All posts by hahnco1st

Nick Hahn started his career as a writer while a student at the University of Notre Dame. He went on to become President and CEO of New York-based Cotton Incorporated (Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives). Leaving Cotton in 1997, he formed Hahn International, LTD, an agribusiness consulting group focused on the Third World. For twenty-one years, Nick has lived and worked among indigenous peoples from Africa to Latin America, his travel diaries often reflecting social and political unrest. Under the Skin is his first novel. Nick is married with four children and six grandchildren. He makes his home in rural eastern Connecticut near Long Island Sound, where he writes and narrates audiobooks

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

Alex arrives at the Taliban safe house in the foothills of the Hindu Kush, she’s terrified.

As soon as I walked in, an old woman shuffled up to me, she was creepy, the hair on her upper lip was right out of a freak show. She grabbed my elbow, I pulled away from her, she uttered something unintelligible and grabbed me back, this time with surprising force for an old hag.

The room was large with typical ceiling lights, three bulbs in frosted glass shades in the middle of a slow moving fan. There are eight men, seated around a low coffee table speaking in low tones and smoking, the foul smelling French Gauloises permeated the room. I began to cough, the hag yanked on my arm, it hurt.

God, I’m scared. I’m thinking of Patty Hurst, she was about my age when she was kidnapped. The idea of falling for one of these creeps and actually participating in their lifestyle turned my stomach.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are both terrorist groups but they differ in their founding principals and tribal allegiance. The Taliban follow a combination of Sharia law and tribal codes with a mission of sustaining a community lifestyle based upon a literal and extreme interpretation of the Koran. Al Qaeda also follows Sharia law but pursues a global agenda, one designed to disrupt the Western power structure. They work together as long as there is compensation. Money is the grease that makes their wheels turn, regardless of who controls the wheels.

The one issuing orders is young, he doesn’t look older than me but of course, he has to be.  They call him Omar. His beard is about four days old, like the European guys and now fashionable with Americans.  His hair is long, tied back in a bob. He’s dressed in a black Jubba from neck to toe. He’s average in height and build and handsome, in a dark masculine way. In spite of my impossible circumstances, I find myself strangely attracted to him; I keep thinking of Patty Hurst.

That creepy woman from the kitchen takes me by the elbow again, she leads me down a dark smelly hallway, everything about this place is smelly. She pushes me into a small room, there are a cot, a sink and a stinking hole in the floor surrounded by stained, cracked, porcelain with ribbed foot placements. A poor excuse for a toilet, no paper, only a bucket of water and a dirty rag for washing your hands. There’s a single low wattage lightbulb in the ceiling, and a window, small, close to the ceiling, with bars. The glass is opaque. Light comes through but you can’t see out. I’m cold, no heat, there was a small brazier burning charcoal in the common room and, I assume, in the “talker’s” bedroom.

The kitchen woman leaves, her key rattles in the lock, I’m alone, it’s quiet and I’m scared.

The key back in the lock fractures the silence, Christ, she’s back.

She grunts when she enters and throws a pile of cotton on the bed; a thin blanket, a burka, a hajib, and flip-flops. Her hand motions make it clear, I’m to change into these clothes. I turn my back to her and pull off my jeans, slowly, one leg at a time. As I unbuttoned my blouse she moves to the front of me, leering, with a grin, this broad is a pervert. My underwear is disgusting, the same thong and bra I was wearing the day of the explosion, ten days ago. I would wash it in the sink if the water worked.

I turn again, in a useless effort to avoid her stare. Pulling the burka over my head is difficult, the cloth is scratchy and stiff like you get with line drying cotton in low humidity.

She takes my jeans and blouse and leaves, will I ever see them again, I doubt it.

Jesus, I’m so freaking tired, and the cold, it creeps out of every seam in the building.  I’m shivering and coughing, I can feel my temperature rising.  Please God, send Mustafa, I don’t know how long I can last here.

I fold over the thin cotton blanket, bunch up the hijab as a pillow and pass out.

I don’t know how long I slept. I woke to the noise, It was distant at first, scratchy static, then the voice came through loud and clear, it was the Muadhan, the person who delivers the Adhan, or call to prayer, recited five times a day starting at daybreak.

That creep showed up without warning, no knock on the door, only the key turning in the lock.

She motioned to the hijab, it was a wrinkled mess from a restless night. The creep didn’t look happy, her hand language made it clear she wanted me dressed, now!

She went for my elbow again,  I pushed her shoulder with a guttural “back the fuck off lady”.

She doesn’t speak English but understood the universal language, she got my meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

Cover of my new book, out later this year, currently in edit, very excited.

unnamed

 

 

(Back cover summary)

 

Alex Wintour is the seventeen-year-old daughter of the US Ambassador to Pakistan. She becomes the target of a brutal terrorist kidnapping and the focal point between Mustafa, the Karachi-born US-educated Navy Seal assigned to rescue her and Omar, the young Al Qaeda operative who interrogates her. His command of English and American culture is based on his living in Kansas as a foreign exchange student.

