08 June, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: #Spotlight on Riz by Charlie Flowers

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - June'13 ***

Meet Riz. Riz is a "Been There Done That", a veteran of the UK jihad scene. He joined al-Qaeda as a young man, got lifted by Counter-Terrorism Command and then made an offer he couldn't refuse. Now Riz works as a contractor for the shadowy Kinetic Training Solutions Ltd. Riz's new boss is Colonel Mahoney, the man who gives him carte blanche to continue on the street. Mahoney has asked Riz to investigate disturbing new leads coming from the data on the July 7th attacks. Now all Riz has to do is to uphold his connections to his previous groups and his wayward cousin, Bang-Bang Kirpachi, keep an ear to the ground for his employers... and stay alive...

Read An Excerpt
In Rainham the party was in full swing. Holly’s mum was chuffed I’d brought her errant daughter round, and she’d got the pans out to cook for us. In Asian families, there is no escaping this. You stayed, and you ate the damn somosas.
 ‘Rizwan, pay attention beta. Watch!’
 Mrs Kirpachi rapped the back of my hand with the ladle she was holding. She was a small, pretty, birdlike lady, just like her daughter. I had to behave myself as I was now in her kitchen and thus, her domain.
 And her domain was suffused in the smell of chopped onions, garlic, curry powder, and fresh coriander from her garden.
 ‘You will learn how to make this family’s vegetable and cashew somosa recipe. Listen.’
 Her hands started moving over the ingredients. This was the bit you couldn’t get tired of, my Mum was like this too. Ingredients seemed to magic themselves into the pan for them. Mrs Kirpachi and my Mum weren’t just relatives, they hadn’t just come from the same village in Kashmir, they’d come from the same street.
 ‘Boil potatoes in water till slightly soft. You add the peas. Cook till potato has softened fully, drain and season. Heat oil in frying pan, add onions, fry till golden brown, add the spices, ginger, potato peas, cook gently, gently. Riz are you listening?’
 I was. Nowhere else to go.
 ‘Remove from heat. Slightly mash the pea and potato filling. You stir in the cumin and cashew nuts, and a handful of chopped coriander. You see? You see, beta? Easy, even for you. Ha hah.’
She tapped my cheek and went to work on the pastry.

I had homework. I borrowed Holly’s netbook, remembered that her password was “bl0odbl0odblood!”, logged into the family wifi and got online. Her netbook was a strange, customised thing- it ran Linux and she’d taped black masking tape over the net camera, as she was convinced that they could be turned on remotely by the bad guys. The Tor browser was also customised to run Firefox and the Tails encryption programme. I hated Firefox.
 I logged onto Flash Earth, typed in “Thames Barrier” and soon had myself an overhead satellite view of the barrier and the environs. Now I needed to find those red and white buildings. I swiped the touchpad and let the map roll lazily south for a bit. City airport… A13… there. That looked like it was them, three buildings, evenly spaced just on the arterial.
 OK. Now I had to get graphical. I hit ctrl/print screen and dropped the screengrab into CorelDraw. Here was where a bit of guesswork came in. I Bluetoothed the original photos over from my phone to the netbook and set them up on the right hand side of the screen. You could see the Barrier on the half-left, and those buildings on the right. So…
 In CorelDraw I drew two red lines, one down from the Barrier, and another down from the buildings, thinking of a vanishing point. The lines intersected south of the river east of Woolwich, near HMP Belmarsh. Interesting. 
 I now had a hunting ground.

 I wandered back into the kitchen and got busy chopping coriander. Mrs Kirpachi was stirring onion gravy. Apropos of nothing she asked
 ‘Beta. What is my daughter doing these days, for a job?’
 ‘Graphic design? I have no idea, Mrs Kirpachi.’
 Mrs Kirpachi turned while drying her hands and gave me a long, hard look.
 ‘Rizwan. You are family and you are meant to be looking after my daughter, who is still, in case you have forgotten, engaged to be married to you. But I get the impression that you are not looking after her. I think she is looking after you’.
 She turned away. Well that was me told.
 There were some sharp snaps, like suppressed pistol fire, from the back garden. What the hell was she up to? Mrs Kirpachi started rattling rapid-fire Urdu in the direction of whatever her miscreant daughter was doing. I walked out onto the veranda. Holly was firing an air pistol in the air and birds were scattering.
 ‘Bloody magpies. Yahan ao bhai, dekho na.’
 Come, cousin, look at this, she was saying. She took my arm and steered me to the cherry tree at the back.
 ‘See? The bird nests. The bastard magpies are after the chicks.’
 I couldn’t see a thing. I looked at the air pistol.
 ‘Is that loaded?’
 ‘Oh, no. I couldn’t actually kill a magpie. They’re such pretty birds.’
 As we stood there, some of the garden’s other wildlife returned. Order was restored. Holly linked her arm in mine and leant her head on my shoulder. Mrs Kirpachi’s garden was a work of art. Suddenly the  fattest woodpigeon I had ever seen flopped down onto the patio and began pecking at bread. We both burst into giggles.
 ‘Would you look at that thing! It’s the size of the Hindenburg!’
 The woodpigeon pecked away regardless. Mrs Kirpachi yelled at us from the kitchen.

Raves & Reviews 
A rip-roaring; peddle to the metal; roller-coaster joyride of a read, intrigue, plots, girls, guns and mayhem. Flowers knows his stuff backwards - and it shows... the attention to detail is superb! ~~ Says Tamsin on Goodreads

Gripping. A great Spy Thriller, I couldn't put it down. Some fantastic and engaging characters, and I was left wanting the next book as soon as possible, to see what happens next! ~~ Says Ruth on Goodreads

RIZ is a surreal dive into a world that exists but you possibly wouldn't want to go to. More please! ~~ Says Farzana on Goodreads

Trivia about Riz
~ The character of Holly Kirpachi is based on the French cartoon character Gaston La Gaffe. ~
~ Riz contains the first appearance in fiction of Google Layer glasses. ~
~ The portable PS2 console described on page 96 is real, but extremely rare. Only 3 or 4 people make them. ~
~ The bomb-making and disarming procedures described at the book's end are real. DON'T try them at home. ~
~ Riz's birth surname is "Haq", which is Urdu for "Truth". ~

Connect with Charlie

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Charlie has offered to giveaway 2 digital copies of the first book in The Rizwan Sabir Mystery Series, that is Riz. Enter in the rafflecopter below:

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