Members of the elite U.S. Army Delta Force don’t desert.
But three years ago, while stationed with a small team at a remote combat outpost in Afghanistan, Delta Force Captain Kyle Mercer simply walked away.
Two years and nine months ago came a hostage video of Mercer – sunken cheeks, hollowed eyes – kneeling in the dirt in front of five Taliban fighters.
Eight months ago came a video of a Afghan encampment: A man cuts off another man’s head and drives that head into a pike staked in the sand. Then the man crouches into the camera’s frame. It’s Kyle Mercer, his face gaunt and bloody. He declares, “I hereby resign my commission as an officer in the United States Army.”
Here, Chief Warrant Officer Scott Brodie and his new partner, Warrant Officer Maggie Taylor – both of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division – are summoned before a major general. Shown that second video, they are told:
- On pikes around that encampment, a U.S. SEAL team found a total of five heads, apparently all Taliban.
- Three days ago, Kyle Mercer was spotted in Caracas, Venezuela.
- You – Brodie and Taylor – are to find Mercer, snatch him and bring him back the States to face court martial.
The major general accurately calls Mercer’s hiding place “the murder capital of the world.”
So that’s their mission. Clear enough. But some things aren’t clear. As Brodie and Taylor drive to interview the man who spotted Mercer in Caracas, they chew it over:
“What thrives in chaos?” asked Brodie.
“Crime,” replied Taylor. “Criminals and fugitives.”
“Is that why Mercer went to Venezuela?”
“That could be one reason. But not a good one.”
“Right. Why do most soldiers desert?”
“To avoid the rigors of military service. Including the risk of death.”
“Is that why Captain Kyle Mercer deserted?”
“I doubt it.”
It gets no clearer. After they interview the man who says he spotted Mercer, Maggie Taylor says, “So he spotted a bearded white guy in a dimly lit whorehouse while drunk. Great I.D.”
And Brodie thinks, sure, there were times when your sole witness was shit and unreliable. But Kyle Mercer was out there, a fugitive with lethal skills. You had to run down every lead, even if it took you to hell…or Caracas.
But neither Brodie nor Taylor can imagine the hell they are plunging into.
It’s a hell made hotter by Maggie Taylor’s inexperience, by the undeniable chemistry between her and Brodie, and by Brodie’s suspicion that she is reporting to the CIA.
Among the things they don’t know…but will find out in Venezuela:
The U.S. Army’s most notorious and dangerous deserter, Captain Kyle Mercer wanted payback for his two years in Taliban hell.
Promising Mercer that payback, a U.S. Army colonel recruited him into a treasonous plan against the United States, a plan for which Mercer went into the Venezuelan jungle and recruited his own Delta Force.
Now that rogue colonel doesn’t want Mercer snatched and brought back to the States to testify.
How far will the colonel go to stop Brodie and Taylor? How far will they go? How far will Mercer go?
From the book’s very first scene to its last, The Deserter delivers pulse-pounding action.
It has ripped-from-the-headlines appeal with jolts that no headline writer could imagine.
It’s set in exotic and perilous locales – Caracas and the Venezuelan jungle – where the greatest peril lies in the darkness of the human jungle.
It has the hairpin twists and inimitable humor that are the signature of #1 New York Times bestseller Nelson DeMille.
And it has DeMille’s knowing depiction of professionals who are cold-eyed and cold-blooded:
Killing civilians? The rogue colonel says, “It’s gotta get done from time to time. Like mowing the lawn.”
The only constants in war? Kyle Mercer thinks, a lot of people will die and nothing will turn out how you planned.
Embracing war? Scott Brodie thinks, some men do it the way some men embrace a woman who they know has killed her past lovers. It’s an incredible high if you survive.
Certainly nothing turns out as Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor planned – but for the reader it’s an incredible ride. The first in a timely and thrilling new series from the DeMille father-and-son team, The Deserter thrives in chaos…and, out of it, brings a stunning order.
The Deserter is now available.
Nelson DeMille is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels, six of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. His novels include The Deserter, (written with Alex DeMille), The Cuban Affair, Radiant Angel, Plum Island, The Charm School, The Gold Coast, and The General’s Daughter, which was made into a major motion picture starring John Travolta and Madeleine Stowe. He has written short stories, book reviews, and articles for magazines and newspapers. Nelson DeMille is a combat-decorated U.S. Army veteran, a member of Mensa, Poets & Writers, and the Authors Guild, and a member and past president of the Mystery Writers of America. He is also a member of the International Thriller Writers, who honored him as 2015 Thriller Master of the Year. He lives on Long Island with his family. Find out more at his website.
Alex DeMille is a writer, director and film editor. He grew up on Long Island and received a BA from Yale University and an MFA in film directing from UCLA. He has won multiple awards and fellowships for his screenplays and films, including The Absence, which was named Best Film at Comic-Con in 2012. He has edited numerous commercials, shorts, and independent feature films, among them My Nephew Emmett, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2018. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. The Deserter is his debut novel. Find out more at his website.