The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Gary Ponzo's Book: A Touch of Defiance.
Gary is an Award-Winning and Pushcart-Prize nominated author. He is the author of the Nick Bracco series of thrillers.
A Touch of Defiance
A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 5
Author: Gary Ponzo
From Pushcart-Prize nominated author Gary Ponzo, comes another thriller ripped right out of today’s headlines. An anti-government party called the Civil Resistance Movement is growing in popularity as tension mounts between police and civilians. The head of the CRM, Leo Frazier, has his own racist agenda which is unknown to his followers.
FBI Agent Nick Bracco and team must track down Frazier and his group of zealots before the MLK Day rally becomes ground zero for a terrorist attack. As usual, Nick turns to his Mafia-connected cousin Tommy to help search these extremists in places the FBI couldn’t navigate. The team of characters return in this thriller which will keep you riveted until the final page
Excerpt from A Touch of Defiance
Three seconds after the Garvey Space Systems building went dark, the front door burst open with a flash of light and an earsplitting blast. Two men wearing Halloween masks barged through the opening with their assault weapons pointed at Amir Hassam. The beams from their headlamps bored into Amir’s face as they ordered him to the floor. Amir’s stomach catapulted in circles as he slithered along the tile floor until he was up against the wall, pleading for the men not to shoot. A third masked man entered behind them, tapping the touch screen of his computer tablet with quick fingers.
It was three in the morning. Amir was the only security personnel on staff that night, and he was completely baffled why these men were even there. The building contained little of value as far as he knew. He threw his hands in the air and blurted, “Please, take anything you want. I will not stop you.”
“We know,” the leader said, swiveling his head around the room and shining the headlamp along the interior of the lobby. They seemed to be waiting for the computer guy to do something.
Amir was just glad they weren’t firing at him, taking each second as a gift. He was a security guard at the propulsion laboratory owned by a billionaire who decided to create a rocket ship for passengers to orbit the earth. There was an abundance of one-percenters who were willing to part with the hundred-thousand-dollar down payment and wait the five years for production. It’s why Amir was confused. There wasn’t anything inside the complex that would be of interest to anyone besides a competing laboratory. This gave Amir hope, thinking these men could be white-collar criminals and not thugs after some big payday.
The computer guy made one last tap on his tablet and the lights came back on. Amir could see the three men clearly now, their faces hidden behind the rubber masks, but their lips and eyes were uncovered. What was the mask? An old president? He couldn’t tell.
The leader of the trio shoved his rifle at Amir’s face and said, “Get up.”
Amir jumped to his feet, his heartbeat pulsing throughout his body.
The leader pointed the rifle at the seat behind the reception counter and ordered Amir in front of the computer.
“Get us in!” the leader yelled.
At first Amir didn’t understand, then the computer guy said, “He won’t know the password to the company system.”
Amir nodded fervently. “Yes, that is correct. I know nothing about the company except that they make rocket ships. That is it.”
“Turn it on,” the leader insisted.
“Not that one,” the computer guy said. Then he pointed to a computer sitting at the end of the long countertop that fronted the reception area.
“What’s the difference?” the leader said with a little attitude.
“Only one person uses that computer, so she’ll have the same login every time.”
The leader stared at the computer guy as if he were about to challenge him, but decided to point his rifle at the other computer and yelled, “Now!”
Amir was nearly about to faint. His brain was lacking blood flow as he stumbled like a drunk and sprawled to the floor.
The computer guy quickly maneuvered around the leader and stood in front of the computer. He placed his tablet on the counter and zipped open a small pouch. He removed a test tube from the pouch and sprinkled a blue powder over the keyboard.
From the doorway, the third guy was looking toward the street. “Let’s get going here.”
“Relax,” the leader said. “It’s an industrial park. There aren’t any neighbors.”
“Still,” the guy said with an eye on the empty road.
Amir sat motionless, hoping they might forget about him sitting on the floor. His hands were clammy and his stomach was cramping.
The computer guy lowered some microscopic lenses over his eyes, the mask making him look even more sinister. “There are oils on the fingers of the woman from the lotion she uses each morning. I can see the keys that are smeared with the lotion. It’s the same six keys each day. Now I need to decipher the sequence by the direction of the smears.”
“C’mon,” the guy by the door shifted his weight from side to side like someone with a full bladder.
After a minute, there was a faint chime.
“I’m in,” the computer guy said.
He tapped the keys with extreme dexterity, as if he knew exactly what he was looking for. From the back hallway there was a metal-sounding click. The computer guy looked up at the leader and said, “Go.”
The leader ran to the warehouse and Amir could hear him push through the iron gate that sealed off the laboratory from the rest of the building. Everything was happening so fast, Amir couldn’t catch his breath. The computer guy leaned over the counter and said, “Give me your phone.”
Amir quickly pulled the phone from his pocket and tossed it to him. The guy snatched it out of the air, then grabbed his tablet and began tapping again. Amir sat there frozen, grateful to be alive.
The leader emerged from the hallway carrying a shiny canister. While jogging past the counter, he slapped the computer guy on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”
The door guy pulled something out of his jacket, then ran over to an open space in the lobby and sprayed something on the wall. Amir feared it was some kind of chemical and he began hyperventilating. When the door guy was finished spraying, he sprinted out the door. The computer guy tapped his tablet and the darkness resumed. The leader was the last one to the entrance. He stood in front of the opening and swung his rifle around, pointing it at the weaponless security guard.
