An "international thriller with soul." Features a broad cast of characters with kids playing significant roles. Ideal reading for fans of Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Vince Flynn.
Brainrush Series Summary
Brainrush is a story about second chances, and embracing every day of your life as though it’s your last. Called “a terrifically entertaining thriller” by Publishers Weekly, Book-1 of the series was named The Wall Street Journal #1 Bestselling Action/Adventure in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers, while Book-2 was on the Top-10 Amazon Mystery/Thriller Top Rated list for 53-straight weeks. This set the stage for the blockbuster release of the third book in the series, which was heralded by Suspense Magazine as “part science fiction, part thriller, part suspense, part love story, and part mystery. It’s got it all and that’s what makes this novel one of the best.” The characters live on in the final four books of the series. Books 4 & 5 were released in 2014, and were met with rave reviews that outpaced even those from the first three books. Book-5 was named “one of the best books of the year” by IndieReader.com. The final two books in the series, No Refuge and Against All Odds are available now, and they promise to keep you on the edge of your seat in a fashion that lives up to what the series is all about—a thought-provoking, soulful and satisfying rush that will keep you gasping long after the final page.
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Brainrush Series Book 1
by Richard Bard
Genre: Action/Adventure Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Publishers Weekly heralded the first book in Richard Bard's Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling." It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal's #1 Action/Adventure slot in the Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers list.
Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an earthquake hits during the procedure, Jake staggers from the wreckage a profoundly changed man, now endowed with uncanny mental abilities.
An ocean away, Luciano Battista wants a piece of Jake's talent. Posing as a pioneering scientist, the terrorist leader has been conducting cerebral-implant experiments in a sinister quest to create a breed of super jihadist agents...and Jake's altered brain may be the key to his success. But Jake refuses to play the pawn in an unholy war--and when an innocent woman and autistic child are taken hostage to force his cooperation, he embarks on a jihad of his own. Jake and his band of loyal friends are thrust into a deadly chase that leads from the canals of Venice through Monte Carlo and finally to an ancient cavern in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan--where Jake discovers that his newfound talents carry a hidden price that threatens the entire human race.
An "international thriller with soul." Ideal reading for fans of Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Vince Flynn.
Veterans Administration Medical Center Santa Monica, California
JAKE BRONSON SPENT THE PAST two weeks preparing to die. He just didn’t want to do it today,
trapped in this MRI scanner.
The table jiggled beneath him. He was on his way into the narrow tube like a nineteenth-
century artillery round being shoved into a cannon. The glassy-eyed gaze of the bored VA medical technician hovered over him, a yellow mustard stain on the sleeve of his lab coat.
“Keep your head perfectly still,” the tech said.
Yeah, right, like he had any choice with the two-inch-wide strap they had cinched over his forehead. Another wiggle and the lip of the tunnel passed into view above him. Jake squeezed his eyes closed, anxious to ignore the curved walls sliding by just an inch from his nose. Three deep breaths and the table jerked to a stop. He was in, cocooned from head to toe. He heard the soft whir of the ventilation fan turn on at his feet. The breeze chilled the beads of sweat gathering on his forehead.
The tech’s scratchy-sounding voice came over the speakers in the chamber. “Mr. Bronson, if you can hear me, press the button.”
A panic switch. Hadn’t he been in a constant state of panic ever since the doctors told him his disease was terminal? He’d agreed to this final test so he’d know how many months he had left to live, to make at least one positive difference in the world. After today, no more doctors. After today, he’d focus on living. Jake pressed the thumb switch gripped in his hand.
“Got it,” the tech said. “If it gets too confining for you in there, just press it again and I’ll pull you out. But remember, we’ll have to start all over again if that happens, so let’s try to get it right the first time, okay? We only need thirty minutes. Here we go.”
Jake’s thumb twitched over the panic button. Crap. He already wanted to push it. He should have accepted the sedative they had offered him in the waiting room. But his friend Marshall had been standing right there, chuckling under his breath when the tech suggested it.
Too late now.
Why the hell was this happening to him again? Cancer once in a lifetime was more than enough for anyone. But twice? It wasn’t right. He wanted to lash out, but at what? Or whom? This morning he’d smashed the small TV in his bedroom over a movie trailer for Top Gun 2. “Coming next fall.” He hated that he was going to miss that one.
The chamber felt like it was closing in on him. A claustrophobic panic sparked in his gut, a churning that grew with each pound of his heart, a hollow reminder of the crushing confines of the collapsible torture box he’d spent so many hours in during the air force’s simulated POW training camp.
Come on, Jake, man up!
