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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib @khaledtalib

Gun Kiss
by Khaled Talib
Imajin Books


Hey all!  Come check out Khaled Talib's new thriller, GUN KISS!  An action thriller that will keep you on your heels!  Continue below for a synopsis, About the Author, Q&A (he has a cat named Fufu and has seen a great white shark!!) and an excerpt you can read before before you buy 😉.


A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

Purchase here: 

Amazon universal link: (Christmas Sale till 7, January: $1.99) 

The cabin door flung open, banging against the wall. Three assailants rushed in and began firing. More bodies fell as the projectiles chipped splinters from the wooden walls.

Blake fired back. He made every bullet count as he depleted the magazine. One of the assailants dropped forward, while the other two staggered backward and collapsed outside.

Blake fed a new magazine into the Ruger then crawled to the cabin's door and slammed it shut before rolling to the corner. From across the cabin, he checked survivors: only him and Goldie. He breathed slowly, trying to work past the tightening knot in his chest…

GUN KISS is a high-octane thriller that begins in the prologue as a Lincoln re-enactment event in Washington, D.C. and results in a hostage being taken and a bomber intent on thievery. The story heats up as a missing Deringer from The Ford Theatre Museum triggers a series of escapades and encounters around the world by disparate individuals, each with their own hidden agenda.  There is also a fierce battle against drug lords and a red-hot romance with a Hollywood starlet.

Singapore-born Khaled Talib’s third novel is a departure from his earlier two novels – Smokescreen and Incognito – which has been described as political thrillers, GUN KISS is more genre bender with intrigues and counter intrigues played out against a backdrop of the war on drugs.

The book has already won high praises from leading international authors like Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of The Rising. Land who has written 25 novels, said: “Gun Kiss is a whip smart thriller that brings to mind Don Winslow's masterful work that includes, most recently, THE FORCE.  Khaled Talib rockets to the top of the pop culture pack with a tale in which every page is chockfull of angst-riddled action and searing suspense.” 

Gayle Lynds, co-founder of the International Thriller Writers and New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins, also praised Khaled for his work. “Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib is a terrific adventure involving the FBI, drug lords, movie stars, and Russian generals.  Grab your copy, drop into your favorite reading chair, and prepare yourself for breathless suspense.” 

GUN KISS introduces protagonist Blake Deco, a former Delta Force soldier who now runs a taco restaurant in Sunset Boulevard.

Khaled took just six months to complete GUN KISS as he himself got caught up in Blake Deco’s adventure. “Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have been able to write an 80,000-word novel in such a short time. My first two novels took me a few years to complete. With GUN KISS, I was as supercharged as the book’s main character. I worked on the story every single day.  The characters, the locations, the dialogue and action had me on a high, so much so that I often had to remind myself to surface for air and food. I hope GUN KISS readers will get to feel the same high as I did and enjoy reading it as much as I did in writing the book.”

Khaled Talib is the author of two other thriller novels: Smokescreen and Incognito. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association. He is a former journalist turned public relations practitioner. To learn more about the author, please visit The rights of the author’s first two novels are represented by The Evan Marshall Agency 

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Author Q&A
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I was born in Singapore. I began my career as a staff writer for a weekly oil and gas newspaper before switching to a lifestyle magazine. I’ve worked for several magazines and ad agencies, and I also spent some years spent in Cairo, Egypt working for a current affairs magazine. When I returned to Singapore, I entered the world of public relations before staring my own agency. Journalism and press liaison work contributed slightly to my talent in fiction writing.  It taught me how to research and fact check.

Why do you write?

Answer: I’m simply responding to how my mind works. Instinct encourages me to tap my imagination. Why does an artist paint? Same thing. More importantly, I do it for the reader. Their happiness is my happiness. I love it when I get emails or tags on Facebook from readers saying how much they enjoyed reading my books.

Would you consider writing other genres like literature?

Answer:  Honestly, I have no idea what the future holds, but for now I enjoy writing novels that make people bite their finger nails and send a shiver up their spine.

Your latest thriller is about a Hollywood movie star who gets kidnapped by a drug lord. Where did you get the idea for such a story?

Answer: I knew what was going on in Hollywood before this Harvey Weinstein and the whole sexual harassment incident took place. You know, bits and pieces of news coming out from time to time. There was also the fan stalking. You read reports of how movie stars get harassed by deranged fans, so I thought this would be an interesting theme to work on.  Gun Kiss has a bit of everything, including pedophilia, especially after some actors and actresses brought it up. This is a thriller, written simply, but it features important and current issues that needs to be addressed strongly. I also raised concerns about racism as part of a subplot. I’m afraid this thing won’t go away, but at the same time, we shouldn’t turn the other cheek. On the light side, I included a cat in the story inspired by my own tuxedo cat, Fufu.

What are you interests apart from writing?

I dabble in photography and I like writing travel features. I’ve contributed to magazines, newspapers and online sites. I also enjoy watching foreign films from drama to thrillers. I also enjoy watching Hallmark Christmas movies. It’s very relaxing.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself.

I have a sweet tooth. I’ve seen a great white shark. I have guessed the names of three strangers and got all their names right. Explain that.


The tall buildings around Washington, D.C.’s 10th Street overshadowed the historic Ford’s Theatre. Though the building had undergone refurbishment both inside and out, it still seemed slightly out of place in modern America. However, that didn’t stop the throngs of tourists visiting the building that June morning as wispy clouds threaded through the cerulean sky.

