KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
What do you get when a visual artist and former US defense contractor heavily involved in a Presidential campaign writes a novel? A gripping thriller based on actual national events and a transformative time in our history. Please join us as we welcome Rachael L. McIntosh author of “Security Through Absurdity, Book One: Little Yellow Stickies”.
LITTLE YELLOW STICKIES
Security Through Absurdity: Book One
By Rachael L. McIntosh
“Jocelyn McLaren is a beautiful, hard working, yet naive visual artist who, through a twist of fate, ends up working for a major US defense contractor during the lead up to the Iraq war. She unknowingly witnesses and unwittingly participates in crimes that haunt her and are ultimately interlinked with the most nefarious psychopaths on the planet.
Divided into three books, SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY is the story of corporate shenanigans, an unstable home life, and a quixotic presidential campaign. These situations propel Jocelyn through a believably bizarre journey and into dangerous psychological territory. In a matrix of life threatening situations, she is forced to question the very fabric of her GenX American upbringing.
BOOK ONE: Little Yellow Stickies is the first of the SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY, series which follows the misadventures and development of the main character, Jocelyn McLaren.”
LITTLE YELLOW STICKIES
Security Through Absurdity: Book One
By Rachael L. McIntosh
[The following is copyrighted material. Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog is using it by permission of the author for promotional purposes.]
When she got to her office, the very first thing Jocelyn did, even before she took off her coat, was tape a piece of red paper to her wall. During her time off at home, she had theorized that maybe the colorlessness of the office was causing her to freak out. Of course, the lack of color paled in comparison with the fact that she was now be forced to deal with mercenaries.
The defense conglomerate that owned Jocelyn’s division had bought (retired) Four-Star Army General Claude Vaughn’s company and morphed its functions and personnel into her diminutive division, thereby growing her workload severalfold over the past few months.
General Vaughn was a highly respected figure in the United States Army, and when he retired, he started one of the first specialty government-contracting companies. The business grew and now offered not only the functions of commissary, outfitting, and shelter to the US Army, but also included specially trained former army personnel who could be shopped around to any government or concerned interest on the planet to help with waging a war, inciting a revolution, rebuilding an infrastructure after the war that they had so handily helped win, and setting up a fledgling democracy.
Jocelyn was first introduced to General Vaughn’s business via a Netscape Navigator Web search that landed her at www.thiscompanysucks.com. The site was filled with Vaughn’s disgruntled employees’ comments about pay and benefits—the usual stuff. But it was the links to the legalities of the situation in Serbia with the underage kids that some of the of employees had taken to getting their jollies off with that made Jocelyn go to Adam and ask him if it was a smart move to get involved with these people.
“This could be a PR nightmare,” she warned.
“Oh, I’m sure the boys can take care of themselves,” Adam had responded in his typical off-the-cuff way. He didn’t seem too bothered by the whole matter.
The thing that struck Jocelyn was that the parents of these girls and boys, some as young as nine, were not so much outraged that a US military-type person would have his way with their child, but that they had not been offered fair market value for their kid.
She remembered the conversation she had heard in the break room.
“Oh, it was like heaven,” one former Special Ops guy quietly gushed to a small crew gathered conspiratorially. The grown-out buzz cuts, even though officially done with their “time in the suck” and now working for one of the tendrils of the Conglomerate, still wore the colors of the army. They didn’t even seem to notice Jocelyn as they passed around the photos. “It was just weird having their mother make breakfast for me the next morning.”
That’s how war-torn and poor the places Vaughn’s company involved itself in were. And the employees of General Vaughn’s mercenary branch knew this and exploited it. The employees who had been there long enough knew there would be no consequences. This was not to say that everyone who worked for Vaughn was involved in some sort of seedy scandal. Many were military guys who honestly did not know what they might possibly do outside the scope of their military training and enjoyed the fact that they could find a good-paying job with their credentials. Of course, some were just flat-out adrenaline junkies.
