Black Harvest – A Project Novel – Alex Lukeman
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
Three world experts on crop disease discover a secret from the time of Alexander the Great and are brutally murdered…
A centuries old conspiracy plots to destroy much of the world’s food supply as part of a plan for world domination…
The PROJECT team must stop a traitor and prevent a world-wide disaster…
The hunt for answers leads Nick Carter and Selena Connor to Greece, Bulgaria and the United States. In a series of life and death confrontations they encounter unlikely allies, an ancient legacy of bio-warfare and a cover up with ominous implications for freedom.
James Campbell is a world expert in crop viruses. He discovers nine clay tablets from ancient Persia containing a clue to the location of a golden urn marked with the curse of a Greek goddess, part of treasure seized by Alexander the Great during the fall of Babylon. Then he’s horribly murdered, along with two of his colleagues. Campbell has been working on a secret bio-warfare program for the Pentagon. The murders get the attention of Elizabeth Harker, Director of a covert intelligence unit called the Project.
Nick Carter is Harker’s team leader. He struggles with old injuries and PTSD from his years as a combat Marine. He’s deeply conflicted about his lover and teammate, Selena Connor. Selena has been with the Project for less than a year. She’s having a hard time dealing with the mayhem that goes with her job and her feelings about Nick.
Nick and Selena follow a bloody trail through Greece, Bulgaria and America, uncovering a heartless plan to destroy half the world’s food supply, part of a strategy by a centuries-old conspiracy to achieve world domination. It will kill millions if it succeeds and time’s running out–it’s set to happen soon.
Harker is forced to make an unheard of alliance to try and stop the plot and avoid possible war with Russia. All the while, a high-placed traitor does his best to sabotage the Project at every turn. The surprise ending foreshadows the next book in the series.
BLACK HARVEST is a contemporary international thriller of intrigue, patriotism, romance and treachery.
Review by Gloria Lakritz/She Said:
Sr Member and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
This is the fourth book in Alex Lukeman’s fabulous Project Series. The Project is a very small group of dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line for only one thing: Protecting America. Their leader, Elizabeth Harker, has ‘the ear’ of the President, and she works her ‘Team” outside the reach of the CIA, FBI and any other government agency. They are a covert Presidential counter-terrorism unit. They stand alone and will die alone if ever caught.
Stephanie Willits is Elizabeth’s assistant, who can hack in to any computer program, even The Pentagon is not safe from her keen mind and nimble fingers. Nick Carter, a former recon Marine, heads the team. Ronnie Peete, also ex military, is an American Indian, Lamont (the shadow) Cameron, is ex Navy Seal, and lastly, Selena Connors.
We met Selena in our first book, White Jade, a young socialite whose rich Uncle was killed during that story. Selena’s talents make her able to read and speak many languages, including old dead languages. She can jump from a plane, has been trained in martial arts, and can dive to depths like a pro. Being wealthy had gained her the ability to learn many things in life, all that money could buy. She has now become quite an asset to the team, and the relationship she is forming with Nick Carter.
We now also have Lucas Monroe, who joined at the end of our last book. He is there to help the team watch, as he is CIA. Stephanie and his eyes met in The Seventh Pillar and sparks flew. I was interested to see what was going on with our “gang” in Black Harvest.
Alex Lukeman never ceases to amaze me. His newest storyline was brilliant. There have been 3 men killed. Each worked in different government departments that had to do with food supply. James Campbell worked for the CDC and was researching tablets from the time of Alexander the Great for clues to ancient famines. He sent message to Kevin McCullough and Arnold Weinstein, with some information and a note to ‘be careful’. Selena and Nick went to meet with Kevin at his offices. The information was in an old language that Selena took to translate. Upon returning to their car, the entire floor of Kevin’s office building exploded. Arnold Weinstein had a car bomb waiting for him as well. Nick’s ear began to itch.
