Book Publishing

Sea Script Company, Literary Agent

Sea Script Company occasionally “packages” and acts as literary agent for those fiction manuscripts we receive that we think exceptional and deserving of a broader market. 

Quinn Reaper and The Harry Baxter Series are two of those available for book and/or film rights. 

It's "Meet Joe Black" meets Dorothy Parker!

Quinn Reaper

This intelligent, pitch-perfect love story provides a delightfully witty look at the countdown of a snarky 24-year-old’s life as she strikes a deal with death that uncovers her past and upends the remainder of the life she has left. 


Title: Quinn Reaper

Author: Jill Sikes’ debut novel. Jill has finished her second novel and is working on her third.

Genre: Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Dark Comedy, Drama, Afterlife

Word count: 86,992


Synopsis:

Armed with caustic wit and “Resting Doll Face,” 24-year-old Quinn grapples her way through life, selling her used underwear online to keep a near-condemned roof over her head. She escaped her past once before, but when a home intruder arrives to escort her spirit to the hereafter, running isn’t an option.


His brooding face slips into a frown as the playfulness leaves his voice, "Unfortunately for you, I’m the other one of life’s certainties.”


Life’s certainties. 


Taxes and…what? Something…and taxes. There’s got to be a better saying than the one that comes to mind. Puppies and taxes. Or chocolate truffles and taxes, maybe. 


Scheduled for a fatal brain aneurysm in eleven minutes, Quinn strikes a desperate deal. Milo, her assigned reaper, will postpone her death by using his accrued time off for an impromptu vacation among the living. Quinn, in exchange, will replace his retired partner when her nine-day extension is up.


Quinn has one goal for the dwindling remainder of her life: To torment the man who’s stolen her future.


Their contract guarantees Milo a trip to his hometown, forcing Quinn to wage war in the back seat of a Prius as they hitch a ride with Quinn’s ghost-hunting ex-boyfriend, Paul, and her self-proclaimed best friend, Lexa.


Counting down to her extinction through a cavalcade of haunted hotels and roadside attractions, Quinn wrestles with memories of a life she fled years ago. She struggles to accept her own mortality while fighting a deepening attraction to the man who’s there to collect her life. 


When an unforeseen detour forces Quinn to confront the trauma of her past, she’s forced to make the second-biggest decision of her life: Whether to remain entrenched with her demons or atone for her most damning mistake.

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A Fascinating Series of Spy Novels Available for Acquisition

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The Harry Baxter Series

Available for Acquisition, Book and/or Film

"I see that Covert Lies was both the finale of Overt Lies and the preparation for Cyber Lies. I was impressed by the depth of your detailed knowledge of places and processes, of trade craft, and of the evolving challenges to the intelligence community. . .I could not have written it and I have more than a passing familiarity with the subjects and worlds Harry—and the author—inhabited." 

—John A. Shaw, Former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense 


Three books of international espionage written by a man intimately familiar with the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). Reading like a cross between intelligence briefs and novels, The Harry Baxter Series gives readers a fascinating inside look at clandestine operations in response to actual geo-political events.

 

Series Description: The series consists of three novels: Overt Lies, Covert Lies, and Cyber Lies. All three books are written. The author is currently writing the fourth.


It's an impossible-to-put-down series of thrillers that reads like current intelligence briefs. The evolution begins with bombings/Jihadists (Overt Lies), moves to terror attacks/Hezbollah (Covert Lies), and ends with cyber warfare/Russia, China (Cyber Lies).


The books in the series involve international intelligence agencies: MI6/MI5 (UK), Mossad (Israel), DGSE (France), CIA (U.S.), GRU/FSB/SVR (Russia), MSS (China), each book featuring an evolving set of players. 


Locations in the books: 

§ Overt Lies- UK, Middle East/Gulf, Eastern Europe

§ Covert Lies- UK, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria

§ Cyber Lies- UK, Russia, China, Europe 


Book 1

Title: Overt Lies by John Henry Bennett, first book in The Harry Baxter Series

Word count: 96,000

Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense. The series falls under the heading of “FACTION,” fiction set in current events.


Overt Lies Synopsis: 

BUNCEFIELD OIL TERMINAL DISASTER, 11TH DECEMBER 2005

[Actual event, BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-34919922 ]


It was described as the largest explosion on English soil since World War II. Over the following twelve months, investigations led by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that it was an “accident” caused by overfilling.


It’s unusual that it took twelve months to come to that conclusion. 


What if it hadn’t been an accident?


MI6 operative Harry Baxter is called back from holiday to investigate whether the explosion at Buncefield was an accident or deliberate. If deliberate, was it home-grown or an act of international terrorism? 


Overt Lies follows international intelligence agencies—MI6, MI5, Mossad, DGSE, CIA—as they determine the source and unwind the mystery of who bombed Buncefield Terminal. Will the perpetrators strike again? 


