DiscoverThriller & Suspense

Time to Pay the Piper

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Loved it! 😍

When POTUS takes drastic action to trim down the budget, he has no idea of the blowback that awaits, or the international reverberations.

Synopsis

America is about to be hit by a perfect storm—facing attack both from within and from abroad.

With the nation drowning in debt, rogue elements in the US Government are launching an audacious plan to target the most vulnerable people in the country. Inspired by recently unearthed Nazi research from World War II, this shady cabal of Washington insiders intends the unthinkable—the elimination of a whole swathe of the American population.

Millions will be targeted, virtually overnight.

Can CIA analyst Rachael Walker stop the slaughter of her countrymen?

Can the constitution of the USA survive such an all-out attack from within?

And will China use the time of mayhem playing out in America to advance its goal of becoming the world’s dominant superpower?

Time To Pay The Piper is a gripping and timely novel that will grab the reader from the very first page, highlighting America’s vulnerability at a time when its biggest enemy is on the rise.

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Andrew Mooney for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.


After struggling with a few attempts at reading the work of new authors, I entered this experience with some trepidation. However, after finishing a few chapters of Andrew Mooney’s book, I could not stop reading this political thriller that pushes the envelope in all ways I enjoy.


Special Assistant Director of the CIA, David Seagull, has a secret that he wants to share with the President of the United States (POTUS), which could alleviate many of the financial woes facing America. Pulling on knowledge his father garnered during World War Two, Seagull convinces POTUS to target those who utilise the American welfare system, a major drag on the financial pursestrings. POTUS authorizes a Nazi-tested disease be placed in the flu vaccinations mandated for all those using the welfare system, thereby ensuring that many of America’s poorest will die in short order. Seagull has covered his own ass by secretly investing in stocks that will benefit him in the worst possible case of insider trading. While he is careful, Seagull’s antics are discovered by two men running an online journal across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, China takes the bold move to stop funding America’s financial shortfalls and will no longer buy treasury certificates, as well as a few other major fiscal policies that rock the world.


Back in America, Seagull tries to stay one step ahead of those who are trying to find him, especially since his master plan is wavering. The same anonymity cannot be offered to POTUS, who is implicated in this scheme to kill many of his own. Will America be able to weather the storm and become great again? Mooney leaves it to the reader to discover in this well-paced political thriller. Recommended to those who love a political story with some great spins, as well as those who enjoy something with traces of ‘End of Days’.


What a way to end ‘debut’ slumps, as Andrew Mooney blows this book out of the water. I could not stop reading once I got started and wished this could have been longer and more detailed. With a few great storylines, I could not find a definite protagonist, though David Seagull could be one worth the moniker. All the characters in the piece came together in their own ways to create a wonderful story that pulls the reader in for quite the journey. Mooney seeks to keep things relatively realistic with this piece, tapping into a few financial crises that spin out of control with each passing chapter. While a few of the scenarios developing at a pace and with outcomes I would not expect, the reader will have to suspend some of their preconceived notions and ride the wave of this story.


With some strong writing and short chapters to propel the piece forward, I could not help but devour large portions of the piece in one sitting. That being said, I could see how this political thriller could have been turned into a series, even a trilogy of sorts. Mooney could easily draw out aspects of this book to lay the foundation for something longer, delving into the China plot over one book, the hunt for Seagull in another, as well as the political fallout that POTUS faced. That being said, the compact nature of the book left me excited and wanting more. Less a doomsday story where the apocalypse is here and people are eating one another, this piece packs a punch and should not be missed by those who like political thrillers with strong characters and a great deal of action.


Kudos, Mr. Mooney, for this great piece. You won me over and I am eager to see what else you pen in the years to come.


Reviewed by

I love to read and review all sorts of books. My passion is crime and thrillers, but there are so many other genres that pique my attention.

While I am not a full-time reader, I try to dedicate as much time to my passion as possible, as can be seen on my blog and Goodreads.

Synopsis

America is about to be hit by a perfect storm—facing attack both from within and from abroad.

With the nation drowning in debt, rogue elements in the US Government are launching an audacious plan to target the most vulnerable people in the country. Inspired by recently unearthed Nazi research from World War II, this shady cabal of Washington insiders intends the unthinkable—the elimination of a whole swathe of the American population.

Millions will be targeted, virtually overnight.

Can CIA analyst Rachael Walker stop the slaughter of her countrymen?

