Black Shuck Actual

Savage Sons

by Ian Graham on 05/17/13

Recently, two new words entered the common vocabulary of the western world when the identities of the Boston Marathon Bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were revealed. Those words are CHECHNYA and CHECHEN. The first refers to a land-locked country in Eastern Europe that is smaller than Riverside County, California and remains under the political control of Russia. The later refers to the indigenous people who live there, though the people refer to themselves as the Nokhchi. To those of us with an ear to the ground for subjects closely related to the military and intelligence trades, neither term is new. For many of us, the Chechens have been on our radar since reports came out of the two major wars fought in that country since the fall of the Soviet Union featuring some of the most heinous and savage attacks that could be imagined.


Chechen guerrilla fighters, who had rebelled against Russia at least five times in the last century, invaded and took hostage an entire hospital in 1995, bombed five apartment buildings in 1999, invaded and took hostage a theater in 2002, and invaded and took hostage a school full of children in 2004. These attacks, which are only a small sampling of those committed by the Chechens, were responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths and over 2,000 injuries, almost all of which were civilian. What was even more shocking than the actual attacks was the sheer savagery with which the Chechens conducted themselves. Reports of mass rape, slow and painful exsanguination, and decapitation were common.


The first important point to note about the Chechens is that they are Muslims whose adherence to Islam traces back over a millennium, and they have fought vehemently against foreign forces that attempt to invade their homeland. However, unlike other Muslims, Chechens have maintained key components of their pre-Islamic identity. Prior to their conversion, Chechens lived in tribes known as tieps, and still do in some mountainous regions of their country. Within these tieps, children are taught to fight from an early age, ancient ideas of honor and warriorship remain, and bigoted intolerance of their lowland counterparts, who have become intermixed with Russians, Georgians and other nationalities, is commonplace.


Over the past two decades, Chechen Islamists have been unsuccessful in beating back the advancement of Russian forces in their homeland, but they have become hugely dependent on Islamic sources of weapons and money while trying to do so. Much like the discovery of some ancient weapon, the leaders of the worldwide jihadist movement have co-opted not only the Chechen struggle for independence, but also Chechen tactics for doing so. Chechen fighters have been dispatched to conflicts around the world in order to spread their inherited savagery and intricate knowledge of IEDs and Soviet-era weapons to militant ranks in other countries and, much as they have done in the Balkans and Kashmir, the historic avenues into Western Europe and India respectively, the jihadists have made the North Caucasus—the region in which Chechnya is located and the historic avenue into Eastern Europe and Russia—an important theater in their desire for a worldwide Islamic caliphate.


With the American attitude toward Russia being one of constant suspicion since the days of the Cold War, programs have been opened to accept refugees and asylum seekers from the North Caucasus region. While the vast majority of those who have come are likely innocent people fleeing the constant fighting in their homeland, it’s not hard to see how a Chechen, influenced by the ideas of radical Islam, could use such programs as an easy way into the United States and other western nations in order to commit acts of terror sanctioned by jihadist leaders.


While the Tsarnaev brothers’ connection to Chechnya may turn out to be nothing more than common ancestry, the older brother's six-month trip to the North Caucasus cannot be overlooked. Terrorist training camps and strongholds exist throughout that region and someone, somewhere had to teach him to build the volatile and sophisticated explosive devices used in the Boston Marathon attacks.


As if by some bizarre twist of fate, my first full length novel, Veil of Civility, was published on April 2, 2013 and deals with an organized attack on America by Chechen Islamists. I mention this not only as an obligatory plug for the book, but also to underscore the feelings I felt on Friday morning upon learning the identities of the Boston Marathon Bombers. As someone who has heavily researched both the region and the people of Chechnya, my blood froze. I was frightened at the very real possibilities of what could be coming next if these men were part of a larger group. With the whole of the Northeastern US's law enforcement chasing after these men would they (and any unidentified allies) barricade themselves inside a hospital or school as they have in their homeland? Would the people in those buildings suffer the horrifying fates of previous hostages? An ancient Chechen proverb seems to indicate so: When will blood cease to flow in the mountains? When sugar canes grow in the snows.

FREE Promo for Patriots & Tyrants!

by Ian Graham on 12/07/12

Looking for some inexpensive books to load onto that new Kindle you bought someone for Christmas? Try Patriots & Tyrants: A Black Shuck Thriller. It's FREE from Friday 12/7 through Sunday 12/9!

Patriots & Tyrants is the first book released in the Black Shuck thriller series featuring former IRA volunteer turned American patriot, Declan McIver. Each of the four stories features a character that will appear in the upcoming series.

