the rear luggage compartment with his big gun, was former USAF Security Forces and given slightly more respect. Still, the big Cajun had to listen to endless jokes about his time in the “Chair Force,” and Ronnie had come close to pushing the coonass past his ability to tolerate the ribbing. Ernesto, our driver, had served in the Mexican Marine’s before taking a job with Roland, but Ronnie treated him with the same casual disdain he handed out to me and Terry. 
We all knew Ronnie thought he should have Terry’s job. We also knew that if that every happened we’d all quit. And so did Roland.
I had been Terry’s second choice to fill the ATL slot. Terry had made the offer to Ryan first, due to his seniority. Ryan had declined, saying he was just a shooter and preferred it that way. He’d suggested Terry try me.
I’d hesitated at first, but Terry made it simple.
“Look,” he’d said, “it’s a bump in pay with no real increase in responsibility. The only way you take over is if I get taken out, and I like breathing. Plus, it’ll chap Ronnie’s ass to see you get it over him.”
I’d agreed, more for the latter than any other reason.
The radio crackled and the Close Protection Detail’s Team Lead addressed Terry.
“Trouble Shooter One, this is Alpha One, over.”
“Copy, Alpha One,” Terry replied.
“We’re coming to a stop,” Jonathan, call sign Alpha One, said. “Looks like some kind of traffic accident, over.”
“Copy, Alpha One,” Terry said. “We’ll pull it to the curb until you’re rolling again.”
“Roger, Trouble Shooter One, out.”
Ernesto pulled to the curb and we waited with the engine running, thankful for the air conditioning that kept most of the heat out. A couple of minutes went by, and we watched for any sign of a threat. Mostly, we listened to the radio. 
Our job was to come in and hit anything and anyone that attacked the convoy so hard they’d be too tied up with us to keep the Close Protection Detail from extracting with the principal. A convenient traffic accident would make the perfect prelude to an ambush, and if this had been our first time out we would have been on high alert. Unfortunately, we’d experienced this one too many times to pay it much concern.
We felt and heard the first explosion at almost the same time. The radio lit up with Jonathan’s adrenaline spiked voice as a second explosion followed.
“Lead vehicle just took an RPG! Fuck, chaser too! Get us the fuck out of—”
Over the radio we heard a single gunshot, followed by three more, and then a loud crash before the radio cut out. In the distance, we heard the distinctive sound of AK rifles firing full automatic. 
Not waiting for Terry’s order, Ernesto had the Defender screeching away from the curb and shooting down the nearest ally toward the main convoy. Adrenaline was surging in my system, and I knew everyone must feel the same way as we sped toward our objective. We’d gotten complacent, and it had made our reaction time slow. We should have been rolling as soon as we heard the first explosion, but disbelief had temporarily paralyzed us.
Ernesto crashed through a fruit vendor’s stand at the opposite end of the alley and brought the Defender to a screeching halt just in front of the convoy.
The lead and chase vehicles, both armored Suburbans, were engulfed in flames. It looked like the attackers had hit them with Molotov cocktails after the RPGs. I felt a chill of terror go up my spine as thought about the men who had been inside. Not friends, but certainly close acquaintances. 
The principle’s transport, an armored Mercedes G Wagon, had been smashed into and pinned against a concrete road divider by a lifted Ford F-250 pickup truck. Four men were pointing AKs at the SUV, and a fifth was just finishing pouring a can of gasoline on the hood. The windshield was spider webbed from multiple rifle round hits, but so far it looked like it was living up to its manufacturer’s advertised capabilities. 
“Take those fuckers out!” Terry ordered as we spilled from the Defender.
The hijackers were just turning toward us as we started spraying hate and hot metal. We let them have it hard and fast, not having to worry about the principle and Close Protection Detail behind the thick armor of the G Wagon. I brought my AR up and put the red dot of the Aimpoint sight on the centerline of one of the AK men and pulled the trigger as fast as I could while still keeping the rifle on target.
He was dead before he hit the ground and I transition to the next armed attacker just as Ryan’s SAW lit off and chewed my new target to pieces. I looked over my Aimpoint for more targets, but finding none lowered the rifle to the ready. All of the hijackers in view were down. 
Ronnie started for the G Wagon and I followed, with Terry bringing up the rear. Ryan stayed on the SAW, aiming over the hood of the Defender while using the engine block as cover. Ernesto was still in the Land Rover, behind the wheel and ready to hightail as soon as we saddled back up.
As we reached the Mercedes, the rear passenger door popped open and Jonathan stepped out, his gray suit speckled with blood spray.
