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JERICHO BLACK

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Full Name: Jericho Black
Nationality: American
Organization: The Box
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jordan Vezina
Time Span: 2015 - 2019

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jericho Black is an agent with The Box.
       Well, if he really existed. And if the organization in question actually officially existed. In truth, the name 'Jericho Black' is actually the call sign used for Will Hessler after he was invited to go to work for The Box. Sound a bit confusing at first but it isn't, really.
       First, a note about the Box. It is an Israeli department that does not exist. As it is explained to Hessler by the man who would become him mentor, Jacob Mitzak, the group is not "part of Mossad, and you won't find any trace of our existence in any official Israeli document. [People] simply refer to us as 'The Box'". Mitzak goes on to explain, "You put a problem in The Box and the problem goes away. Each intelligence service has their own version of The Box. The CIA refers to them as NOCs, for non-official operative cover."
       Initially the primary objective of The Box was to hunt down and eliminate Nazi war criminals trying to remain hidden throughout the world. The purpose the The Box with regards to them was to be their killers - killers with purpose. "We aren't police or spies. We aren't trying to collect evidence or take people to court. By the time a name is passed to me on a busy street written on a slip of paper in invisible ink that name has already stood the test of some pretty heavy scrutiny. That name has done things, unimaginable and unspeakable things, and that name has been waiting a long time for a man like me to show up at its door and deliver upon it the wrath of the tribe of Israel."
       That is the world that Will Hessler is entering when we first meet him.
       Hessler, being American by nationality and not being Jewish by ethnicity, would seem a strange candidate to go to work for The Box. In fact, though, he comes to them with the same fervent hatred of the Nazi movement and its followers. His despise comes from a different source.
       Hessler's grandfather was Franklin Hessler, a Nazi genius who had worked alongside Adolf Eichmann while in hiding after WWII. He managed to escape capture along with his family and to raise a daughter who believed in the Aryan cause every bit as intensely as her father. When she eventually gave birth to her own child, Will, she relentlessly indoctrinated him into that mindset.
       It did not take as well as she might have thought. And when she took her hatred of Jews to an even higher level and bombed a synagogue, killing dozens and severely injuring Will Hessler's girl friend, she gave him an enemy to fight.
       The adventures we have of Will Hessler/Jericho Black will follow him as he becomes more and more a spear in the defense of Israel, going up against Nazis like his mother as well as Islamic extremists. Enemies of his native America and his adopted Israel have a worth opponent in Hessler.

BOOKS

Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2015
Last Appearance:2019

1 Among Wolves Among Wolves
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2015

"Born of war. Raised by Nazis. Circumstances have given Will Hessler every excuse to become a monster. Instead, he's going to become the one hunting them. All his life, seventeen-year-old Will Hessler has had to live with the knowledge that his mother and grandfather are Nazis - escapees from the Third Reich, living anonymously in the suburbs of San Francisco. Until now, whispered rumors have been the only judgement they've ever received. But when Will's mother does the unthinkable - bombing a synagogue, killing dozens, and horribly injuring Will's girlfriend in the process - he knows the time has finally come to choose between family and justice. Will's history, past and connections have positioned him perfectly to become the ultimate undercover operative, infiltrating San Francisco's most vile and extremist groups. But when he learns of a threat that could make the Bay run red with blood, Will realizes there's one more thing he'll have sacrifice in order to save thousands: The chance of ever having a clear conscience again."
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2 Kill Chain Kill Chain
aka Education
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"Will Hessler thought he knew what he was getting into when he stepped into the world of Israeli intelligence— but he’s about to get more than he bargained for. Jacob 'The Hammer of Israel' Mitzak is back to teach Will how to survive as a deep cover Mossad agent, but before this training can be completed a ghost from Jacob’s past emerges. Nazi counter-intelligence mastermind Jurgen Steiner sees in the burgeoning skinhead movement of the Pacific Northwest a chance to finish what Hitler started. To do this he’ll recruit the cream of the neo-Nazi crop, including the son of the infamous terrorist Diane Hessler— her son Will. Has Will learned enough to keep his head above water and stop Jurgen Steiner before the unthinkable occurs and America is changed forever?"
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3 Retribution Retribution
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"It’s 1980, and Will Hessler is about to hit the sunny shores of Beirut, Lebanon. One year after the abduction of a Mossad operative by the Jihadist group Sword Of Allah, Israeli special operations group Shayetet 13 launches a rescue operation to get her back. When things don’t go as planned Will is the only one who can pull the operation out of the fire and root out a traitor in their midst."
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4 Outfoxed Outfoxed
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"Several months have passed since the events in Retribution, and Nadir Fox has rebuilt his network and decided that Will Hessler is going to do his work for him. Starting off with an act of unbelievable brutality Nadir sends Will on a race against time to accomplish a series of tasks. Meanwhile Jacob Mitzak, his daughter Ariel Sutcliffe and Mike Wurman work together to try and pull the curtain back on Nadir's operation and stop an attack on both New York City and the Israeli Prime Minister."
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5 Going Dark Going Dark
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2019

