Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Hook -- Surprise in Macau

Following is the opening scene of volume 2 of The Chinese Spymaster, tentatively titled The Ninja and the Diplomat. What I want to know is HOW DOES IT GRAB YOU? (The following image is of a casino interior downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.)

“Room service.”
Kim, the North Korean arms dealer, looked across the ample rosewood and silk chairs and sofa in the living room of his suite to his bodyguard and motioned with his head to send him to the door.
“We did not order anything.”
“Compliments of Viktor.”
The arms dealer hesitated then nodded. His bodyguard opened the door cautiously and waved a metal detecting wand over the man as he wheeled in a polished wooden cart laden with a basket of fresh lychees, a plate of tempting desserts, and the customary bottle of champagne in an ice bucket.
The man from room service was a local, so they could assume he was not from Viktor’s “inner circle” but Viktor notoriously used gangs of local organized crime.
He snatched a knife from the cart and attacked the bodyguard. Even though there was a crazed look in his eyes, suggesting that he was under the influence of some drug, he wielded the knife with skill. It was, however, as if a lucky beginner was fighting a hardened professional. The guard had to dodge three or four times before blocking a knife thrust with the metal detector and striking the attacker’s throat. The attacker arched backwards while slashing at the outstretched arm; the guard spun to avoid the knife and caught the attacker by the wrist. He swung the man effortlessly into a wall against which he crashed and lay crumpled
As the attacker slumped to the floor, another man moved silently into the doorway. “Was that too easy?” he asked as he raised his silenced Glock 19 and shot at the bodyguard who sprang at the same instant to relative safety behind the furniture in the living room
The arms dealer wasted no time in firing his 9 mm Beretta. He did not miss, not even when a second gunman rushed into the room.
“You really should try the egg tarts. They are better than what you get in Hong Kong,” purred a heavily accented voice from outside the door. “By the way, your marksmanship has improved greatly but there are three more of us and we have something—”
There was a short pause as guns clattered and curses were muttered. A door had opened by the staircase.
A shrill whistle blew.
“Stop! Police. Drop your weapons.”
The arrival of the police surprised everyone inside and outside the suite of rooms at the quietly stylish hotel that had served as Kim’s base of operations. Even so he maintained his usual calm facade as Viktor and his crew cursed. The police brought with them the odor of officious authority that blended well with the whiff of sulfur.

In a few minutes, all the attackers and those attacked were taken, separately, into custody.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the setting. Of course, it's not widely known that the upper echelons of North Korean society are commercially quite active. The Emperor Group, I believe, operate casinos just south of the Russian border. And commerce in the Asia-Pacific region has nearly forever been associated with organized crime, largely in order to avoid the strangulations of total tax capture which was always the aristocratic goal. North Koreans thus likely move through a grey ocean of trade that is derelict and underestimated as to scale and influence. I didn't have a good sense of the languages or accents in this scene, but that is a detail. It's difficult to gain a full sense of mood structure and the frame of a writer's "attitude" from a short excerpt. Generally, I think much more can and should be written about the Pacific region. The delta of the future, in my view, will be both highest and lowest, positive and negative across the Great Pacific and the other frontiers of the world. I'm sure yours is a great story, but one at the leading edge of what I hope will become a more powerful and more popular variety of literature…hopefully sooner rather than later… before the future happens and it isn't fiction any longer. Too many minds in the Asian region are addicted to the napthalene of mass market consumer products and the opium of games and synthetic movies. Reality can be entertaining, too. What's hard to appreciate, though, is that reality has to be fictionalized first, because quite often the truth is vastly different from what we have been programmed to believe. I hope that your story will be one of the lights that will provide guidance through the fog.


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