It was a crowded weekend day when Abraham Lincoln, in his overcoat, and two Union soldiers, their faces covered with bandanas, stepped out of the van. They meandered past the theater’s five historic doorways toward the modern glass entrance. Everyone assumed they were part of a promotion taking place at the museum. It was not uncommon to see park rangers and tour guides dressed in period costumes.

The man behind the Lincoln mask was Rick Walker—at least, that was the name he was currently going by. Highly educated, the thirty-six-year-old professional thief had a penchant for the fast life. If the assignment was a success today, he’d promised his girlfriend a nice holiday.
Two female park rangers stepped forward when Rick and his companions reached the front of the line.

“You have to get in line, sir. Also, you need to get tickets. Kindly remove the mask and bandanas before entering,” one of the park rangers said. 

“I do apologize, madam, but I’m in a bit of a hurry,” Rick said. “I don’t think I need a ticket, nor do I have to get in line given who I am.”

“That’s the only way you’re going to get in,” the park ranger said.

 “Well, if you insist, madam, and once again, please accept my apologies.” Rick bowed and tipped his hat, then extended a hand to the park ranger, who instinctively took it.

Rick grabbed her wrist tightly and locked it to his own with a steel cuff.

“What are you doing?” the park ranger yelled, trying to jerk her hand away.

“Getting acquainted,” Rick said.

The park ranger reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to her belt, but Rick snatched it away from her. Frantically, she turned to the other park ranger. “Get security!”

One of the two Union soldiers dropped his prop rifle and grabbed the other park ranger’s hand, then cuffed her wrist to his own. He pulled out a real gun tucked under his waistband and aimed it at her.

Rick unbuttoned the jacket of his three-piece suit and brandished the bomb strapped to his chest.

 “Bomb! Bomb!” a young teenager in the line shrieked.

Pandemonium broke out as the screams of panic amplified. People ran in every direction. Those who moved slowly were slammed aside, or knocked over.

Rick pulled the ranger cuffed to him aside. “We’re going downstairs, and we’re going to take the Deringer. Obey your president,” he said in a hollow voice.

“Yes, sir,” the park ranger said as beads of sweat formed on her forehead.

They descended by elevator and emptied into an interactive museum. The wealth of history in the dimly lit space featured original artifacts in glass showcases, furniture, statues, murals, and narrative devices. The visitors already in the museum scattered wildly at the sight of a man in a Lincoln mask displaying a bomb strapped to his chest, a park ranger cuffed to his wrist.

“Show’s over, folks,” Rick yelled. “Go!”

The park ranger guided her captors to a section in the museum where the Deringer floated in an oblong glass case capped at both ends with wood. A mural behind it depicted John Wilkes Booth firing a single shot at Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the theater box.

The Union soldier not cuffed to a park ranger took out a glasscutter from his coat pocket and began to cut a circle in the glass. When it popped free, he inserted his hand inside and yanked out the Deringer.

“We’re going to take you with us. Don’t give me trouble. If you behave, you’ll be back home in time for dinner with the family,” Rick said, dragging the park ranger closer to him. “Understand?”

The park ranger nodded once, nervously.

 “Excellent,” Rick said.

They exited through the theater’s main door and stepped out into the empty street. The crowd had dispersed. Some had regrouped tensely a few hundred meters away at both ends. “Cheer up—it’s going to be a fun day,” Rick said, walking toward the van.

 The park ranger with Rick raised her voice. “Please, please, let us go. I don’t want to die.”

“Well, behave and everything will be fine.”  He opened the side, forced her in and jumped in after her. He shut the door after the accomplice had climbed in with the second park ranger. 

The van began to move off.

“Hallelujah!” Rick yelled in excitement behind the mask as he sat at the back of the van.  He removed the cuff from his wrist and secured the park ranger onto a railing.

“We’ll be arriving in five,” the driver said after a few blocks. “You know what to do.”

“I sure do,” Rick said as he removed the bomb strapped to his chest. Still wearing the mask, he looked at the hostages. “Don’t worry about the bomb, it’s fake.”

He unhooked a tote bag from the wall and began removing the contents. Facing away from the hostages, he removed the Lincoln mask and slipped into casual attire. He hid his face by putting on a red baseball cap and a pair of dark shades then stuffed the costume into the bag and swung it over his shoulder.

Rick looked again at the park rangers. “Look on the bright side—now you get to tell visitors a different story at the museum.”

The Union soldier in the back with him handed over the Deringer, which Rick slipped into the bag.
The driver slowed down and stopped behind a parked car.

“All good outside?” Rick asked.

“Yeah…all good. I parked a few cars behind us,” the driver replied, looking at the side mirror.
“Okay. Nice doing business with you guys.” Rick pulled open a trapdoor in the center of the floorboard, slid out, and slithered under the parked car in front of the van.

The van pulled away from the curb and sped down the street. After a minute, Rick rolled onto the road, got up, and walked toward the park at Judiciary Square on the Red Line and descended into the Metro.

A day later, Rick sat at a café with his eyes glued to the screen of a laptop, drinking a hot latte with his back against the wall. He scanned the faces of everyone who entered. Though he wasn’t expecting trouble, he remained vigilant.

“Is it in yet?” the tall blonde sitting across from him asked.

He scratched the roughness of his stubble as he continued to stare at the screen. “Not yet.”

Moments later, the figures on his account changed. A new deposit had been registered: ten million dollars.

Rick lifted his eyes. “Darling.”


“Remember, we’re in a public place, so don’t scream.”

She leaned forward. “It’s in?”

Rick wriggled his eyebrows. “Pack your bags. We’re going on a holiday, as I promised.”

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