The South End  (A Novel)

It's the middle of his third deployment to Afghanistan, and US Army Ranger Staff Sergeant Brooklyn Parker has just been recalled to his childhood home on South Whidbey Island - to attend the funeral of his sister, who has apparently committed suicide by jumping off the bridge at Deception Pass.

The investigation concluded suicide.
The coroner's report concluded suicide.

Brooklyn has doubts, and proceeds to launch his own investigation. Within six hours, he is in the middle of a vast conspiracy. A foreign Consular Officer is abducted from his home in La Conner.  A neo nazi is apparently hiding out in Greenbank. A US Marshall's head is found on a spike at Sandy Point. A bomb scare on the ferry. A mob hit in the middle of First Street. And everyone is trying to kill him.

Drawing mostly upon historical events for inspiration, Guylaen O'Connor has created a deeply humorous, instantly dark technothriller urban shoot-em-up on the backdrop of South Whidbey Island.


An excerpt from the Novel.

     There was an odd smell in the air, it was unbearable. 
     It wasn't the stench of body odor or the aftermath of carnal pleasures or even the stench of rotten milk. It wasn't the stench of death, in as much as death doesn't do well when it's been gift-wrapped in the stars and stripes of Old Glory. 
     It was different to the smell of Death. I know that smell, I've covered enough rotting Taliban corpses and Al Qaeda footsoldiers in my spermicidal ejaculate to condition my pavlovian sexual arousal to the aromatic characteristics of that smell. So much so that even now upon arousal, I smell death in the corner, and it only turns me on even more.
     This wasn't it. It was such a stench that you can only find in a select few sectors of wonky fucking opulence... those rooms where politicians unzip their human skins and shed.
     Covered in polished dark wood and seething in dastard ambition veiled as patriotism or duty or honor. That stained maple wood and nondescript gray drab drywall boggled my gaze as it wandered frantically over the framed portraits of the Chain of Command.
     Those men who thought they might at least be the ones pulling the strings behind the scenes, but they were just puppets themselves, weren't they?
     The Chain of Command, sure. There was President Obama, and there was the Secretary of Defense, and there was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. They were all up there, on that fucking wall, neatly aligned in sequential order of their presumed hierarchy of power and influence.
     What the hell is there to say about Senator Hawkins other than the fact that he is the monster that you tell your kids about before they go to sleep? Hawkins might have the added benefit of age, but experience lived doesn't equate to experience earned. This guy, with his gray Hugo Boss suit and his gray Hugo Boss hair... he was a big bad baddie bad guy.
     Hawkins was the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and in the whole of his life, he'd never worn a uniform of any kind except for the ball and gag that his father, the headmaster to the Carolina Gifted School for Boys or whatever the fuck, had made him wear every Saturday night to entertain the members of their local Westboro Baptist Bowling League. I didn't know if that was true or not, but... there was a truthiness about it. I felt like it was true.
     The door opened behind me. I spun at the waste to glance back. Hawkins had entered the room.
     He motioned for me to sit. I spun back and faced the wall in front of me at parade rest.
     "I prefer to stand, Sir," I told him. That was a lie - every part of my body was on fire. My nipples, and my ballsack, they were still tingling from the spots where my captors had attached battery electrodes in their unsuccessful attempts to elicit information from me.
     "Sit the fuck down, Staff Sergeant," Hawkins spoke a little harsher.
     I didn't. Instead, I walked up to his desk and picked up a cute little American flag out of its little holder and started waving it around - slowly, like a parade marcher.
     "How long are we going to keep this up?" I asked him.
     "You still have ten fingers, Staff Sergeant. And toes."
     "Call me Brooklyn, and I'll call you Dick," I replied.
     "Your impertinence might amuze others-" Hawkins began.
     "Why do you have so many fucking flags?" I interrupted him. I began counting how many American flags there were in this room. Compensation for an empty pit where his heart should have been, probably.
     "-but I am not known for my sense of humor," Hawkins sighed.
     "No way," I thrusted deadpan at him.
     Twelve. There were twelve flags in that room, and it wasn't even his permanent office.
     "What do you know about gangs, Parker?"
     "I think I've been too preoccupied with the task of putting genocidal world leaders in the ground these past few months that I've been quite behind on the light reading. What do I know about gangs? Nothing," I said.
     I felt the air disturbed behind me as his shadow fell over my vision. I did not turn around. He put one of his cold hands on my shoulder, and leaned his face next to my ear.
     "On the contrary, Parker," he whispered.
     As he walked around into my field of vision, he ran his index finger lightly along his polished desk, his other hand now holding a glass of bourbon.
     "You're already a member of one of the largest gangs in the world! On the planet, even." He sat down in the studded leather highback swivel chair behind his desk.
     "Am I?"
     "The United States Army, Parker. Because everyone in the world knows that it's the best in the world, and everyone knows what it means to mess with the best. You're just a hoodlum without the hood, aren't you?"
     It wasn't a question.
     "You're here for answers, aren't you?" he asked.
     "Either that or absolution. Both would work fine for me."
     "I'm not the bad guy here."
     This was marked by a long sip of his bourbon. He kicked his feet out and leaned them on his desk.
     "No? Your little marauding band of fuckholes out there have killed everyone who's gotten in their way, and if it weren't for dumb luck, I'd be dental records right now. What secret could be so damn important that you'd give the Hun himself permission to kill without consequence? You're not much different than these sons of bitches I've been two-stepping with out in Afghanistan, Sir."
     "You have no idea what wars are fought in the shadows of good and evil, Parker!" he boomed, like thunder.
     "All of you fucking people and your delusions of grandeur! No secret is worth this. Nothing is worth this."
     "You still don't know anything, do you?"
     He just sat there with that fucking politician's smirk on his face.
     "Then explain it to me! Tell me what the FUCK is going on!" I seethed.
     "Then what the fuck am I doing here?"