Thirty minutes. That was only eighteen hundred seconds. He clenched his teeth and started counting. One, one thousand; two, one thousand; three--
The machine started up with a loud clanking noise. The sound startled him, and his body twitched.
“Please don’t move, Mr. Bronson.” The tech was irritated.
The tapping noise sounded different than he remembered from the MRI he had ten years ago. “Lymphoma,” the flight surgeon had said. “Sorry, but you’re grounded.” And just like that, Jake’s childhood dreams of flying the F-16 were cut short on the day before his first combat mission. The chemo and radiation treatments had sucked. But they worked. The cancer was forced into remission—until two weeks ago, when it reappeared in the form of a tumor in his brain.
The annoying rattle settled into a pattern. Jake let out a deep breath, trying to relax.
Eight, one thousand; nine, one thousand--
Suddenly, the entire chamber jolted violently to the right, as if the machine had been T-boned by a dump truck. Jake’s body twisted hard to one side, but his strapped head couldn’t follow. He felt a sharp pain in his neck, and the fingers on his left hand went numb. The fan stopped blowing, the lights went out, and the chamber started shaking like a gallon can in a paint-store agitator.
A keening whistle from deep within the machine sent shooting pains into Jake’s rattling skull. A warm wetness pooled in his ears and muffled his hearing.
He squeezed down hard on the panic button, shouting into the darkness, each word trembling with the quake’s vibration. “Get—me—out—of—here!”
No one answered.
He wedged his palms against the sidewalls to brace himself. The surface was warm and getting hotter.
The air felt charged with electricity. His skin tingled. Sparks skittered along the wall in front of his face, the first sign in the complete darkness that his eyes were still functioning. The acrid scent of electrical smoke filled his nostrils.
Jake’s fists pounded the thick walls of the chamber. He howled, “Somebody—”
His body went rigid. His arms and legs jerked spasmodically in seizure, his head thrown back. He bit deep into his tongue, and his mouth filled with the coppery taste of blood. Sharp, burning needles of blinding pain blossomed in the hollow at the back of his skull, wriggling through his brain. His head felt like it was ready to burst.
The earthquake ended as abruptly as it started.
So did the seizure.
Jake sagged into the table, his thumping heart threatening to break through his chest.
Faint voices. His mind lunged for them. He peered down toward his toes. A light flickered on
in the outer room. Shadows shifted.
The table jerked beneath him, rolling out into the room. When Jake’s head cleared the outer
rim of the machine, two pairs of anxious eyes stared down at him. It was the tech and Jake’s buddy Marshall.
“You okay?” Marshall asked, concern pinching his features.
Jake didn’t know whether he was okay or not. The tech helped him sit up, and Jake spun his legs to the side. He turned his head and spat a bloody glob of saliva on the floor. Holding the panic switch up to the tech, he said, “You may want to get this thing fixed.”
“I’m s-so sorry, Mr. Bronson,” the tech said. “The power went out, and I could barely keep my balance. I—”
“Forget it,” Jake said, wincing as he reached over his shoulder to massage the back of his aching neck. He gestured to the smoking chamber. “Just be glad you weren’t strapped down inside that coffin instead of me.” He slid his feet to the floor and stood up.
The room spun around him.
He felt Marshall’s firm grip on his shoulders. “Whoa, slow down, pal,” Marshall said. “You’re a mess.”
Jake shook his head. His vision steadied. “I’m all right. Just give me a second.” He took a quick inventory. The feeling had returned to his fingers. Other than a bad neck ache, a sore tongue, and a tingling sensation at the back of his head, there was no major damage. Clutching the corner of the sheet on the table, he wiped at the wetness around his ears. The cotton fabric came away with a pink tinge to it, but no more than that. He stretched his jaw to pop his ears. His hearing was fine.
Using the small sink and wall mirror by the door, Jake used a damp paper towel to make sure he got all the blood from his bitten tongue off his lips and chin. His face didn’t look so bad. The tan helped. His hair was disheveled, but what the hell, sloppy was in, right? And if he could get at least one good night of sleep, his eyes would get back to looking more green than red. It was a younger version of his dad that stared back at him. He sucked in a deep breath, expanding his chest. Six foot two, thirty-five years old—the prime of his life.
He tried to sort out just what had happened in that chamber, but the specifics were already hazy, like the fading details of a waking dream. He threw on his T-shirt and jeans and then grabbed his blue chambray shirt from a spike by the door and put that over the tee. As he slipped on his black loafers, he glanced back at the donut-shaped ring of the machine that had almost become his tomb. The seam that traveled around it was charred, with faint wisps of smoke still snaking into the air.
