Photo: Kevin Valentine

Dominic Martell

In the late 1990s Dominic Martell wrote three novels (published first in the U.K., then in the U.S.) featuring an unusual protagonist—a repentant former terrorist from the 1980s named Pascual Rose. The sequence was not unusual; some veterans of rebellion and violence have delayed regrets. Martell wondered what made such people reverse course. The result of this musing was a somewhat older and wiser Pascual, lying low in Barcelona under a new identity, looking for ways to atone. But terrorism is a tough space to leave. In each book in the series, different parts of Pascual’s past resurface to haunt him. The original Pascual Rose titles were well-reviewed but commercially obscure. Martell moved on to other projects. In 2018, Adam Dunn, publisher of Dunn Books, contacted Martell to inquire about resuscitating Pascual. Dunn had been intrigued by the character and wondered what Pascual Rose—very much a creature of the Cold War era—would be up to now, in a chaotic new world, one shaped by new fault lines through which flow vast amounts of money (real and virtual), the technological landscape of the 21st century. Granted the rarest of gifts in the publishing world—a second chance—Martell happily shoved Pascual back into the underworld of the Mediterranean basin. Even in a chaotic new world of cybercrime, cryptocurrency, and new players jockeying for position on the world stage, certain things never change. A reluctant antihero with flexible identity and a knack for survival retains his singular allure even in an age of supreme artifice. Pascual returns, and the literary world is richer for it.

Blackchain

Anyone who knows Pascual’s real name can only bring him trouble, so he knows the American who’s just found him in a cheap Marseille bistro is going to ruin more than his lunch. The CIA needs another favor from him, but this time there’s a million-dollar paycheck. All Pascual has to do is deliver a ransom for some hacked government data. But a simple job gets a lot more complicated when the hackers get hacked. Now Pascual finds himself on the run with the cyber-thief behind $100 million in gold-backed crypto, with a slew of enemies right behind them. From the opulent hotels of Monaco to a secret prison in war-torn Yemen, Pascual has no one to trust—and is running out of time. 

Praise

“Dominic Martell’s long-awaited Kill Chain is one of those thrillers that sticks with you long after the last page is flipped.”
— Providence Journal
“A strong hero hasn’t lost his mojo in this welcome return of a thriller series.”
— Kirkus Reviews

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The Republic of Night

The sequel to Lying Crying Dying finds Pascual Rose trying to stay off the radar in Barcelona’s back alleys and bars, but to no avail. French intelligence agents find him and make him an offer he can’t refuse— identify an old Syrian comrade now working for a sinister Russian conglomerate, for a price. Reluctantly, Pascual heads to Paris, where he finds he is not the only one interested in his quarry; a lovely dissident journalist named Djemila is tailing a general from Algiers, who’s meeting with the Russians employing the Syrian target of Pascual’s handlers. Soon the pursuers become pursued in a chase across the capitals of Europe. Calling on old Israeli adversaries for help, Pascual is forced to confront unpleasant truths about his traveling companion—and trusting wrongly could get him killed. 

Praise

“Barcelona is evoked with all the atmospheric skill of Martell’s literary mentors, and this is a sharp and involving narrative, strong on both plot and characterization.”
— Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
“A thorny tale in the taut style of fifties film noir.”
— Mail On Sunday
“Endlessly convoluted, but if you’ve got a soft spot for the Byronic antihero, Pascual’s your man.”
— Kirkus Reviews

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Lying Crying Dying

In the 1980s, his youthful idealism and gift for langu-ages earned him a job as a courier for a terrorist network spread out from the Middle East across Europe. Burned out by endless betrayals and carnage, he defected to the American CIA and Israeli Mossad, selling out his former colleagues in exchange for freedom and anonymity—all save one, his old flame, the beautiful agent known only as Katixa. 

Now, after years of living hand to mouth in Barcelona’s taverns and flophouses, Pascual’s shadowy life is abruptly and brutally ended by the sudden reappearance of Katixa, on the run and desperate for a way out of Spain, with a cache of cash stolen from murderous ETA operatives. Pascual’s better judgement disappears with his safety, as he and Katixa now crisscross Spain, barely one step ahead of local police, federal intelligence agents, and ETA executioners. The only refuges for Pascual in sunny Spain are in its darkest corners, and when he realizes—too late—that everyone he knows is lying to him, the crying and the dying cannot be far behind. 

Praise

“Antiheroes by the dozen in this deft, dark tale.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“A superbly crafted story, with plenty of action, danger, and suspense.”
Booklist (starred review)

Kill Chain

Years ago, Pascual Rose put his life as a terrorist behind him. He sold out his former colleagues for a low-profile new identity in Barcelona, where he lived in quiet contentment until the night he receives an anonymous text: Come join us out on the terrace. 

It’s the opening to an offer he can’t refuse. Pascual must facilitate a complex money-laundering scheme involving German intelligence agents and Russian gangsters playing cat-and-mouse with diverted funds through a web of shell companies and cryptocurrencies. If he succeeds, he’s a million euros richer; if he fails, it will cost him his family. His only ally is a mysterious woman with a chilling warning: Get out before it’s too late. 

Now Pascual must race against time to discover who’s behind the operation that’s put him and his family in the crosshairs—a scheme which could trigger armageddon for world financial markets. 

Praise

“Readers will hope they won’t have to wait another 19 years for Pascual’s next adventure.”
— Publishers Weekly
“The thriller nouveau—of deceit, betrayal, tears. It crackles with electricity: one of the very best.”
— Lionel Davidson, author of Kolymsky Heights
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