Randall Jarmon's Guide to His Riley/ Blue Dog Series
Here I offer readers opportunity to refresh their memories of the Riley/ Blue Dog series.
Some readers won't need to refresh their memories and easily can ignore this reference. Others, I among them, will prefer some refresher. Therefore, I begin with a listing of the books in the Riley/ Blue Dog series, indicating how they fit together.
These books, except for this last one, can be read in any order. Even the last one is not so far from being a stand alone novel. However, those who prefer a recommended sequence might reasonably proceed this way:
1. Begin with Winning Numbers: An Introduction to the Riley Family. There you meet the three Riley brothers, follow them through their time in Vietnam, and into late middle age. By then, they run Trenchant Security, which provides high-stakes security guard services characterized by advanced technology and ex-military heroes. Trenchant's formidable.
2. Next comes Sheila and Recluse. The reader encounters Blue Dog, a crusty commando type who officially doesn't exist. Readers also meet Walter and Constance Lindblohm, who oversee a financial empire. A terrorist group, The Movement, also gets introduced. Think of The Movement as what Osama Bin Laden might have created given more money, more time, and better insight. The Movement is just beginning to emerge from the shadows.
3. Rebel's Trap weaves together the storylines of the first two books, and adds more. Its main characters are John Travis (a.k.a. Rebel), Mary O'Connell, and an arch-villainess called The Valkyrie. By mid-story, the long-term teams are in place for a long-term contest between good and evil. The Rileys, Walter Lindblohm's internal security force, Blue Dog's world-class operatives, and Rebel comprise the good-guy side. The wicked organize around The Movement, The Valkyrie, and assorted freelancing criminals.
4. Battle Springs comes next. Nancy South enters the series. She's the world-class entrepreneur who will turn desolate West Texas prairie into North America's best small resort. Her achievement is matched by the high-tech business her father-in-law, James South, and his business partner, Judson Clark, establish there. The two men, with help from the Rileys, will take on the very best talent The Movement can throw against them.
5. Then read Spitzer Zahn. A tiny island just outside U.S. territorial waters becomes important to U.S. security as Blue Dog sets up a major enhancement to America's cybersecurity defenses. Readers meet tough guy Mark East (a.k.a. Badger), radio evangelist Amos Kirk, and Kirk's widowed daughter, Rachel Jusino. These three must defend the very special island from The Movement's efforts to destroy its work. Kirk, without knowing it, must also defend America from The Movement's apostasies, which target America's essential values.
6. The final book is When Founders Leave. Think of it as an epilogue for the series. Readers see what happened to the main characters readers met in the earlier novels.
There are three other novels that started out to be independent of the Riley/ Blue Dog series, but ended up in it. Sort of in it, that is. You can read these novels anytime in among the first five books above.
The first one's called The Gun Lap: A Story of Revenge and Faith. It's tells of a tiny firm that provides temporary security guards. Unlike Trenchant, the little firm, AWSS, is a temporary help service. It also has a remarkable intelligence function unmatched anyplace in North America.
The second one is Mudfoot and Tori. Victoria Winston is the conservative owner of a successful small business in socialist Montshire, which is still New England's poorest state by far. Then David Mudfoot comes to town. He and Tori will go on to dramatically revamp the drab world around them, but neither knows that yet.
The third is Among the Ruthless. This is a secular novel, not a Christian suspense novel. It connects to the Riley/ Blue Dog series only because the Riley Family firm, Trenchant Security, plays a key supporting role. Specifically, they help the protagonist stop a spy from helping a terrorist.
That's the series. Nine books, all but one of them a Christian romantic suspense novel written for both men and women to enjoy equally well. Further, I've tried to make them appealing to many non-Christians. The goal was to create genuinely good stories just about anyone would happily take on a three-plane travel day.
I end my present refresher by listing the more prominent characters in the Riley/ Blue Dog Series. If you need a reference to who's who, what follows might suffice:
Abigail West – Wife of Marcus West. She and he co-own AWSS and are the parents of Amanda West.
Ara – One of ten candidates to succeed The Leader, she instead becomes the likely successor to Lion 1.
Akeem Asadel – A Movement spy in Chicago's financial services industry.