“Carl’s dead,” he said without preamble, his voice cracking. “Ricardo shot him in the head just before we got hit by the truck.  He must have been in on it. He went for me too, but the angle was wrong and I took it in the armor. Trashed my radio. I put two in the fucker’s skull. Fuck, man, Carl’s dead.”
Carl and Jonathan had been friends for over a decade, and had been working together most of that time. Jonathan was clearly fucked up mentally, but he was doing his best to hold it together.
“Jesus,” Terry said. “The principle?”
“Shitless,” Jonathan said, voice harsh as he tried to keep it steady. “But otherwise okay.”
“Let’s get you both into our vehicle and get the fuck out of here before anyone else shows up,” Terry said.
The street had gone eerily quiet and the normal crowds had vanished. Jonathan pulled the principle from the Mercedes and began to lead him toward the Defender just as the sound of a vehicle caught my ear. In the distance, I could here sirens but this vehicle was much closer and I felt something creepy crawly go up my spine.
“Time to scoot,” Terry said, motioning us toward the Defender.
Ronnie booked it after Jonathan and the principle, and then past them. He was in the shotgun seat and ducked down low with the door shut before I’d taken a step. I heard a vehicle break to a stop behind the corner of a building on the opposite side of the convoy vehicles from us and I turned in that direction.
“Get your ass moving, Devereux!” Terry shouted. 
I didn’t hesitate, I turned and sprinted for the the Defender. I heard Terry’s para FAL firing in rapid single shots and glanced over my shoulder in time to see five armed men attempting to get back around the corner of the building where I’d heard the vehicle. Two of them fell to the ground, but the others made it back behind cover. 
I checked my sprint, intending to turn and give Terry some covering fire on his way back to the Defender but he yelled again.
“Don’t stop, go!”
I looked back to the Defender and saw Ryan had repositioned at the back of the Defender to have a clear line of fire at the corner the men had come from. I reached the Defender and took up a position between Jonathan and the principle and any threat, just as Terry worked a reload on his FAL and started to sprint out way.
A hijacker with and AK popped around the corner and held his trigger down, firing wildly on full auto. Ryan shredded him with a burst from the SAW but not before one of his rounds felt Murphy’s touch and ripped through Terry’s leg below the knee. He stumbled and went down with a cry, and I started back toward him.
I felt a hand slap my shoulder and then Jonathan was rushing past me.
“I got him,” he shouted. “Stay with the principle.”
I checked my run and duck walked backwards until I felt the open rear passenger door of the Defender at my back. I positioned myself between the open door and any threat outside, covering Jonathan as he sprinted toward Terry. Ryan was firing short, controlled bursts towards the corner to keep anyone from getting to brave and making another kamikaze attack. 
Jonathan had just reached Terry and was kneeling down to get him up when a Toyota Tacoma came barreling around the corner. There was a man in the bed manning a fucking Ma Deuce fifty caliber heavy machine gun on a pintle mount. Before either I or Ryan could react he swung the heavy gun’s barrel toward Jonathan and Terry and fired. The booming DOOMDOOMDOOMDOOM drowned out my shout of rage and horror as I watched Jonathan and Terry’s bodies disintegrate under the heavy storm of metal.
I snapped my rifle up, too late to help, and dumped my magazine into the fifty gunner. He fell over the side of the truck and hit the pavement head first with a crack like a bursting egg. Ryan held down the trigger on the SAW and walked the line of fire back and fourth across the cab of the Tacoma until there was not way anything inside could survive.
I worked a mag change and yelled at Ryan.
“Saddle up, let’s get the fuck out of here.”
I crammed into the rear seat of the Defender and pulled the door shut, just as Ryan opened the rear and tossed the SAW inside before clambering his bulk in and pulling the hatch down. 
“Drive!” I shouted at Ernesto.
As we sped through the dusty Juarez streets I practiced my breathing, trying to slow my heart rate and keep my hands from shaking. I heard low muttering, and glanced at the principle. He was wide eyed and clearly terrified in his rumpled Brooks Brothers suit, but he was quiet. I glanced into the front seat and saw where the sound was coming from.
Ronnie has crammed himself down onto the floor board in front of the passenger seat. He had his chin tucked into his knees and his arms hugged his legs as he rocked back and forth, tears streaming down his face. I could see his entire body trembling, and I finally made out the muttering.
“Home. Home. I want to go home,” he said, over and over.
He didn’t stop until a doctor tranqed him back at Roland’s compound. They put him on a plane back to the states two days later, his contract terminated early and paid in full with a medical disability bonus. 
Roland offered me the Trouble Shooter Team Leader position, and I accepted. I kept it until my contract was up nine months later, and then I went home. Back to Birmingham, Alabama. Where it was safer.