Can the constitution of the USA survive such an all-out attack from within?

And will China use the time of mayhem playing out in America to advance its goal of becoming the world’s dominant superpower?

Time To Pay The Piper is a gripping and timely novel that will grab the reader from the very first page, highlighting America’s vulnerability at a time when its biggest enemy is on the rise.

CHAPTER ONE

CIA Headquarters, McLean, Virginia

Rachael Walker stared pensively out of the window of her office. She was deep in thought, and the weather outside matched her mood. Grey and stormy. Her office door was closed, and she had left her light turned off, as she did not want anybody to interrupt her. The gloomy room only added to her sense of frustration.

Six months ago, just after the inauguration of the newly elected president, her boss, special assistant director of the CIA, David Seagull, had promoted her to head of the Financial War Games Department. The role of this department was to construct war games that focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the US economy. The promotion was unexpected, as she was one of the more junior analysts in the department. And she had only worked for the CIA for five years since graduating at the top of her class from the prestigious Harvard Business School.

The promotion had caused resentment amongst her colleagues, and she could understand their bitterness. Many had years more experience than her, and they all felt that someone more senior should get the promotion. A considerable number of her male colleagues still carried an old-school gender bias, and could not tolerate working for a woman. Especially a woman who not only displayed razor-sharp intelligence but was also stunningly beautiful. Her long black silky hair perfectly complemented her Eurasian features, inherited from her Caucasian father and Vietnamese mother.

In fact, many of her female colleagues, too, resented her beauty and considered that she had only received the promotion by sleeping her way to the top. But this did not bother Rachael that much. She had battled against these sorts of prejudices her entire life, and every slight just stiffened her resolve that she would, eventually, be judged on her merits. Not on her looks or because of her sex. Sometimes, when she was alone with her thoughts, she wondered about David Seagull’s motivation in promoting her. She could not help but feel that somehow she was being set up. The idea kept nagging at her, but she could not work out how or why she was being manipulated. Maybe she was just being paranoid.

However, the assignment that David Seagull had given her last week did perturb her. Seagull had told Rachael that her entire team would meet with the new president, Christian Palatine, in precisely six weeks’ time. And Seagull expected that Rachael would give a comprehensive presentation to the president on the perilous state of the United States budget, and what the Financial War Games Department considered to be the most likely threats to the United States’ economy. Especially from other world powers such as China and Russia. World powers that did not share the same values as the USA and would look to cause harm whenever they could.

The assignment was not that unusual. Her department routinely ran models that tried to predict the actions of countries less than friendly to America, and what impact those actions would have on her country.

What was unusual was David Seagull’s constant interference in the process of compiling the presentation. He regularly barged into her office, displaying press story after press story showing how welfare cheats were milking the system. He also interrupted meetings that she was holding with her team and would take over, always ending in a tirade that the welfare system was leading to the country’s almost certain bankruptcy.

He was rabid in his hatred of welfare claimants and viewed all of them as parasites. He demanded, again and again, that Rachael make this the focus of her presentation to the president.

Rachael was torn. She knew that the welfare system was severely flawed, but other elements were equally defective. Military spending, health expenditure, a bloated bureaucracy: each had as much to do with the sad state of the country’s finances, and each should be tackled.

But, oddly, Seagull had given her clear instructions that he wanted her to only concentrate on the welfare system, with particular emphasis on Social Security.

Rachael had a nagging feeling that somehow her promotion and this presentation were linked. Little did she know that these were but elements of an audacious scheme that David Seagull had been planning for several years.

*

Five weeks later

Rachael sat waiting outside the office of the David Seagull. She had been summoned more than an hour ago and had been left waiting to serve at her master’s pleasure. This was a ploy that Seagull often used. He deliberately kept people waiting to keep them off-balance. He also believed that staring at a person without blinking, and long lulls in conversation, were effective intimidatory tactics.

Rachael understood that this was just part of his game, and took the time to review what she knew of her boss. She was aware that he was a career agency man and had followed in his father’s footsteps. His father, Richard Seagull, had been one of the first recruits into the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Rachael also knew that he was an only child and that his mother had died when he was very young. He was unmarried and seemed to have no close friends. David Seagull was also xceptionally ugly, with a face that only a mother could love. Nothing seemed to fit correctly. His eyes were protruding, almost as though he had no eyelids. His lips were thin and colourless, and his nose looked like something a three-year-old had moulded out of playdough.

