Echo Two Zero
The third Clunge novel, Echo Two Zero (1993) is set in the Bedfordshire town of Luton. Ex-SAS Sergeant Randy McKay's life is on the rocks. Two failed marriages, no work and a parking fine spinning wildly out-of-control see the former Gulf War hero being pushed to the very limit of sanity. First it's the bailiffs, but then the the police become involved... and it all goes pear shaped.
"Randolph McKay? I'm arresting you for assault, criminal damage and failure to appear in Court. You're nicked you sla..." It was as far as the copper had got before McKay's fist smashed in to his face, sending him flying across a wheelie bin. "No bastard copper's going to take me in" he hissed, before relieving the writhing policeman of his belt kit. "Hmm, GlockÂ®. That'll come in handy" cackled McKay with confidence. The local Dibble had bitten off more than they could chew this time. It was war, and they'd declared it.
McKay vaulted the neighbour's fence with athletic ease and quickly made his escape. More would come and time was of the essence. McKay stopped. "Chopper!" His training kicked in instantly. He threw himself in to the neighbour's compost heap and covered himself with the foul-smelling substance. McKay knew that his Thermal Signature would be all but impossible for the helicopter's search equipment to detect, as his body heat was masked by the rotting vegetation.
Rapidly approaching howls signalled the approach of a deadlier adversary. "Dogs!" Almost instantly, a large Alsatian appeared with its handler. The dog could sense danger and McKay knew that it had his scent. There was nothing for it. McKay leaped out of the heap like some primeval, compost-covered Earth monster, his fearsome appearance striking terror in to both man and beast alike. McKay smashed his fist in to the dog's astonished handler in a flash before dispatching the hapless creature in swift, deadly, Ninja thrusts at the creature's vital pressure points before casting it aside like a shattered toy.
The roar of rotors above alerted McKay to the chopper's return. He was dead in it's sights. McKay remembered the GlockÂ®. In a singular action, he drew the weapon from his belt, cocked it and emptied the entire magazine in to the plexiglass cabin. The startled crew tried in vain to manoeuvre the aircraft out of the line of fire, but it was too late. The chopper exploded in spectacular fashion before spiralling to the ground and smashing in to the neighbour's garage, reducing it and its contents to an inferno. McKay sneered. This was just the beginning.
There are those that would opine that (yet again) Clunge was ahead of his time with this work, highlighting, as it does, the yawning chasm that exists between the public and the police - seen by many as nothing more than bully boy Nazis with a chopper fixation.
'An utter disgrace' - Police Review
'Good drills' = Combat & Survival
'A Clunge de force' - The Sun
'Disturbing' - Aviation Weekly
'It rocks' - Kerrang