We have been all over the world in these stories, and this book is not any different, In Black Harvest we are in Greece and in Bulgaria with the team all looking for clues to solve this mystery. We learn The Project is becoming well known now in many quarters both good and bad. A Russian mobster becomes involved in this, setting us up for meeting the head of the SVR, the Russian equivalent of the Project. Its head sends Major Arkady Korov to intercede on their behalf. Korov is to take out the Russian mobster Gelashvili, and any others; all are disposable. Korov comes to Greece and becomes an unlikely ally to our team when he is given orders to help The Project members.
This is where Alex Lukeman is at his best. He is a chess master moving his men all around the board, or for him, the globe. Our small band becomes larger as Lucas joins us to help with an abduction of one of the team members. His C.I A knowledge helps the cause. The respect the Americans show the Russian Korov surprises him and he is also becomes an integral member of the team. What the team must do to thwart this threat astounds the Russians, when the Project Members learn a top member in the American government is on the wrong side and he is taken out! Our author brings up the name AEON. We have met their fringe before, with the Hitler followers. Now we might have met another fringe. Who are these men from every country who want the Power of the world?
After you can take a breather, the pictures in your head reeling, like a motion picture, Mr. Lukeman humanizes us, by getting back to the relationship growing between Selena and Nick. Nick struggles with his monsters and Selena is starting to have some of her own. Alex, you had me hooked from White Jade. You write well, describe beautifully and the books are action packed. I cannot wait to see what is up your sleeve next.
Review by Penelope Adams/She Said:
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
The US government has an alphabet soup of groups, all supposedly reporting to the president and all having their own agendas. The Project is not one of these, as it is set up by the President so that he would have one agency he could explicitly trust. It’s made up of well trained covert operatives, all of whom report to their director Elizabeth Harker. Elizabeth and her team are completely loyal to the President, their country and each other, not necessarily in that order.
Recently returned from their last op, Nick Carter uses a hard work out to wrestle with his personal demons and his confusion over his budding relationship with Selena Conner. He is joined by Selena, who gets a phone call from a friend, Keven McCullough, asking her to see if she can translate some pictures of cuneiform tablets. As soon as Nick and Selena get to Kevin’s office he tells them that the friend he received the pictures from, Jim Campbell, was murdered the night before.
Jim worked for the CDC and had been in Iraq researching clues to ancient famines. He sent the pictures with a message that Keven should have them translated, and to be careful. Selena translates part of the document as an inventory from the treasury of Darious III in Babylon. It tells of a golden urn filled with gold, sealed, graven with a black horse and an inscription saying the urn contains the Curse of Demeter Erinys, the Greek goddess of the harvest and was sent to someone in Greece.
Taking the copy of the document with her so she can study it, she and Nick leave as a package is delivered to Keven. As they are walking away, the sky lights up, and they are knocked from their feet with debris raining down upon their head. There has been an explosion in the building, right where Keven’s office would have been.
Back at Project headquarters, it is discovered that another man Campbell had been in contact with was killed with a car bomb. The team’s computer guru, Stephanie, manages to tap into their last phone conversation, in which Campbell discloses that the he thinks the urn might have contained spores from infected grains that caused a horrible famine. Campbell thought this could possibly be a way to find a cure for a nasty crop blight called Fusarium. Since Selena speaks Greek and is a whiz at ancient research, the director decides to send her on her first solo mission to Greece to try to find the location of the urn.
It turns out that more than one party are interested in the urn. A nasty Russian mobster named Zviad Gelashvili is determined to get his hands on it. The Russian government’s equivalent to The Project is also watching what’s going on and would love a way to take Gelashvili down. Once again the team of The Project must go against impossible odds to discover just who is behind the murders, what they are after and take them out. They may find that the enemy could very well be in their own back yard.
What can I say about Mr. Lukeman’s writing? His style is so descriptive that we hear the sound of bullets as they whiz by, we smell the musky smell of long decayed bones in an underground crypt, we feel the pain of torture, and see the sights of a small Greek village. His characters are real; we know their thoughts and feel like we are right there beside them.