Rachael had seen photos of him when he was much younger, and it was clear that even back then he had had a bad case of male pattern baldness. So he did what most men who were sensitive about their hair loss did. He shaved his head every day and had almost convinced himself that he would have done this even if he had not been losing his hair. He felt that his deliberately shaven head added to his allure.

Rachael gave a snort of exasperation. She did not like David Seagull, but her feeling went beyond mere dislike. There was something about the man that she did not trust. He always seemed to be running a game where only he knew the rules. In years to come, Rachael would often wonder what would have happened had she listened to her instincts.

*

“Miss Walker, you may go in now. The special assistant director is ready to see you,” said Seagull’s personal assistant, as she buzzed to open the door to his office.

Before entering, Rachael had to undergo a bizarre ritual that every visitor had to endure. First, she had removed her shoes and replaced them with Japanese slippers. Next, she had donned a pair of latex gloves. Nobody knew why they had to follow these weird steps, but it was the only way to get into the inner sanctum.

Rachael walked to the door and softly knocked three times. This was another peculiarity demanded by the office, and you could only enter once you had been granted permission by Seagull himself.

Receiving the assent to enter, Rachael opened the door and stepped in. After closing the door, she had to remain stationary until Seagull raised his eyes from the documents laid out on his desk and motioned for her to come closer. Another tactic designed to intimidate.

After keeping Rachael waiting several awkward minutes, Seagull indicated that she could enter his office. The office was massive and bathed in soft light from the only lamp that was on. The large windows let in natural light, but the overcast weather gave a sense of dimness to the room.

Rachael strode confidently towards the desk where Seagull was seated. I will not let your childish antics get to me, she thought. Arriving at the chairs in front of the large walnut desk, she waited for permission to sit.

Seagull waved her to sit down, and without waiting for her to get comfortable, he started speaking. “So, have you finished the presentation for the president next week?”

“Yes, Special Assistant Director. I have just finished proofreading the final draft of the report that will accompany the presentation. And if you will allow me to comment, I am not happy with the overall direction of the presentation. I feel that it focuses too much on the welfare system and not enough on other elements that are also major parts of our fiscal deficits.” With that, she handed over the draft. He stared at her without speaking, then slowly lowered the document onto his desk and started reading.

As he flipped the pages, Rachael took the opportunity to glance around the room. First, the desk. There was nothing on it except the document that Seagull was currently working on. No phone, no photos, no ornaments. Nothing except the blank expanse that separated Rachael from him. There were no paintings on the wall and no books on the bookshelves. It was almost as though Seagull did not want any personal touches to be displayed in his office. A clear message that he was only here to work, and he would not be distracted by sentimentality or pleasure.

After what seemed an interminable wait, he cleared his throat, and Rachael jerked around guiltily. She felt that somehow she had failed a test by not giving her entire focus to the person on the other side of the table.

“Miss Walker, I do not really care about your personal feelings on what or what is not essential. It is what I think that is important, and you will give the presentation to the president precisely as directed. Do I make myself crystal clear?” He spoke softly, his stare boring into her.

Without letting her speak, he continued. “And if you do not do precisely as directed, then I will find somebody who will. I am sure that there are many people in your department who would jump at the chance to take your place.”

Rachael stared back at her boss. She would not give him the satisfaction of looking away. She hated that she was being pushed into a corner but thought to herself, What harm can it do? It is a presentation to the president that he will forget after a few minutes. But she could not shake that nagging feeling that she was being made part of something bigger that she did not understand.

Finally, unable to think of another way to handle the implacable man before her, she spoke. “Mr Special Assistant Director, I will present to the president precisely as you have instructed.”

David Seagull gave a taut smile to demonstrate his superiority over his subordinate, and with a nod of his head, indicated that Rachael was dismissed.

*

Seagull stared coldly at Rachael Walker’s back as she left his office. He was satisfied that Rachael would follow his instructions to the letter, and that pleased him. His plan was coming together, a plan that had been years in the making.

He just needed to keep pressure on the new president, a man he considered weak and easily manipulated.

About the author

Andrew Mooney is an international nomad having lived and worked in Australia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Solomon Islands as well as visiting and working in over thirty-five different countries. A qualified CPA, he has been fascinated by the rise of China and how the West has played into their pl... view profile

Published on April 11, 2020

Published by

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by

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