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TOM BLAKE

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Full Name: Tom Blake
Nationality: British
Organization: Echo17
Occupation Agent

Creator: Adrian Wills
Time Span: 2014 - 2020

ABOUT THE SERIES

Tom Blake is an agent with Echo 17.

That organization is "a black ops intelligence-gathering Special Forces unit with a counter-terror and espionage role. Specifically it's a unit that operates behind enemy lines and covertly in foreign states, specializing in the extraction of intelligence from high value human targets, often in places where Britain and its allies have no jurisdiction. Our existence has been veiled even from MI5 and MI6 for the obvious sensitivities."

"What makes Echo 17 unusual, and why it has to operate under such secrecy, is that interrogations take place in situ, in the countries where the targets have been captured. We deploy a highly specialized insertion technique in which my men live undercover for weeks or even months at a time, in the desert, the jungle or even urban environments. It gives them the opportunity to properly identify their marks and their associates and gives them time to devise a 'snatch plan' before implementing an experimental intelligence extraction technique."

In answer to the challenge that Echo 17 dealt in 'state-sanctioned torture', its director corrected, "We tried that but found it to be less than satisfactory. No, my team has developed some unusual and highly profitable methods for speeding up the process. One of my medical officers, Tom Blake, came up with the idea. He's a warfare psychology expert who's devised a method of rapid hypnotic induction which has proved so far to be around ninety-five per cent effective."

It had been originally set up to answer directly to the Prime Minister but over time apparently the worry about the U.K. leader having essentially his own 'army' unit got too untenable so the organization was marked for disbanding. "A victim of a nervous government and budget cuts. Somehow [the] commanding officer, Harry Patterson, had convinced MI5 to bring the unit under the auspices of the service."

Blake is an operative with the organization but he is an rather unique. He is described as "a bit of a cold fish" and "cantankerous". He came to the group via his medical profession being first a military psychologist. It was considered that someone with his intelligence and background "would be an invaluable asset for an organisation battling against a mounting home-grown terror threat." One of his more interesting assets is his technique for interrogation for which he "devised a method of rapid hypnotic induction which has proved so far to be around ninety-five per cent effective".

Blake is not, however, just an interrogator or a desk man. He gets out in the field himself and has shown many times over that he definitely belongs there. He prefers to work alone when he can, pointing back to the cold fish comment, but he can play well enough with others.

BOOKS

Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2019

1 Deep Sleepers Deep Sleepers
Written by Adrian Wills
Copyright: 2014

Tom Blake had one of the agents in his group deeply infiltrated into a radical hate group. Now that man has gone missing and Blake fears the man has gone over to the other side and is involved in their upcoming terrorist attack in America.
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2 The Armageddon Virus The Armageddon Virus
Written by Adrian Wills
Copyright: 2015

While Tom Blake was going all out to find an assassin, he accidentally comes across a plan that could bring an end to all humanity.
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3 The Viper's Strike The Viper's Strike
Written by Adrian Wills
Copyright: 2016

An incoming passenger from Turkey arrives with little luggage and a passport from a country that does not exist. He will not reveal anything more so Tom Blake is brought in to find out who he is and why he has the address of a Russian dissident in his pocket.
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4 Conspiracy Conspiracy
Written by Adrian Wills
Copyright: 2019

A soldier has gone missing from his base and the worry is that he was kidnapped by terrorists. The townspeople are not saying anything so Tom Blake, an expert at getting people to talk, is called in.
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:2020
Last Appearance:2020

1 As Good As Dead As Good As Dead
Written by Adrian Wills
Copyright: 2020

The year is 2008. The location is Alanya, Turkey. Terrorists have seized a hotel popular with tourists, demanding the release of 10 political prisoners. Tom Black, a Special Forces psychologist, is on standby but then the chance to infiltrate the hotel comes up and he goes in alone.
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MY COMMENTS

It is always fun to come across a series with a fellow who can kick those butts needing it and getting the names of the rest but ... to have a fellow who, unbeknownst to you, has been studying you and analyzing your habits and actions, and, when he finally lets you know of his existence, has already achieved a frighteningly accurate understanding of you and your ticks, that's not only spooky, it makes for a really suspenseful and enjoyable read.

Tom Blake is able to do that butt-kicking but he often does not have to. And, great for us readers, he understands the difference.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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