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Full Name: Steve Dane
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Brian Drake
Time Span: 2013 - 2020


Steve Dane is a freelance agent.

He could also be called an adventurer as a profession because though he does take the odd job in the cloak and dagger business, a remnant of his former CIA days, he does so more for the fun and the excitement than to pay the bills. Paying those bills is not difficult for Dane since a windfall during a previous adventure. Now he can take the assignments and fight the fights he wants rather than at someone else's bidding.

Dane is a ruggedly handsome man who nevertheless carries more than his share of scars, chief ones being burn scars from a near fatal helicopter crash. Despite these reminders that things do not always go right, he is still attractive and gets a good deal of looks from the ladies. It is not unreasonable to think, though, that this attention is due to the confident way he goes about his day. Dane is quite capable of taking care of himself.

The scars and the occasional aches and pains from previous injuries remind him that he is not as "bulletproof" as he once thought himself. When he was 18 and joined the Marines, eventually finding a position in the Force Recon, he fought in numerous battles around the globe, many of them not reported in the evening news. After his enlistment came to an end, he worked as a private contractor and found more work than he could have imagined in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was doing this work that he first came under the umbrella of the CIA. They have a considerable amount of missions for a man with his honed skills and he brought them to successful conclusions earning a lot of plaudits and even more friends, though a few enemies as well. A particularly painful betrayal, though, ended that and Dane went his own way.

That lead him into creating a mercenary unit called the "30-30 Battalion" and it lasted a few years in some even nastier scrapes than he had experience before. One of those ended nicely, though, with Dane in possession of many millions in diamonds. His mercenary days ended and his adventuring ones started.

One of those adventures involved the hunt to Anastasia's missing jewels. The baubles in question turned out to be fakes but the mission brought him into contact with the lovely and lethal Nina Talikova, a woman loving excitement and danger as much as Dane. She was a decorated agent with the Russian FSB and might have remained so except the idea of life with Dane sounded better.

Either of these two would be trouble for an opponent. Together they are formidable. And a lot of fun.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:2013
Last Appearance:2020

After I read the three books in this series, and loved them all, I received word from the author that he had rewritten and repackaged the series so the original titles and descriptions were not valid so much any more. I have made the changes but if I got it wrong, well, sorry!

Since I wrote that paragraph, two new books have entered the collection, one has changed position in the line-up, and an omnibus of the first 4 has been added. Once again, I think I have the order right.

1 Skills To Kill Skills To Kill
aka The Rogue Gentleman
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2013

It started with an attempt in Italy to save a young woman from being kidnapped, which got Steve Dane and his lover, Nina Talikova, involved with the Mob and quickly moved to a battle with a powerful arms dealer known only as The Duchess.
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2 Another Way To Kill Another Way To Kill
aka Another Way to Die
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2014

The trip to Monaco was a vacation for Steve Dane and Nina Talikova but witnessing a murder changed that, especially when the deceased is a secret agent involved in a plot by the Russians to steal U.S. technology.
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3 Live To Kill Live To Kill
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2015

Someone in the Agency has a personal objective and is using the CIA's resources to pull it off. When Steve Dane and Nina Talikova learn of it, they become a danger and trouble is thrown their way from DC to South America.
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4 Mine To Avenge Mine To Avenge
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2015

A desperate call from an old friend brings Steve Dane immediately but it is too late. His friend, Tom Wexler, is dead and the stolen antiquities from Iraq Wexler and friends were trying to recover had vanished. Now Dane with Nina Talikova on his side wants to avenge his friend and finish that mission.
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4.5 Skills To Kill - [The Omnibus] Skills To Kill - [The Omnibus]
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2020

A collection of the first 4 adventures into one volume. The titles are:
Skill to Kill
Another Way to Kill
Live to Kill
Mine to Avenge

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5 Show No Mercy Show No Mercy
Written by Brian Drake
Copyright: 2020

When a terrorist attack occurs near them, Steve Dane and Nina Talikova do not hesitate but rush in to face the killers. That is when they come upon a message that says "Graypoole has resurrected". Dane knew that was impossible because Graypoole, a terrorist who went after capitalists, was dead. Investigating, he learns it is Graypoole's son, out to avenge his father and make a name for himself.
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I want to be Steve Dane. If you are male and breathing, you do, too. Steve Dane is not perfect but he is darn close and that is good enough. I might not say that Dane is larger-than-life but if I talked to Life, I think it would want to be Dane as well.

This might sound like it is putting Dane down but I do not mean it that way. Dane is a terrific character. Unrealistic, sure, but still terrific. The trouble he gets into is implausible and the way he gets out of these jams is unlikely and you will not care. Really. You will just wish you were him doing it.

And if Dane were not enough, and he is, there is the fantastic Nina. Oh, my stars. Nina. Wow! 'Enuf said.

Three books worth, I've wanted to be Dane and be near Nina. I want more. Many more.


My Grade: A-


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