Amir thought about his infant daughter who would only know her father from stories told by family and friends. He was about to beg for his life when the leader dropped the rifle to his side and said, “Wait ten minutes before you leave.”
Amir let out a whimper as he heard a car start. He waited a full twenty minutes before he staggered to his feet and crept outside. It was cloudy and cold. A typical winter night in Baltimore. He walked almost a mile before he reached a convenience store and dialed 911.
When the police finally arrived, the first words out of Amir’s mouth were, “I want to see my family.”
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Author Gary Ponzo began his writing career over a decade ago by writing short stories. He quickly discovered a knack for the short form. In just five years he'd published seven short stories in various publications, two of which were nominated for the very prestigious Pushcart Prize.
His first novel, "A Touch of Deceit," took five years to write and one to pick clean. The story was born from his childhood experiences working in his father's candy store in Brooklyn, NY. His father was Sicilian and became friendly with some local members of a different kind of Sicilian family. Since Gary was just fifteen at the time, these family members would make sure he was protected whenever he would work late at night by himself. He soon discovered a side to the mafia not many people knew. It was these relationships which caused him to write about Sicilian FBI agent, Nick Bracco, who recruits his mafia cousin to chase down the world's most feared terrorist.
"A Touch of Deceit," went on to win the 2009 Southwest Writers Novel Contest, Thriller category. He is currently working on the 5th book in the Nick Bracco series as well as trying to create world peace in his spare time. Gary currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Jennifer and two children, Jessica and Kyle.
Author's Book List
A Touch of Malice
- A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 4
From Award-Winning and Pushcart-Prize nominated author Gary Ponzo comes another Nick Bracco thriller.
"These Nick Bracco books are really tight engaging thrillers. Great stuff," Creighton Rothenberger, screenwriter for the blockbuster movie, "Olympus has Fallen."
While filming a documentary, the President's brother is captured deep within the Amazon Rainforest by a Colombian cartel. The President calls the one person who has the underground criminal contacts needed to fight this type of vicious enemy. FBI agent, Nick Bracco. Once again Nick relies on his mafia-linked cousin Tommy to help with the operation. When Tommy recruits an assassin to join the rescue team, the rollercoaster comes off the track and everyone becomes a target.
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A Touch of Greed
- A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 3
From Award-Winning and Pushcart-Prize nominated author, Gary Ponzo, comes another Nick Bracco thriller.
NY Times Best Selling author John Locke: "Gary Ponzo's thrillers are so powerful, the government should use them as a renewable source of energy."
Ed Knight, Journey Books: "Gary Ponzo is a talented writer whose fiction contains a sharp wit all fiction readers should hear."
In this high-octane thriller, Nick Bracco, FBI's top anti-terrorist agent is drawn into the hostile environment of the Arizona-Mexico border. A member of his task force is ambushed by Mexican assassin, Antonio Garza, known as, "The Butcher," while trying to prevent the cartel staffer from transporting a dirty bomb into the US. As the agent is on the verge of slaughter, he calls Bracco with one last plea: Kill him.
Garza, however, uses his cartel money to reach over the border and secure a network of US law enforcement to be on his payroll. Bracco is forced to track him down with just a couple of agents he can trust, plus his cousin Tommy.
Tommy is a shrewd character with extensive Mafia contacts who offer their underground assistance as Bracco spearheads the deadly game of Sicilians versus the cartels.
Can Nick Bracco track down Garza before the assassin finds him first?
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A Touch of Revenge
- A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 2
From Award-Winning author Gary Ponzo comes the sequel to the wildly successful thriller, A Touch of Deceit.
FBI agent Nick Bracco heads an elite group of anti-terrorist specialists known as The Team. When his team members start showing up dead, Nick suspects a Kurdish terrorist who has revenge on his mind. As the terrorist closes in, Nick resorts to using an unconventional weapon--his cousin Tommy. Tommy has a quick wit and valuable connections throughout the Mafia.
Sometimes even the bad guys can be patriots.
"This is a wild and exciting ride."
Bob Moats, author of the Jim Richards Murder Novels
"Gary Ponzo's thrillers are so powerful, the government should consider using them as a renewable source of energy."
John Locke, #1 bestselling author of the Donovan Creed series.
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A Touch of Deceit
- A Nick Bracco Thriller Book 1
Winner of the Southwest Writers Novel Contest, Thriller category. FBI agent Nick Bracco can't stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can't stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy, however, is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.
A Touch of Deceit
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Saving the World
Award-Winning author, Gary Ponzo, brings us a mind-bending thriller about Margo Sutter, a proven teenage clairvoyant who hears invisible aliens planning to destroy the planet. The world is in a frenzy debating whether to prepare for the apocalypse or lock up Margo in an institution. When she seeks help from noted psychiatrist Michael Bryant, he’s drawn into a maze of deception, lies and intrigue.
Is Margo who she claims to be?
A priest friend of Bryant believes Margo is an angel come down to save our souls.
An FBI agent believes she’s aligned with the aliens and needs to be killed.
As Bryant and Margo flee from the agent’s team of killers, they search for the truth behind the voices and what it means for our future.
Who is Margo Sutter?
And will she survive long enough for the world to find out?
This heart-pounding drama starts on page one and doesn’t stop until the epic conclusion to this suspenseful new thriller.
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