Author Name: Khaled Talib
Book Title: Incognito
Book Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 15, May 2017
Synopsis: Pope Gregoire XVII was last seen waving to the crowd at Saint Peter’s square from the famous Apostolic Palace window. Despite several layers of tight security, neither the Gendarmerie nor The Entity (the Vatican’s secret service) or the Swiss Guards claim to know anything about his sudden mysterious disappearance. Three mysterious specialists are dispatched by the international hacker group, Anonymous, to find him.
Excerpt: The cockroach peered into Pope Gregoire’s nostrils, its feelers twitching wildly. His nose flared in reaction, sending the creature scurrying frantically into a corner. The old man opened his left eye wider, then his right. If this was purgatory, he’d expected to see the wings of an angel, at least—not that of a filthy insect.
He felt his own heartbeat in the throb of his palm. Clearly, the Angel of Death had not visited him yet. So where was he?
Confusion swirled about his head as he tracked the smell of earth amidst concrete. He couldn’t tell whether it was day or night. The two fluorescent tubes on the ceiling manipulated the hour. There were no windows, and scarcely any air was admitted except through the slit under the metal door. He could hear nothing but his own breathing. He looked around in a daze, then dragged himself up slowly against the wall.
He saw into his blurry memory. Two black vans pulled up on a quiet street under the dark fabric of the sky. More than a dozen armed masked men in black jumped out. Bodies of his escorts, including several cardinals, members of the Swiss Guards and secret service men, began hitting the ground as muffled thumps sounded repeatedly around him. Screams and moans of pain accompanied columns of dark red blood thrown into the air.
His anxiety surged when a gunman aimed his weapon at him. First thought: Why would anyone want to harm a leader of peace, a man whose sole mission on earth is to distribute goodness and alleviate the sorrow and pain of others? Second thought: Fear. In the dark clouds of doubt, he questioned his own faith; what if he died and did not meet God? What if he had spent his entire life serving the wrong religion? Third thought: Fight back. If there was ever a time to retaliate, even if it meant killing someone, this would be the appropriate moment. Pope or no Pope, he was a human being whose life was being threatened.
About the author: Khaled is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. The author, who resides in Singapore, is a member of the UK Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers org. Find him at www.khaledtalibthriller.com