“Never again,” Jake muttered.
On the way out, a pretty nurse grabbed Marshall’s hand and slipped him a folded piece of paper. Jake stifled a smile. Ten to one it was her phone number, though the concerned look Marshall exchanged with her suggested otherwise.
Marshall stuffed the paper in his pocket, turned his back on her with a friendly wave, and followed Jake out the door. “Dude, you sure you’re okay?” he asked.
But an odd, sporadic buzzing in Jake’s head told him something was very different.
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The Enemy of My Enemy
Brainrush Series Book 2
The Enemy of My Enemy (Brainrush 2) became the Amazon #1 Top Rated (best reviewed) Mystery/Thriller, AND the #1 Top Rated Action/Adventure within one month of its release. It maintained the #1 or #2 slots for 10 straight months.
Bestselling author Richard Bard returns with his highly rated Brainrush thriller series, pitting hero Jake Bronson against his jihadist nemesis--and a new bioweapon that threatens the soul of every mother in America.
When a freak accident gave Jake Bronson near-superhuman mental powers and landed his loved ones in the crosshairs of an Islamic terrorist, the only way out was with guns blazing. But Jake was unable to put a stop to his nightmares or his murderous nemesis, Luciano Battista, in that ferocious Afghan mountains showdown. Now the terror czar and his minions have brought the fight to American soil--along with the most terrifying bioweapon that has ever threatened the free world. They demand vengeance, and Jake's family and friends are caught in the crossfire.
From California's beaches and Mexico's deserts to the depths of a raging underground river and the treacherous Venezuelan jungle, Jake and his unlikely alliance of combat veterans and gangsters wage a rolling war of wits, weapons, and indomitable will--to rescue those they love, to save America from extinction, and to stop a madman's bid for global conquest dead in its tracks.
Brainrush Series Book 3
With Publishers Weekly heralding the first book in his Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling," and Book-2 holding a death grip on the #1 or #2 slots of the Amazon Top-Rated (best reviewed) Mystery/Thriller and Action/Adventure lists for 10 straight months, Beyond Judgment, the third in the series, sees hero Jake Bronson at the mercy of his hidden past.
After waking up with amnesia from a six-year coma, Jake Bronson's past is lost to him. But that doesn't mean the past hasn't been looking for him--or that it will let him live when it finally catches up.
Jake's placid, anonymous life in Italy is shattered by the arrival of an assassination squad hell-bent on eliminating him--and he has no idea why he's in their crosshairs. He's saved only when an American scientist intervenes, wielding strange technology that briefly reactivates Jake's dormant memories and deadly skills. As unknown enemies continue to hound Jake's every step, the scientist helps him reconnect with lost friends and loved ones who believed him long dead.
Any happy reunion is forfeit, though, as Jake's murky history and mysterious talents conceal a terrible secret that--should it fall into the wrong hands--could trigger the extinction of the human race. Averting this apocalypse means Jake must risk everything to reawaken his true self and stop an ancient order from unleashing humanity's ultimate judgment.
Brainrush Series Book 4
The first three books in #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard's Brainrush series garnered over 2,000 Amazon 5-Star reviews, setting the stage for the continuing story spanning three continents and two more books. With Brainchild (Brainrush 4) called "a high-speed thriller that ignites pages with scenes of action and suspense" by Kirkus Reviews, and Smoke & Mirrors (Brainrush 5) named "best book of the year" by IndieReader.com, this mind-gripping adventure is sure to capture the imagination long after the final heart-stopping chapter.
A gifted boy forced to grow up too fast... A father who will do anything to protect him... A madman bent on destroying them both.
In Amsterdam, a visionary scientist is laying the groundwork for a cybernetic life-extension project that will transfer individual consciousness to a personalized avatar. Halfway around the world, his brilliant grandson is secretly planning to use the same technology to infiltrate the world's most secure networks. But the scientific advances necessary to perfect the brain-to-computer interface are slow in coming, too slow for the aging founder of the Everlast foundation--who may die before realizing his dream of immortality--and too slow for his ruthless grandson, who will stop at nothing to attain the recognition that is his birthright.
Caught in the middle are Jake Bronson and his seven-year-old son, Alex, whose combined mental gifts might provide the key to leapfrogging the impasse.
When Jake's family and closest friends are simultaneously abducted in a globally coordinated kidnapping scheme, he races across two continents before uncovering the first clue to their whereabouts, unaware that his hostage son and teenage siblings crash-landed in the jungles of South China, where they must find every ounce of their courage and wits to survive the wilds and escape the ruthless drug lord who is hot on their heels. Can a seven-year-old boy learn to kill to save his family?