A terrorist group called the Sword of Allah has gotten hold of a vial of highly virulent anthrax. They need a delivery system that will provide extensive dispersal and the KGB will see an opportunity to get in good with the group and strike at the US. Will Hessler, aka Jericho Black, is unhappy with his assignment role in the stopping of this mad plan but he will soon find his part is vital. Also joining the task force created to bring the SoA down is CIA operative Jack Bonafide.
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6 The Moscow Protocol The Moscow Protocol
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2019

"The KGB thought that there wouldn't be any blow-back after sending a Directorate S agent into Israel to use El Al airlines to detonate a nuclear weapon in New York City. They were wrong. Saul Greenbaum is dead, Marin Sutcliffe and Jacob Mitzak have returned to New York and The Box has been decommissioned. Will Hessler is now alone, out on his own and headed to Moscow to deliver a message to Colonel Sokolov and anyone else who had a hand in an operation that nearly killed thousands. You went too far, and now you have to pay."
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:5
First Appearance:2018
Last Appearance:2019

1 Never Forget Never Forget
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"A serial killer is loose in Auschwitz, and the only man who can identify him loses his memory every five minutes. Killing is nothing new to the men and women interned at Auschwitz in 1944, but this time is different. One of their own has begun murdering guards in the night, leaving the dead wrapped in the wire of the fences with their eyes torn out. This would be a cause for celebration, were it not for the reprisals of Commandant Hoss, who has not taken kindly to his guards being executed. Irving Baumer is the only man in the camp who the killer has confided in, and Irving cannot remember his face."
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2 The Hammer Of Israel The Hammer Of Israel
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"Jacob Mitzak escaped from Auschwitz at fifteen, and soon became famous to every Nazi war criminal in the world as The Hammer of Israel. Years later in nineteen-fifties New York City Jacob will become the only man standing in the way of the rise of a Fourth Reich on American soil. The Hammer of Israel is about to hit the Big Apple."
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3 The Lion Of Israel The Lion Of Israel
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

"It isn't easy being the daughter of The Hammer of Israel. Ariel Sutcliffe was on a clear path to a life as a mathematician, splitting her time between New York and Tel Aviv while being raised by her Grandmother Marin, but a different destiny was waiting for her. When Saul Greenbaum needs a young female decoy for an operation, Ariel reluctantly volunteers. It would just be a one time thing, and maybe she would finally feel like her parents were proud of her? When the operation goes south, Ariel finds herself quickly pulled into a world she never asked for, but finds she has a talent for thriving in."
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4 Danger Close Danger Close
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2018

Takes place between Kill Chain and Retribution.
"It's 1979 and Will Hessler has found himself in the desert outside of Dimona, Israel, training for operations with a secret division within Israeli intelligence.
When a soldier is kidnapped at the Israeli/ Palestine border Will follows Jacob Mitzak on a mission to get him back, but that's just the beginning. A Directorate S agent deployed by the KGB is loose in one of Israel's nuclear reactor sites, and though Will doesn't know it yet, he has the key to finding him. Is Will Hessler ready for the realities of this new world and his place in it?"
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5 Buenos Aires Black Buenos Aires Black
Written by Jordan Vezina
Copyright: 2019

"To Saul Greenbaum and the members of his ultra-secretive Israeli Intelligence unit, The Box, 'Never Forget' is more than just a slogan. It is a promise written in blood. In 1975 Saul and his team will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina on a capture or kill mission to find the sons of Adolf Eichmann and stop their Nazi terror cell in its tracks. As the bodies hit the floor and the mission becomes riskier by the minute, the team will have to strike a bargain with the devil if they want to finish the job and make it home in one piece."
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MY COMMENTS

     I was initially struck by the smoothness of the prose when I started this series. It is so easy a read with the flow doing exactly that - flowing. In no time at all I was many dozens of pages into the story without realizing it. That is darn good storytelling which is what it felt like. Namely that someone was sitting in the room with me telling me a story and I was content to just let it happen.
     Also impressive is the 'universe' of supporting characters that the author has created. Not only are a couple important in Jericho Black's stories, the writer has given them a chance to step out on their own and each of those is worth reading.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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