After the rousing discussion yesterday about tough women characters in thrillers, I was inspired to finish the book trailer for The Body Market. Using the pre-order capability actually got me to prepare ahead of time for the launch–usually I publish as soon as the book’s ready and then end up playing catchup with everything else. Which works in its own way, I guess.
And no, I’m not the most organized (or patient) individual. Thanks for asking😀
Anyway, here’s the trailer (an excerpt from the book is below):
LEINE BASSO CROUCHED in the shadows next to the hulking metal shipping container. The odor of oil mixed with hydraulic fluid and diesel clashed with the briny sea air. Bright spotlights pierced the darkness casting a harsh yellow hue over the container yard. Leine checked her watch: eleven o’clock. Only three hours before the China Blue Star was scheduled to leave port for Hong Kong.
Three hours to find one shipping container in a massive sea of identical containers.
Lou paid off the security guard, which gave Leine only a short window to find the container before he released the dogs.
She adjusted the fit of the pack, tightening the straps so it molded to her body. She’d pared down the equipment as much as she could, but it was never enough.
C’mon, Lou. Give me some good news.
She closed her eyes and imagined the young face in the photograph. A lead from the trafficker’s hard drive had led her to a seaport currently run by cartel thugs on the west coast of Mexico. She hoped she wasn’t too late.
“Leine.” Lou’s voice came over the wireless earpiece.
“I’m here,” she replied.
“Left, three aisles, number fourteen-thirty-four-twelve.”
“Got it.” Gun drawn and keeping to the shadows, Leine moved along first one aisle, then another, searching for shipping container 143412.
There it is.
Stacked three high, the 40 foot-long steel boxes loomed above her. The one she was looking for was stacked 40 feet in the air on top of two other boxes. She moved to the end of the bottom container and reached for a handhold. Before she could grab the next one, someone seized her pack and yanked her off, slamming her back-first into the pavement. Her nine millimeter skittered across the asphalt, disappearing in the darkness between two containers. The impact took her breath away, the pain from a recent rib injury spiking through her like a spear.
Leine rolled, narrowly missing a kick to the face. She grabbed her attacker’s foot and gave it a vicious twist. The assailant corkscrewed and landed on his side with a grunt.
Ignoring the deep ache in her side and with adrenaline fueling her, she sprang to her feet and kicked the gun from his hand.
The weapon pinged off the side of the container and bounced into the shadows, out of sight. Before she could get clear, he scissored his legs and caught her at the knees. She sprawled forward.
This time she couldn’t ignore the pain.
Winded, she slid a knife free from the sheath attached to her leg. She pushed off the ground, rolling to a crouch as her opponent climbed to his feet, a knife in his hand. He lunged forward. Leine parried with a thrust to his throat. At the last second, he ducked.
They circled each other like roosters in a cockfight, both acutely aware of the weapon in their opponent’s grip. Leine feinted left and rushed forward, scoring a direct hit on the man’s shoulder, slicing through the black fabric of his shirt and drawing blood. He pivoted and came at her from the side but she rotated her torso, narrowly missing a slash to her kidney. She turned to face him as he came at her again. At the last second she stepped wide, allowing him to slip past her. Using his own momentum, she shoved him forward. He stumbled a few steps, recovered, and spun to face her.
Leine swept her arm forward in an arc and released the knife. The blade buried itself in his eye socket, a scream dying in his throat as his hand flew reflexively to his face. He collapsed to the ground as he exhaled his last breath.
“Leine. What’s going on? Are you okay?” Usually unflappable, the sharpness in Lou’s voice betrayed his concern, even over the radio.
“I’m fine.” Her hand supporting her now-throbbing rib, she leaned over the body with a grimace and extracted the knife, wiping the blade on the dead man’s shirt. The tattoos on his forearm suggested cartel affiliation. Leine doubted he was working alone. “Just some unexpected company.”
“Did you find the container?”
