Private Project

Justice for All

The year is 1999. A tourist is killed saving hundreds of innocent people at the Washington Air and Space Museum. He is no ordinary tourist. Carl Barnes is a former mercenary whose crowning achievement, one year before, was the defeat of a dangerous drug cartel in the Colombian jungle. A shadowy group calling itself DEFCON One claims responsibility for the aborted bombing, announcing their intent to form “a more perfect union”, comprised of ethnically pure white American citizens. The FBI believes the group is a covert terrorist cell within an overt right-wing militia, based in Wyoming. Recruited by Special Agent Gerhard Beck, Gabriele Barnes, the grieving wife of the victim, agrees to go undercover as a confidential informant. Susan Mackenzie, a police officer, and Beck’s ex-wife are tasked to provide personal support for Gabriele. Another source, now missing and presumed dead, has reported that the group’s inner circle accepts only married couples. Jerry Tompkins, Carl’s teammate, and the closest friend agreed to marry Gabriele and to live with her platonically for the duration of the operation. Unexpectedly and inconveniently, he falls in love with Susan. Jerry and Gabriele go on to penetrate the secretive gang, living among them in order to gather enough evidence for Special Agent Beck to arrest the group. Gabriele has nothing to live for except revenge; Jerry vows to protect his friend’s wife—and use his considerable military skills to help her exact retribution. Too late, they realize that Gabriele is way over her head, and Jerry’s military skills are not enough. Gerhard and Susan are then killed in a truck bombing of the federal building in Cheyenne, leaving Jerry and Gabriele isolated in the field. Trapped in a cauldron of hate, they must find a way to expose the terrorist cell for what it is, save their own lives, and prevent an airborne anthrax attack that threatens to kill a million Californians. With courage, patience - and the outside support of a friend – they manage to survive the ordeal, avenge Carl’s murder, and stop the attack. When the smoke clears, Jerry and Gabriele find they wish to stay married. Savoring the memories of lovers lost, they form a more perfect union of their own.

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Writer Biography

Paul Shemella is a career Navy SEAL and longtime lecturer on terrorism, civil-military relations, and maritime security. As a naval officer, he planned and executed Special Operations in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. As an academic, he designed and delivered seminars and workshops on civil-military responses to national security threats all over the world. He has published groundbreaking books on terrorism, maritime security, and African governance. Paul lives with his wife in Carmel Valley, California. Now in retirement, he is writing a trilogy of thriller novels.

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