  • Can Mossad agent Abaddon Kafni capture an Iranian arms dealer?
  • Can former IRA volunteer Declan McIver stop a friend from being murdered in Boston's seedy underworld?
  • Can internationally feared assassin Torrance "AU" Sands succeed in killing a vicious cult leader?
  • Can Russian soldiers capture Chechen terrorist Ruslan Baktayev in the aftermath of the Beslan School Massacre?
  • Amazon readers are saying great things about Patriots & Tyrants:

    "This début by Ian Graham is a stunning collection of four short stories, giving you an insight to what is to come from this author. A precursor of his upcoming full length novel, Veil of Civility. He takes all that is great from the thriller genre and packs it between the pages and does it intelligently. Well written and well researched, you are pulled in from the first page into a world of smoke and mirrors which carries you along on a tide of action and intrigue. One of my favourite authors, Robert Ludlum did this very well; is Mr Graham the new Ludlum?"       ~ Amazon User Review

    "I'm calling this a well-done debut and I look forward to more from this author. Highly recommended."    ~ Amazon User Review

    The Next Big Thing

    by Ian Graham on 11/28/12

    Welcome to this blog hop.

    What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

    Here you have the chance to find many new authors. Here you’ll find information about Ian Walkley and the book No Remorse, and also links to five other authors you might like to check out.

    I’d like to thank fellow author Ian Walkley for tagging me to participate.

    Click the links below to find out about Ian Walkley’s books.



    Buy No Remorse:

    In this particular hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

    Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.

    10 Questions for Ian Graham, author of the Black Shuck thriller series:

    1: What is the working title of your book?

    Patriots & Tyrants is my presently published title. It's a collection of four stories, each featuring a character from my upcoming series. I am also working on the first full length novel in the series which is titled Veil of Civility and should be published in the Spring, hopefully around mid-March.

    2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

    The idea for this series has been rolling around in my head for quite some time. It occured to me when I looked at the current crop of American action-thrillers out there and realized that a majority of them all featured heroes that were very similar. You know, all-American men with a military history as long as they are tall. Not that there's anything wrong with that by any means but I thought it would be neat to explore the genre from a different point of view.

    My main character is a man named Declan McIver who was not born in and did not grow up in America. He grew up in Northern Ireland amid the thirty year civil war known as the Troubles and only emigrated to America after years of taking part in this bloody conflict.

    3: What genre does your book come under?

    My work is definitley in the Action-Thriller category. I grew up reading and watching the adventures of characters played by the likes of Chuck Norris and Sylvestor Stallone so that should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    I strive to create sympathetic characters with realistic life situations, but I don't shy away from the more fantastical elements of those type of stories either. My ideal reader reaction would "Cool!!" :)

    4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

    Wow. I really had to give this one some thought. On top of the action stars mentioned above I have always had an appreciation for lesser known actors so based on looks alone I would have to pick Callum Keith Rennie (24, The Killing) to play Declan McIver and Devin Kelley (The Chicago Code) to play his wife, Constance. There are alot of other characters in the series but I'd be here all month trying to find actors to play everyone, so these are the two main characters.

    5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

    For Veil of Civility it is:

    Can an ex-IRA volunteer stop a heinous terrorist attack against Americans when he finds himself pitted against a shadowy conpiracy?

    6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

    I chose to go the self-publishing route because after months of research it just seemed to be the best way. I've been writing seriously for near ten years but if I were to start submitting to publishers it would still take me years to get a contract. On top of that, the publishing industry is going through so many changes so rapidly that self-publishing seems to be the most open ended way at the moment.

    7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

    When I finally figured out what I was doing it took me about six months but that was after MANY false starts. They say the first book is the hardest and I agree. In the beginning you're not only trying to write a book, but you're also trying to figure out how YOU write a book. The process is different for everyone.

    8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

    In a broad sense, I would compare my work to authors like Brad Thor and Vince Flynn since they are two names most people are likely to recognize. Every author has their own style so it's hard to compare too closely.

    9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

    The who is easy, it was my daughter. Her birth inspired me to take my writing seriously. Before that I really did it just for a personal outlet and had no intentions of publishing.

    The what is a bit harder. I'm an American and as such I believe wholeheartedly in my country. I believe America has been a source of good for both it's own people and for the people of the world. Both America and the world currently find themselves facing a grave threats in the form of ballooning debts, radical Islam, politcal correctness and severe polarization in their citzenry. These are all issues that my characters struggle with and as such it's an outlet for my own thoughts and feelings in addition to being what I hope is an entertaining story for readers.

    10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

    As I mentioned above, I believe the point of view of my main character is unique in the genre. He's a man who joined a terrorist organization at a young age while he was coping with a very violent wrong that was done to him. Through ther years he came to realize that his actions were wrong and sought to correct his course in life. Unfortunately other men were not as keen on letting him go and he was forced to struggle long and hard to acheive his goals. I think readers will be intrigued by the way he approaches certain situations when they compare his actions and reactions with some of the other literary heroes around today.

    Below you will find other authors whose work is similar to my own and that you may be interested in as well. Be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

    Stephen England:

    Robert Bidinotto:

    Andrew Scorah:

    Ian Kharitonov:



    by Ian Graham on 11/21/12

    Welcome to where you will find all of the latest information on Patriots & Tyrants, Veil of Civility and other entries in the Declan McIver thriller series! Stay tuned!

    ~ Ian