Resound agent Don Brawn woke to find it, waiting for him, relentlessly. Where did it come from? Who was responsible? And, most importantly, why?

~ from Vindicated Echo, a Don Brawn thriller, by Cliff Knoetz

These are the kinds of questions with which I might begin the first sequel to my first Don Brawn epic, which I’ll be calling Vindicated Echo. The title in itself is highly appropriate, since the success of the first book will already be the vindication of the second, which in the metaphor is the echo in question.

Doubly appropriate opening lines, in fact, as only today I discovered, relentlessly waiting for me, a new Manila envelope containing Dan Brown’s creationist propaganda novel Angels & Demons, which I understand from a blog I read recently has been made into a film. I think I’ll hold off on starting it until I’ve gotten Cussler out of the way, though. There’s only so much one man can do at one time, and besides my ring is still tender. I’ll just add a little more from the ongoing efforts.

Brawn eyed it as he shook flakes from the box of cereal into his bowl, beside the smaller bowl of the spoon and his mug of instant black coffee. He didn’t drink percolated any more, not after the tragic events that ended his adventures with Marie-Anne almost a year ago; a candid voice that would never again be raised in laughter or desire once more. Don wiped away a tear and poured milk from the bottle.

~ from Vindicated Echo, a Don Brawn thriller, by Cliff Knoetz

I realise I really need to get the first one finished, I can’t sit on this stuff for ever.

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Decided to include an excerpt from my work on the Don Brawn opuses to lead into this, as it seemed oddly prescient in light of today’s events.

Don Brawn woke early, with a bad taste in his mouth. Not the taste of fear, which, he’d be only too willing to admit, he’d tasted many times before – but there was nothing to be ashamed of of tasting fear, as long as you swallowed it down and spat it out in contempt. No, this was some other taste… the taste of… what?

[put it here]

When Brawn got it back to the kitchen he sat it on the table, and just stared at it. Scrutinised. Assessed. Contemplated. It. What it meant, at that moment, he couldn’t say. But Don knew that that would change, in time. For good, or, for evil. One way or the other.

~ from The Candid Voice, a Don Brawn thriller, by Cliff Knoetz

I wrote that last year, and I myself don’t mind admitting that when I woke up today and went downstairs to check the post, I felt a real shiver. I found it waiting for me, sticking half out of the slot like a beige tongue lapping at the dawn: an envelope.

An manila envelope.

And that could only mean one thing: that Clive Cussler’s 2001 novel Valhalla Rising had finally arrived and was waiting for my perusing eye. Maybe he can have something to teach me, and maybe not.

So, to battle!

[also, remember to use that "beige tongue" thing in the story too!]