More about Easy Squeezy  

Barton Oliver lives with a terrible secret.  He’s in the witness protection program.  People will kill him to find the $100 million his father stole from the mob.  And, through a series of misfortunes, Oliver just became the President of the United States.

The country’s future hinges on what could be the last presidential election as two mercenaries – one a disgraced ex-special ops soldier on a quest of personal revenge, the other a battle-scarred Russian  seeking her faceless assassins – fight their way across the globe to stop a terrible weapon that will fling the global economy back to the Stone Age.  They find the unlikeliest of allies – a young U.S. Marshal who can’t shoot straight.  She must choose between protecting the president she loves – and saving the country.

Easy Squeezy is the second thriller by Pulitzer finalist and veteran investigative reporter Paul D’Ambrosio.  He draws from economic turmoil and political conflagration to craft a fast-paced, international novel that is not far from today’s harsh realities.  Fans of his debut thriller, Cold Rolled Dead, will see the return of psychologist Sister Maris Stella – complete with cigarettes, her Jersey “attitude,” and uncanny insight.  The Jersey Shore, too, proves a powerful setting for the stark opening and stunning ending of Easy Squeezy.




Excerpt - Death from the air

The Commander glanced upward at the Predator drone to see the fourth plume of Hellfire exhaust sparkle in the sky.  He began counting down.


He grabbed the Russian behind the neck and threw her and himself face down into the ditch, trying to keep their bodies as tight to the ground as he could.  He pinched his nose shut and held his hand over the Russian’s airways.


Like a dart traveling at supersonic speed, the nose of the Hellfire missile hit the Arab general square in the back, cutting him neatly in two.  A split second later the warhead slammed into the sand and ignited.

Halfway across the globe, in a nondescript hushed, neon-lit room in a obscure part of New Jersey, the predator’s pilot, a newly minted MIT grad who was lured into the Xbox video game world of real-life challenges by a privately funded security force, took his right hand off of the joystick control and popped himself an imaginary high-five.

“Awesome, man,” he shouted to no one in particular as he allowed himself a bonus moment.  “Never had a bull’s-eye like that. That’s a million points right there.  Where’s my prize?”

He scanned the array of screens in front of him as the nine eyes of the Gorgon imager presented him with an undisturbed 360 degree view of the battlefield.  He had to check himself again.  No, not a battlefield, he was taught.  That would be too real.  This was an exercise.  A real-life simulation on real humans in a location at which he could only guess.  He was told only what he needed to know.  To hunt.  To target.  And to kill.  As if it were the biggest video game of his life.

The pilot saw the crosshairs on the targeting monitor follow the Hellfire to the ground and detonate.  The blast filled his screen with dust and debris.  Done.  Let’s kick this game up to the final level.

The blast wave rocketed across the desert at the speed of sound.  The Commander knew enough to look away from the explosion.  He had correctly calculated that the target and ensuing impact were outside the instant kill zone, where the super-pressurized air liquefied everything organic in its path.  What he didn’t know was how far the blast ring would extend.

The impact telegraphed a violent temblor through the ground, bouncing the Commander and the Russian merc an inch off the hardened surface.  The Commander instantly felt the searing heat from the wave flash over their bodies.  The wave expanded endlessly in its insatiable search for oxygen. 

This was the second kill zone of the thermobaric warhead, its fury amplified by tiny specks of nanofuel particles and burning magnesium that consumed every bit of air around them.  The Commander knew that if they were too close to the blast, the sudden atmospheric changes from the shock wave would find the low pressure in their lungs and literally suck the organs out of their bodies through their noses and mouths.  He pinched the Russian’s airways as tight as he could.  She knew why and didn’t fight back.

After vaporizing the band of dermo, the blast hit the towering pillars with the impact of a wrecking ball.  The 70-foot high stone structures, a series of circular rings the height of a child carefully laid on top of each other and cemented in place not with mortar but with sand, resonated for a moment as they resisted the unnatural force being pressed against their faces.  The violence was too much even for the Great Pillars, which had silently witnessed centuries of warfare and sandstorms.  The top tiers of the first row slid from atop the ruins and into the next row, starting a cascade of dominos that fell in a circular ring away from the impact zone.  The pillars were the Commander’s lifesaver.  They absorbed the brunt of the blast and the air-sucking wave that followed.  If he did not move fast enough, though, the pillars would soon become his early tomb.

He yanked Volya to her feet and dragged her as fast as he could to the wall farthest from their hiding place.  Each pillar unleashed a mighty groan followed by a thunderous crack as it slid to the ground. 
Not all fell, or fell completely, to the sandy floor below.  Like a child knocking his play blocks asunder, a dozen or so of the scores of pillars laid half-cocked, like crooked steps to the sky.

“You with me, merc?  You with me?” the Commander shouted to Volya as he shook her. "You with me?"