Following the Buncefield attack, Jihadists move their operations to the Gulf as security is tightened in the UK. They regroup, plan and solicit funding before returning to London to set up an attack on the heart of British democracy. But the leaders discover that the scent of money overpowers their faith as they solicit Eastern European interests to supply the nuclear materials they need.


UK intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 combine forces to thwart the attacks, consistently one step behind, desperate for intel and fearful for public safety. Hostages are taken by both sides leading to a critical final standoff as the third attack is mounted in London. UK Security Services employ unconventional methods to resolve the nightmare scenario. 


Interwoven with the suspense is political intrigue involving Ministers with axes to grind and a slowly developing relationship between Harry Baxter and a sleeper Mossad operative working as one Minister’s PA (and lover). Their relationship continues to evolve through the series, as does Harry’s relationships with various agents in the international intelligence agencies.


Excerpt

Pall Mall, London

The Pall Mall sewer is part of the London water main system extending from Pall Mall, down Whitehall, past the Palace of Westminster to link with piping running alongside the Thames. Below London, at a depth between twelve to fifteen feet, the self-propelled “pig” traveled slowly and silently along the pipe at about fifty yards per hour. It had been calculated to arrive close to the Houses of Parliament at 1515hrs.

  

London Evening Standard Office

A Press Release contained in a sealed envelope sits on a junior editor’s desk at the London Evening Standard. The envelope has a large label on the front stating: 


Not to be opened until 1530hrs Tuesday, 14th March 2006


The “dirty” bomb would cause considerable damage, both physical and by contamination. Public fear would be contagious. 

Meanwhile, in downtown London inside the slowly moving pig, the timing device glowed in the dark:


O hours, 59 sec. . .58. . .57. . .56. . .55. . .54. . .


Synopsis Book 2 (Covert Lies) and Book 3 (Cyber Lies)

Covert Lies: Covert Lies picks up where Overt Lies leaves off, resolving a terrorist attack at the center of British Government. Harry Baxter is then posted to the British High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, where local and international political intrigue hold center stage with international terrorism. 


A maelstrom within Lebanon with a Hezbollah attack on the Israeli border result in counter attacks and the exodus of Embassy staff to Syria.


Harry continues his long-distance relationship with Anna, the Mossad agent, adding personal complexity to dangerous operations in Europe and the Middle East.


Cyber Lies: Harry Baxter returns from Pakistan to MI6, Vauxhall Cross to collaborate with MI5 as they desperately track both Russian and Chinese agents within the UK who are penetrating the major energy companies, detouring gas routing from Europe, and sabotaging power generation with the potential of turning out the lights throughout Britain.


Concurrently, Bratva, the Russian Mafia, is planning a multi-billion-dollar heist on the Energy Futures Markets around the world.


As tensions build, the matrix of complexity resembles a game of three-dimensional chess as internal competition within the foreign intelligence communities creating a further level of risk in an already high-stakes game.


Series Timeliness: Bennett describes, in some detail, global threats and activities in his books before they became generally known to the public. The first book, Overt Lies, was written in 2011/2012; the second, Covert Lies, was written in 2014/2015; and the third, Cyber Lies, was written in 2016/2017. 


Actual Government Responses 2018: 


§ UK beefing up specialist units to counter dirty bomb threats.

§ NATO official advises Britain to employ 50,000 cyber specialists to counter Russian hacking, which took place during the 2016 UK Referendum that resulted in Brexit, as well as the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election that resulted in Donald Trump. As we’re all aware, current activity (2018) by both Russian and Chinese Security Services includes major hacking of energy networks, election voting systems, UK and U.S. government departments and social media networks. Chinese State hacking is in all probability at a higher level than Russian, but is lower profile.

§ Chinese State Security cyber warfare expert, tasked with intelligence gathering in the U.S., arrested for insertion of rogue chips in many U.S. energy companies and government departments.

§ The head of MI6 has warned that while Russia poses a clear and present threat to Britain and the West, China’s dominance of emerging technologies presents a greater risk to security in the future. “Basically, power, money and politics are going east, that’s the political reality we need to adjust to,” said Alex Younger. “This is something we really need to talk about, the future of knowledge is in play.”


Author: John Halfnight was commissioned in the Corps of Royal Engineers and spent his early years serving in the British Army in the Middle East, which was followed by a service career in the UK, France, the Middle East and the Gulf. From his various bases in London, Paris, Doha Qatar, Dubai UAE and Jeddah KSA, he travelled extensively to Eastern Europe, Hungary, Russia, North America, Africa, Asia (including India and Pakistan), China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.


Halfnight currently lives in the UK and consults with foreign corporations.