Despite all the recruiting techniques playing upon emotional triggers like patriotism and proud service within the US Armed Forces, employees were merely contractors playing the centuries-old part of mercenary. They could go home to their wives puffed up with their own bravery, sense of purpose, and tax-free compensation at the end of their 365-day OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) contract. As far as Jocelyn could ascertain, it was just like an adventure getaway in which employees got paid many times more than what they had been paid while in the service.
And Adam had been right. The situation with thiscompanysucks.com never did present itself as the pimple on their complexion that Jocelyn had feared. Resolution came simply in the form of cash payouts to the affected children’s families and then, at a much higher cost, purchasing the domain name thiscompanysucks so that it would never see the illuminating glow of the Internet again.
Jocelyn knew that her coworkers were not officially in the military but in that grayish, muddy, beige area outside the reach of any international rules of engagement or US military standard of conduct. This area, otherwise known as “anything goes,” was where the phrase “war is hell” took on yet another layer of interpretation for Jocelyn, as the employees would intermittently send her clips of them gunning down “ragheads,” hoping to impress her or, in their own confused way, thinking that it might somehow be helpful in the media outreach effort.
These e-mails, with the attached videos, had caused Jocelyn to complain. She didn’t want to see that. It wasn’t cool watching some poor guy running for his life across a pixilated black-and-white street and having his head instantly explode like a watermelon accidentally dropped off a kitchen counter. Unfortunately for her, when she went to submit her official request that she not be on the recipient list for these e-mails, the person she was handing her paperwork to was so distracted as he visually devoured the latest “must watch” clip of a beheading that was currently being passed around the office that he just told her to put it in his inbox on his desk. “Okay, Joss, I’ll take care of it. But remember, war is hell, baby.”
Recognizing “war is hell” as a standard response to just about anything, she became desensitized to it and just stopped asking if a war had actually been declared in any of these “hot spots” she was monitoring. And it was around this time something funny started to happen. As there was no point of reference in terms of right or wrong in her daily environment, Jocelyn started to literally see things in terms of the beige area. She would walk into work and feel almost numb at the colorlessness of the place. It was just so incredibly beige. The walls, the rug, the desks. Beige. It made her almost want to cry—but of course, she never did.
So today, she had decided that she was going to do something to fix that. She stood back to appreciate the red, six-by-eight-inch, torn and wrinkled strip of wrapping paper in front of her. At once it took on some sort of minimalist/dada quality. As she continued to study it, she took off her coat. The little arbitrary punctuation mark of red looked good floating on a sea of Navaho Bone. She liked it! It was staying.
Rachael McIntosh attended Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Hartford, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has extensive experience teaching and consulting in the New England area. Rachael has a strong background in fine art, marketing (traditional and guerrilla) , and non-profit administration.
She is an Elected Artist Member of the Norwich Arts Council, a Yale Art School Fellowship nominee as well as Fulbright Grant nominee (as selected by MassArt), and has received many scholarships, grants, and awards. Her most recent juried shows include the Fidelity Investments Invitational at the Providence Art Club, Mystic Art Association, Yale University, the Norwich Arts Council Gallery, and the Newport Art Museum.
For six years Ms. McIntosh worked as a Marketing Communications Specialist at one of the nations largest defense contractors.
Currently Ms. McIntosh is writing novels based upon her real life experiences working for a major US Defense Contractor and her involvement with a US Presidential Campaign. The first novel in the trilogy, SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY book one: Little Yellow Stickies, is available on Amazon and local book stores. http://www.amazon.com/dp/149173311X
Links to Rachael’s website, blog, books, etc.
(psssst….don’t forget the second L because otherwise you’ll end up some female athlete’s site)
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Rachael is giving away a signed hard cover copy of LITTLE YELLOW STICKIES to one lucky reader who comments on her Monday Interview or Wednesday Book Bench blog. Don’t miss this chance to read the first book in Rachael’s Security Through Absurdity series. Thanks, Rachael, for sharing your new release with us!