He would turn out to be the perfect foil for Alex.

The plot twists and turns with finesse as Mustafa balances his relationship with Ambassador Wintour, his wife Sally and his extended family in Karachi.

The connection between Mustafa and his partner and lover, Dalia, the beautiful Israeli assassin who works for Mossad, the world’s most efficient killing machine, complicates his mission and may compromise his mission to rescue Alex.

 

This book has it all, political intrigue, conflict, romance, and ideology. Western culture and economics clash with Muslim poverty and hopelessness in a squalid interrogation hut in the foothills of the Hindu Kush of Western Pakistan.

 

Alex and Omar are intellectual equals, a relationship complicated by the Stockholm syndrome, they’re attracted to each other, emotionally and physically.

The story gives you a view of Muslim, American relations so different from today’s media, you’ll question every assumption you’ve ever made.

Don’t miss this one, as current as today’s headlines.

 

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

Alex arrives at the Taliban Village, it’s dusk, the sun is setting behind the Hindu Kush Mountains to the West. She’s tired, sore, hungry and terrified. She wants her parents, her boyfriend, and2390004_6123521 Beepa.

“I think this must be a dream, that I’ll wake any moment and be back at the Embassy in my pink and white bedroom with the Barbi Collection on the dresser and Beepa, the soft cuddly monkey I received when I was a baby.
 
Beepa was my childhood companion, he went with me everywhere, he slept with me, played with me and made cookies with me. If not for Sally, he would have bathed with me. He was my security, he protected me from the world, he made me feel safe and loved, I needed him, now!.”
 
The path up the hill was steep and rocky, my thin sneakers are not enough protection. I shouldn’t be daydreaming, I should be thinking about escape, about how I’ll react should one of these thugs come on to me.
 
They would come early morning, after the call to prayer, just before sunrise. 
 
Billy told me how he woke every day with a hard-on and sticky sheets. I giggled at this, I would say, “come on Billy, you must have been sleepwalking”,  he would grin and respond, “nope, sleep-fucking”.
 
Christ, I’m going be tortured and raped in the morning and all I can think about are Billy Watson’s  wet-dreams.
 
Get it together girl, this isn’t a dream.”

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

Seals Team-6 is a legend in Pakistan, headed up by US Navy Master Chief, Bull Casey, a tough 2b9690b641df448bc37080be35d3142fE-9, the highest ranking non-com in the Navy. The tattoo on his forearm said it all, ‘Don’t Tread On Me’.

Casey got his stripes the old fashioned way, through the ranks, he earned them.  He was respected by his peers, his men loved him, not a man on that team that wouldn’t take a bullet for Bull Casey.

We met in basic training, I was a recruit, Casey a drill Sargent. He couldn’t break me down physically or mentally, God knows he tried. That SOB busted my balls for seven long weeks of BUD’s training at Coronado, at the end of it all I found myself respecting the bastard, if not liking him.

I hadn’t seen him since graduation, not surprising I’d find him in an NCO club.

I smiled when the waitress said the beer was on the gentleman sitting at the bar. That was no gentleman, it was Casey, the insignia on the sleeve of his dress blues told you all you needed to know, red stripes, three stars and an eagle, not a man alive going to fuck with him.

I heard a rumor he was in town, seemed appropriate we’d meet in an NCO club, our last meeting in California was in the same place, they all looked the same.

He turned on the stool, I smiled and nodded. The long neck in my hand tipped forward, his did the same, he headed for my table.

 

 

 

The Ambassador’s Daughter, by Nick Hahn, due 2017

MUSTAFA

Mustafa
Mustafa

 

 

 

 

 

I started in the back streets of Karachi, there are no street names or addresses. You either knew where you were going or you didn’t get there. This is the cultural backwater of the country, it all comes together here,  a mélange of sights, sounds and smells. This, for me, is what Pakistan is all about, not the sanitized streets of Islamabad or the commercial offices of Lahore. This is where light and dark are indistinguishable, where good and evil mix in a cauldron of grey matter.

Here a man will risk his life betraying Al Qaeda for a price.  Here a man will risk his life defending his family name.

Here I will find Alex.

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Nick Hahn, due 2017

2390004_6123521“Jesus Mustafa, what the fuck is going on, I was right there, in their grasp, they could have had a US Ambassador, instead they take a 16-year-old girl, why, tell me why?”

He was still in shock, when he clears his mind and gets his emotions under control he’ll understand that we’re dealing with a highly sophisticated adversary.

Al Qaeda hasn’t terrified the western world because they’re brutal maniacs, they’ve done it because they’re calculating terrorists with a game-plan. They know what they’re doing, it’s about power and control, this kidnapping was planned from the day the Wintour’s transfer was announced in the Daily Express, the local Urdu language newspaper.

An Ambassador’s daughter was more valuable than the Ambassador. Her rescue is axiomatic, the Ambassador would bend, twist or break US policy. The kidnappers knew this, they would hold out, not for money, they’re looking at Guantanamo, high-profile prisoners, prisoners worth the life of an Ambassador’s daughter.