Reviews:

" . . . the pace of this well written book conspired to make it a good experience. There was an authenticity in the descriptions of the underworld of plot and counter plot, in all its diverse settings, which added to the credibility of the story as it unfolded. The structure of the story as a series of disparate scenes showed ingenuity and skill. The very act, when reading, of moving from one geographical area to another, gives a fast-moving edge to the book. This is an enjoyable book which could easily be exploited in film.

—Dr. Anne Caldwell

***

Just finished Cyber Lies [third ms. in the Harry Baxter Series]. Beautiful pacing and marvelous build-up of momentum in the last quarter of the book. I had been afraid you were going to kill off Anna before the end; they both knew how unlikely it was that they could live happily ever after. And Harry’s response to everything was just right. Liked the touch of the new organization and the retired Deputy becoming the link to Harry’s new life. 


Harry has none of the cynicism of le Carre’s operational people like Sean Leamas or silly bravado of a James Bond. George Smiley was le Carre’s best creation because he had transcended all the operational stuff and was focused on his complex personal role in the Circus and his duel with Carla and the changing world of intelligence.  


Finally see the idea behind the series. Covert Lies was both the finale ofOvert Lies and the preparation for Cyber Lies. I was impressed by the depth of your detailed knowledge of places and processes, and of tradecraft and the evolving challenges to the intelligence community. How much worse it has become since 2007! 


I could not have written it and I have more than a passing familiarity with the subjects and worlds Harry—and the author—inhabited. Had the sense that Harry’s new venture was a partial embodiment of James’s Mercury vision! Well done! 

Jack Shaw

Former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

 ***

Overt Lies is the first in a trilogy about an actual event delivered in an exciting, readable, and suspenseful novel format. This new author has penned a well-written story with all of the requisite twists, turns, and reverses employed by more well-known novelists like W. E. B. Griffin and Daniel Silvia. Overt Liesemploys excellent character development, deep knowledge of the petroleum industry, and an unusual understanding of the workings and interconnections of the British Government Ministries to tell a spell binding tale of international intrigue and terrorism.

Covert Lies is fast-paced, anti-terrorism action. The second in a trilogy about chasing terrorists about the world, in which the author demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of dynamics in Middle Eastern fanatics, Western spy agencies, and not-so-transparent diplomacy using very credible personalities in very human relationships. A must read for lovers of current-era spy novels!

Cyber Lies reflects this new spy novelist’s talent. The latest volume in an exciting trilogy of novels about the attempted thwarting of a series of well-organized and ingenious terrorist attacks involving an international cadre of agencies and ministries with well-developed characters. The trilogy plots and sub-plots, characters, accuracy of connections and alliances, and national policy decisions are evocative of the well-established spy novelists like W. E. B. Griffin and Daniel Silva.

Robert Kenyon III

***

Overt Lies, Covert Lies Is John Henry Bennett the lineal successor to Ian Fleming or John le Carré? For anyone with a taste for up-to-date renditions of the world of British intelligence and its interaction with the thrust of Middle East Islamic terrorism, this is one of the best novels yet to appear. The pseudonymous author looks to have had a long career immersed in this world as he is pitch perfect both on the Whitehall culture, the culture of the Islamic crusade against the West, and all the minutiae of weapons systems, logistics, and the interaction between the various intelligence services and their common enemy.


As a result, we are treated to a believable and compelling plot which reflects the ongoing challenges the UK and the West face. It is particularly good on the ambivalence between the competing elements of HMG, MI6, MI5, and the FCO in dealing with each other and their common problems, as well as the carryover and resolution of some of those tensions through Harry Baxter, the central character's relations with the Israeli, French, American, and Pakistani intelligence agencies and establishments.


Covert Lies is a compelling follow up on Bennett's first volume, Overt Lies, and provides the details of the finale of the plot developed in it which offsets the frustration that the prelude left with his readers as a bomb ratcheted toward Parliament in a sewer pipe with minutes until detonation! The two tomes together provide a compelling insight into the details and difficulties in dealing with international terrorism in the 21st century in a fast moving, well-written, and thoroughly accurate way. Together they deserve to be republished and given greater publicity than they have thus far received.


And for those of us who have come to follow Harry Baxter and his cohorts the way we followed Patrick O'Brian and Alexander Kent's 18th century naval stories, they will be happy to hear that a third volume is in process.


The series could be said to be a latter-day James Bond endeavor, but Harry Baxter has not yet acquired the flashy veneer that Ian Fleming's character acquired over the years, and Bennett does not try to invest Baxter with Bond's sense of sophistication and superiority. This is better than John le Carré, as Harry Baxter's cynicism is portrayed much more lightly than George Smiley's: The Cold War. It’s a very different generation and institutional development is required to deal with the evolving but greater challenges. Perhaps Harry Baxter will become the 21st century James Bond!

John Arthur