The Pendulum Files
by p.m. terrell
CIA operative Dylan Maguire joins forces with psychic spy Vicki Boyd to find out who is bombing merchant vessels bound for the United States from China. Their mission will lead them to Black Sites, the high seas and into covert operations. And when an assassin escapes from prison determined to finish the job he started, they find their personal lives and their missions are about to collide in ways they never could have imagined.
Brenda was leaning her head against the window as if asleep and now she began to move her fingers ever so slightly toward the door handle. She kept her eyes on his reflection; he was focused on driving, his eyes locked on the road just as it had been before. Only his right hand was holding the steering wheel now; it had slipped to a three o’clock position.
A slight movement caught her attention; it was so subtle, she almost thought she’d imagined it. Then she spotted the glint of metal across his body, though the road still held his attention. Her fingers locked onto the door handle as the metal rose slightly up and away from his body. He turned his head as his left hand snapped forward.
She jerked the door open as the shot rang out. She felt something sharp and hot against her shin as she kicked herself away from the car. She tumbled onto the pavement before hitting the shoulder, the gravel feeling like a million razors slicing through her flesh. She heard her own voice as if it was disembodied, screaming as she forced herself to roll across the sharp gravel before plummeting down the incline, compelling herself to continue rolling even as she realized she’d been shot in the leg.
She heard the car’s brakes slamming, the tires squealing as the man struggled to bring the car to a stop. At seventy miles an hour, it should have taken the car further from her even as she rushed to escape. But when she came to her feet and looked back at the road, she estimated he was about three hundred feet further down the road—not far enough.
She ran toward the tree line, which now appeared too far away. As a second shot rang out, she knew his sights were set on her back, and she struggled to run straight, fighting the impulse to run opposite of him. It kept her profile smaller but when he shot a third and then fourth time, she could almost feel the bullets whizzing past her.
The third and fourth shots sounded increasingly louder and she knew he was running after her. Her breath was loud and labored, her blood pounding in her temples. Even as she drew closer to the shadows of the trees, she could feel herself slowing down. The adrenaline that propelled her down the slope and to her feet was fighting against the pain in her leg.
She could feel the blood oozing down her shin and pooling in her shoe, causing her to slip and slide along grass already slick with dew. Another shot rang out, whizzing so close to her hair that she thought it had passed through it.
She threw herself into the shadows, pushing herself beyond her leg’s endurance to keep going, to get into the pine forest, weaving and bobbing forward and eastward, away from the car, away from the interstate. Hopefully, away from him.
She wanted to stop; she wanted to pull some article of clothing off herself and wrap it around her shin to keep the blood in, to keep the flesh together, but she didn’t dare hesitate. She heard the branches cracking behind her; he was there and he was closing on her. Even as she propelled herself forward, she knew all he had to do was follow the movement of the branches ahead of him to know exactly where she was.
It is my pleasure to feature p.m. terrell on Room With Books. Thank you, Ms. Terrell, for the opportunity to ask about your character, Vicki Boyd.
What insight can you give us into psychic spy Vicki Boyd?
I had been asked to write a series for many years and while the thought appealed to me, I was concerned about becoming a “formula writer” in which readers could guess exactly where I was going with my plots. I love to surprise as well as entertain, and I knew I would have to establish a series that would take the characters around the world and into fascinating circumstances.
I routinely go through the CIA’s declassified files, which never ceases to inspire me. It was there that I stumbled upon the psychic spy program that is used in the United States government as well as governments throughout the world. I knew when I read about their earliest missions that this was the key I’d been searching for: by making the main character a psychic spy, I could take her around the world and into fascinating circumstances and harrowing adventures.
I began to study the psychic spy program and found two books written by retired psychic spies who now teach the concepts and system. I spoke to psychics and scientists and was interested in discovering that the governments actually use solid scientific principles to gauge the performance of their psychics. And the results speak for themselves, garnering support from the highest level of government.
When Vicki first made her entrance into the Black Swamp Mysteries Series, the reader found out that she had a premonition that her parents would die in an airplane accident. She was only twelve years old and everyone from teachers to counselors considered her premonition to be only imagination or fears—until they actually did die in an airplane accident. Vicki and her sister and two brothers were taken into foster homes and eventually adopted out to four different families. The records were sealed so she never knew where her siblings ended up.
Vicki was adopted by Sam Mazoli, a Department Head within the CIA’s psychic spy program. Though on paper, he was listed as her stepfather, he became her teacher and mentor, indoctrinating her into their psychic spy program. She never had a normal childhood but was schooled at Langley by tutors.
After a particularly bad mission in which innocent children were killed, Vicki decided to leave the CIA. She was now in her 20’s and she chose to leave Washington, DC for a small town in rural North Carolina, where she would spend the summer trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.
Enter Irish immigrant Dylan Maguire, and the rest, as they say, is history. Through the series, they have fallen madly in love and are now engaged to be married. But Vicki never did leave the CIA; it turns out one doesn’t turn their back on the agency that easily. She has continued to take on missions that have led her to a remote village in Afghanistan to rescuing a CIA operative that went missing in Dublin to discovering who is bombing merchant vessels on the high seas.
If the books were made into film, I would love to see Amy Adams play Vicki Boyd. She has the physical characteristics and she can also go from a naïve young woman to an accomplished psychic spy capable of taking care of herself.
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in five genres. A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries is her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22 in 2008. The books include Exit 22, Vicki’s Key, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan’s Song and The Pendulum Files. Vicki’s Key placed as one of four finalists in the 2012 International Book Awards. Her historical book, River Passage, won the 2010 Best Drama Award, and her romantic suspense, The Tempest Murders, placed as one of four finalists in the 2013 USA Best Book Awards.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Computer technology often weaves its way through her contemporary suspense/thrillers.
She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation and the founder of The Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, an annual event to raise money for literacy campaigns. She also serves on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library and the Robeson County Arts Council, and served as the first female president for the Chesterfield County/ Colonial Heights Crime Solvers.
Ms. Terrell will be giving away a beautiful Celtic cross necklace to one lucky commenter during the tour.
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