southmark_axe_bk_one southmark_axe_nv_ods southmark_axe_nv_ods2 southmark_axe_bk_two southmark_axe_bk_three southmark_axe_nv_orr
Full Name: Axe Southmark & Haley Cross
Series Name: Unsanctioned Asset
Nationality: American
Organization: Presidential Agent
Occupation Agent

Creator: Brad Lee
Time Span: 2021 - 2022


Alex 'Axe' Southmark and Haley Cross are agents of the President of the United States.

At least they will be after events are shown to the Chief Executive that he really was in need of a couple of operatives answering to his orders and not being instead directed by some agency or bureau or department director who in turn passes the orders, possibly altered a tad bit, to subordinates to then send agents into the field. Most of all these people in the chain are good, honest, trustworthy people who really want to give the President what he asks for. Some are not, hence the perceived need of having a couple of proven assets standing by, just in case.

We first meet Axe, Southmark's call sign and the way he prefers to be called, as a leader of a SEAL team. He has been with his team for several years and was now in charge of them through rank and seniority, earning both. In the particularly nasty skirmish we follow he and his team on, he is able to save his team and complete the mission but in doing so came to one disheartening but, to him, inescapable truth: he was slowing down. "Face it. I'm getting old," he admitted to his colleagues and then to himself stated, "after a certain age, people either got out or moved up." He opted, with regret, to get out. He would move to the cabin in the woods he had been left and use the small inheritance he had been given and see what came next for his life.

That next would be stalking and hunting and shooting a variety of targets - all with his camera. He was able to make a modest living doing this because his pictures sold reasonably well. He never claimed to be a "gifted photographer". He was just willing, or crazy enough, to go where others might balk, and take a lot of photos hoping some turned out alright. This would keep him happy and busy - for a while.

Haley Cross is an analyst for the Central Analysis Group, "an elite, relatively new intelligence gathering and analysis division of the U.S. government". She was, in fact, the best that the agency had but she suffered from three elements that played a major role in her life. One, she was still quite young, barely old enough to buy her own drinks, so a lot of those older tended to discount what she had to say. Two, she was a beautiful blonde-haired woman which made many she dealt with see only her looks and her gender and not consider there might be a sharp brain behind the pretty. Three, she was highly intuitive and able to see "the big picture" far sooner than others but often that picture came without the verifiable steps needed to "show her work".

One other little-known but very important fact about Haley. Her mother was a life-long best friend of the woman now known as the First Lady and 'Uncle Jimmy' was in fact President James Heringten.

When circumstances bring these two together, they find that in spite of their age and experience differences, they made a darn good team. One other person who thought the same thing was the President.

Good Line:

- "Rule number one: the intelligence is always wrong."

- Addendum to Rule Number One - "Not that it mattered."


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2021
Last Appearance:2022

1 A Team Of One A Team Of One
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2021

Axe Southmark is happy to be in retirement but is enticed back into the action by the President's niece who is in the search for both a bomber causing trouble in New York City and a traitor in the White House.
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2 A Team Of Two A Team Of Two
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2021

After all electronics in the L.A. area are destroyed, analyst Haley Cross is certain that terrorists are planning on spreading the misery all over the U.S. She calls upon former SEAL Axe Southmark to help her prevent such an horrendous calamity.
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3 A Team Of Three A Team Of Three
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2022

"America’s newest enemy launches an audacious plan to incapacitate the country. A never-before-seen danger is about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. And the world faces a crisis unlike any before. Can intelligence analyst Haley put the puzzle together in time from the safety of her office - or is she meant to risk it all as a field asset? Is Axe, a former Navy SEAL, capable of overcoming a foe with nothing to lose? The clues are cleverly hidden. The threats are terrifying."
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Number of Stories:3
First Appearance:2021
Last Appearance:2022

1 Operation Rapid Revenge Operation Rapid Revenge
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2021

"A distant valley. Two warring tribes. Americans caught in the middle. Danger lurks everywhere, and the price for success is blood. Join young Alexander "Axe" Southmark on his first combat mission as a Navy SEAL... where things are never what they seem."

2 Operation Deadly Silence Operation Deadly Silence
short story
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2022

[plot unknown]

3 Operation Deadly Silence Part 2 Operation Deadly Silence Part 2
short story
Written by Brad Lee
Copyright: 2022

[plot unknown]


I was impressed with how quickly I became hooked on the adventures of these two people.

Axe is still in fantastic shape with tons of experience being the tip of the spear for any problem but he knows that he has finally, inevitably lost enough of the keenness he feels is required to do his job without putting his teammates in danger. So he walks away from it. And finds it is not done with him.

Haley is still so young that still on the upward slope towards becoming her best but both is she already good and always getting better.

Together they make a heckuva good partnership. And the author is wise enough to have them stay partners - not lovers. There is no latent sexual tension between the two and it is easy to see that such a thing would make both of them feel uneasy. I have to admit I was worried about such things.

What there quickly is, though, is one impressive amount of synergy. He is damn good at action and pretty good at problem solving. She is awesome at finding the answers and getting better all the time at surviving in the field. It just works!

The missions that these two get involved in are exaggerated side of the ledger. People are always trying to kill tens of thousands or bring down governments or prove themselves above everyone else. All way outside the realm of likeliness. Except that they are just close enough to be maybe not so unreal and the author makes you just go along with it all.

Then again, in his tales we have a Russian President who wants to make his country a super power again at the expense of America's might. And we have a tech billionaire who wants to recreate the world in his image and those not interested in following can stop being. And ... yikes! 

I hope the author keeps giving us more.


My Grade: A-


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