The entire team of The Project is back together again, led once more with unshakable skill by Director Harkins. Nick and Selena are dealing with their relationship while both are fighting their own personal demons. Stephanie will find herself in a position of peril, and must rely not only on her training, but her own self resolve to get through. Ronnie Peete, legendary for his tracking skills in his Marine Recon unit, is back along with Lamont Cameron, who even with his arm in a cast can hold his own. The team is joined by an unlikely ally, Nick’s Russian equivalent, Arkady Korov, a walking, thinking lethal weapon.
Once again, Mr. Lukeman has transported us into his world of spies, espionage and things that go boom. If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that when I finished I felt like I had not had enough. I wanted to hold my hands out and like the fictional Oliver, beg “please sir, may I have some more”. If you enjoy a good action packed, modern drama/thriller you won’t be disappointed, except when it’s over and, like me, you are left wanting more.
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Good evening Penny. Pull up that chair…coffee is ready…and lets talk Alex Lukeman. We have both finished reading Black Harvest over the weekend, and so it is certainly fresh in our minds. All I can say, is Wow. At the Fourth Book in this series, Alex still has so many places to go, so many ideas to use. I also hope that Nick and Selena might step back and possibly return to have a normal life. I realize the adrenalin in them is pumping, but there are other positions they might find more comfortable.
Call me Pollyanna, but I just feel they will be o.k. once Selena gets a hold on her issues about what she is becoming, and once Nick gets off the pot and realizes she isn’t going anywhere. Mr. Lukeman certainly knows how to twist a good tale. I sometimes wonder what it must look like inside his head. He left me with lots of questions with this one. I keep trying to figure out who is Adam? My gut tells me we have met him.
I am assuming you are correct about about knowing Adam, because he uses a voice changer…and I too guess we will be seeing more of him. I also feel with the new Russian/American gang we might be seeing Arkady Karov too. The guys really got along with him, and they all respected the hell out of each other. They will have to flesh out all the members of AEON and I do not think that task will be easy. These enemies and their rich families have handed down that gauntlet of ruling the world for eons. I cannot wish enough that Selena and Nick fix what is broken. I THINK Nick made a break through emotionally, when he realized his fear is not losing Selena as much as his fear that if something happened to him she would become him, as he is now…and he did not want to do that to her.
I’m hoping we see more of Arkady, he kind of grew on me and the book progressed. I’m all about the slightly dangerous man. I worry though, since American/Russian relations can change on a daily basis, he might be ordered to come after them. So many possibilities in this series, that it boggles the mind. As long as they keep coming, I’ll be a happy camper though.
Good night Gracie and don’t forget to turn off the coffee pot.
Nite George…You left cookie crumbs all over the chair…
And yes Alex…Thank you so much for the wonderful books you write!!!!
Q&A with author Alex Lukeman
- You take us all over the world in your books, are you a real world traveler or do travel just in your head?
I have been over much of the world including Greece, although I haven’t been to Bulgaria. I’ve also been to Moscow. I bring years of travel to the books. If I haven’t been somewhere, I research it thoroughly and go from there. The internet can provide endless information as wanted and I make full use of it. Same for modern weapons. I know a lot about guns and such, but not much about nuclear missiles. That’s a good thing…
- In this book we “meet” the mysterious Adam, not giving away any spoilers do you have plans for him in future books?
- I enjoyed meeting Arkady, is going to join us again?
- I keep mentioning movies…Have you sent these stories to HBO, Showtime, or any Movie Companies?
No. I wouldn’t have any idea how to go about it. I’d love to see any of these made into movies or a TV series. It’s a dream I want to see come true.
Hey Fans of The Project…Write letters, e mail people you know…We want this series on Film…If you Know anyone who could help…Contact Alex through our site…