Leine scanned the metal boxes above her.
“I don’t have to tell you to be careful, right?”
“No, but it’s nice to know you care.”
Leine grabbed the man’s legs and gritted her teeth as she dragged the body into the dark gap between containers. She removed his transmitter, turned off the voice activation, and slid on the earpiece. She didn’t want the next gunman to come along and sound the alarm before she had a chance to subdue him. After she retrieved the weapons she checked to see that the body couldn’t be observed from the aisle. Satisfied, she walked back to container 143412.
With a quick glance to be sure the fight hadn’t attracted company, she latched onto a vertical handle at the end of the first container, wedged her toe onto a hinge, and began to climb.
As she was preparing to hoist herself up and over the top of the container, she heard movement below her and froze.
“Where are you?” the voice muttered in Spanish, clear enough for Leine to hear through the transmitter.
She craned her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of the man below her. Compact in bearing and dressed in black like the man she’d just killed, instead of a knife he carried a modified sub machine gun.
“Answer me,” he snapped into his earpiece. When he received no reply, the man stepped over the smear of blood left by his compatriot. It looked like he might continue on when he abruptly stopped. Leine held her breath. If he glanced down, he’d notice the blood. With her left foot wedged onto the barest of toeholds and gripping the top of the container with her left hand, Leine slid her gun out of its holster, ready to fire—something she was loath to do since the sound would bring others.
The man pivoted 180 degrees, scanning the area, his gun in front of him. Leine ignored the muscles screaming in her left hand as the metal cut into her flesh.
He stood still for another moment, observing his surroundings. After a few seconds, he touched his earpiece.
“He’s not here.” The person at the other end acknowledged the transmission. “I’ll keep looking,” the gunman said as he moved out of Leine’s line of sight.
She released her breath in a quiet sigh and slid the gun back into her shoulder holster. With her right hand now free, she grabbed onto the top of the container, relieving her left hand. She waited a couple of beats to make sure the gunman was clear and then pulled herself up and over.
The higher vantage point worked well to monitor the yard. When the other gunman had traveled far enough that he wouldn’t hear her, Leine shrugged out of her pack and set it aside. She stretched flat onto her belly and put her ear to the container. There was no discernible movement inside.
That didn’t mean much.
“I’m on the roof,” she said in a low voice.
“Hear anything?” Lou asked.
Leine unzipped the main compartment of the bag and pulled out a battery pack and a mini plasma cutter and placed them on the roof beside her. Next, she reached into another compartment for a fiber optic night vision camera and a collapsible light hood.
She deployed the hood and marked the area to be cut, then flipped the plasma cutter’s switch to on and adjusted the amps. Angling the tip as she cut, the small hole took only a few minutes. Turning off the cutter, she stowed it back inside the pack along with the hood.
Alert for movement on the ground below her, she activated the camera and fed the probe through the hole, watching the video feed on the small LCD monitor as she did. At first, all she could make out were the metal ribs of the container. She fed the line further into the dark interior and a moment later the camera swept past an object. Leine pulled up on the scope to get a better look. The object moved. Two tiny light circles appeared and blinked off and on.
As she angled the camera for a better view, she realized she was looking at a dark-haired girl huddled in the corner, her eyes glowing dots in the camera’s lens. Leine pulled back for a wider shot. Dozens of bodies came into focus, placed side by side on the floor of the container with no room between them. Most were lying prone—except for the young girl.
“I’ve got something,” Leine said into the mic.
Lou let out a sigh as though he’d been holding his breath.
Another girl, this one with light-colored hair, sat up and looked first at the girl in the corner and then at the camera.
Leine’s heart beat faster. From what she could tell, she matched the picture.
“Is she there?” Lou’s clipped tone gave away his anxiety.
“Yeah. I think so. And she’s not alone.”
Leine relaxed her shoulders, relief flooding through her.
“Let’s get them out of here, Lou.”