Smoke & Mirrors
Brainrush Series Book 5
Named "Best Book of the Year!" by IndieReader.com
Smoke & Mirrors (Brainrush 5) is the exciting conclusion to Brainchild, Book-4 of the Brainrush series.
A gifted boy forced to grow up too fast... A father who will do anything to protect him... A madman bent on destroying them both.
Jake Bronson and his seven-year-old son, Alex, possess mental gifts that could provide the missing link to a cybernetic life-extension project that will transfer individual consciousness to a personalized avatar. But those same gifts are sought by a Chinese underworld mastermind who will use them to infiltrate the world's most secure networks.
As the story continues from Book-4 of the Brainrush series, Alex and his brother and his sister are lost, and Jake's wife and best friends have been taken hostage. Jake will risk everything to save them, and he is thrust into a frantic race that takes him from the back alleys of Hong Kong to the depths of the South China jungles, where he must lever every scrap of his failing abilities to rescue his loved ones and crush a madman's plans to bring the world to its knees.
Brainrush Series Book 6
#1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard, who entertained fans with his wildly successful Brainrush thriller series, now unleashes the heart-pounding series finale in a two-book ride that will take your breath away.
Jake Bronson's family and friends are mourning him. They'd watched as he sacrificed himself so their lives could return to normal. But normal wasn't to be. The megalomaniac whom Jake had killed during his suicide assault left a legacy of videos that damn Jake and everyone associated with him, leading to a price being put on their heads, dead or alive. They go to ground, unaware their every move is being tracked by a new breed of young, tech-savvy jihadists about to unleash vengeance on America's homeland--with Jake's family and the unsuspecting citizens of Los Angeles in their crosshairs.
As the jaws of the terrorist trap begin to close, Jake's eight-year-old son, Alex, faces a threat of his own. He carries a deadly secret that endangers the world, and now that his father is dead, Alex is the only one who can deal with it. He slips away to heed the call of unearthly visions that demand his presence, and his journey draws him to the back alleys of Bogota, Columbia, where he encounters a group of terminally ill orphans. One of their siblings has been abducted by child traffickers. Alex can't ignore their cry for help, and the unlikely alliance plans a nothing-to-lose rescue mission that has little chance of success.
But the bloodthirsty outcry against Alex's family and friends reaches beyond those who wish them harm, as do the visions that reveal their dark secrets to Alex. Help is on the way...
Against All Odds
Brainrush Series Book 7
The highly anticipated series finale to the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Publishers Weekly called "a terrifically entertaining thriller!"
In this conclusion to Richard Bard's popular Brainrush series, Jake Bronson's family and friends face their biggest threat ever. The startling challenges revealed in No Refuge (book 6) are coming to a head, and the team must wrest every resource available to them in hopes of preventing a terror-driven cataclysm unlike anything America has seen.
But the menace from within America's borders pales by comparison to the global threat revealed to 8-year-old Alex Bronson in a series of otherworldly visions. And Alex isn't the only one targeted by the mind-bending revelations.
The stakes are higher than ever. The fates of America and the world hang in the balance, and Jake Bronson's family and friends must risk everything to tip the scales against evil.
Releases September 12th!!
A Brainrush Novella
From #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard comes a heart-pounding adventure of love, loyalty, and survival - as a gifted child faces the ultimate question of whether or not he can kill in order to save his loved ones.
A gifted 7-year-old boy and his teen siblings are ripped from their peaceful lives--kidnapped by a sinister organization determined to get back at their father. But when their plane crashes an ocean away in the bear-infested jungles of South China, the mysterious motive behind their abduction is the least of their problems, and they must lever every ounce of their courage and wits to survive the wilds and escape the ruthless drug lord who is hot on their heels.
Important Note: Gifted is a compilation novella taken from the Brainrush thriller novels Brainchild and Smoke & Mirrors, which are books four and five of the series. If you've read those full-length novels, then you've already read most of the contents of this novella. If you'd prefer to read the entire series from start to finish, then you'll be happy to learn that Brainrush (Book-1) is currently available FREE.
FREE on Amazon!
Richard Bard draws on his own experiences as a former USAF pilot and cancer survivor to craft compelling characters who risk it all for love and loyalty. Born in Munich, Germany, to American parents, he joined the United States Air Force like his father. But he left the service when he was diagnosed with cancer and learned he had only months to live. He earned a management degree from the University of Notre Dame and ran three successful companies involving advanced security products used by US embassies and governments worldwide. Now a full-time writer, he lives in Redondo Beach, California, with his wife and remains in excellent health.
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