Aki Kimura – retired Alaskan veterinarian who found and trained David Mudfoot's dog, Thug. Friend of Dawson Wicks and David Mudfoot. Forever one of Thug's favorite humans.
Aleksey – A former Olympic boxer who now serves as Ferret's deadly bodyguard.
Alicia Wicks – One of the world's smartest and richest women. Unofficial big sister of David Mudfoot. Wife of Dawson Wicks. Long-time friend of Lady Bytes Riley.
Amanda West – The daughter of Abigail and Marcus West, who co-own AWSS.
Amrit Pooja – The Registrar at Montshire Agricultural and Military University
Anne Davis – A former East Texas associate county prosecutor, who works for Judson Clark---until he makes her so angry that she quits.
Architect – A former structural engineer who now provides criminals useful information on particular buildings' security flaws.
Barnaby Maxwell, IV – Campaign manager for Montshire's socialist governor, Glynnis Fletch.
Blue Dog – The long-term head of America's most secretive Black Ops forces. Married to Constance Lindblohm's sister, Lois.
Bugsy and Hoop – Two young Trenchant IT geniuses sent to help David Mudfoot.
Bytes Riley – The middle brother among the three Trenchant Security founders. Brother of Spook Riley and Daniel Riley. Husband of Lady Bytes Riley. Father of Jeff, Kevin, and James Riley. Long-time friend of Dawson Wicks. Routinely considered one of the best small-company CEOs in the U.S.
Carlo Frantoni – a superstar chef with his own restaurant in Battle Springs, Texas.
Chester Barnes – A construction company owner who builds elegant, well-fortified buildings almost overnight through artful use of prefabrication, topflight construction crews, and round-the-clock operation. Husband of Millie Barnes.
Constance Lindblohm – Highly intelligent wife of Walter Lindblohm. Self-appointed matchmaker for Mark East. Sister of Lois Buchanan. Mary O'Connell's Aunt Connie. Best friend forever of Ellen Custer, better known as Ellie.
Coral – Big, strong ex-convict who has become The Valkyrie's protege. Smart. Well-educated. Very deadly in a hand-to-hand fight.
Danger 1, 2 and 3 – Movement killers to be trained in Montshire by Rural Mentor.
Daniel Riley – Youngest of Trenchant's three founders. Father of random number science. Husband of Deborah Riley. Adoptive father of Shawn Riley.
David Campbell – A quiet, unassuming genius. He meets Spookette Riley in a graduate mathematics class. She soon decides he might be the one for her.
Dawson Wicks – A tough guy prospector more or less sixty years old, who with his wife has amassed one of the world's ten biggest fortunes. Friend, mentor, supervisor, and business partner for David Mudfoot. Wife of Alicia Wicks. Long-time friend of Bytes Riley.
Ellen Custer (a.k.a. Ellie) – Dallas, Texas pastor's wife. World-class linguist. Mentor and matchmaker for Adam North. Best friend forever of Constance Lindblohm.
Enforcers – These are KGB assassins used to silence Soviet dissidents at home and abroad. Almost twenty enforcers have small roles in the novels.
Ferret – A criminal who hacked into hotel servers, searching for information suitable for blackmail or identity theft.
Fritz – A former German racecar driver who now runs a very high-end racecar maintenance service. Driving coach and car tutor for Walter Lindblohm and Adam North.
Glynnis Fletch – The socialist governor of Montshire.
Green Leader – The head of a major environmentalist organization. Green Leader has used The Valkyrie's lethal services to advance his career.
Gregory Barluski – A medical researcher, whose work is appropriated by Victor Taggert when Taggert must feign serious illness.
Gunsmith – A dealer in illegal weaponry. Gunsmith has often supplied Victor Taggert's ad hoc kill teams.
Harry Toropov – Better known as Knuckles. Tough-guy Arizona cop. Mentor to Thomas Irwin. Close friend of a U.S. President.
Hoop and Bugsy – Two young Trenchant IT geniuses sent to help David Mudfoot.
Horace Crump – The president of Montshire A&M University. Formerly the long-time majority leader in Montshire state government's House of Delegates.
James Riley – The Cousin with the strongest aptitude for Trenchant's financial aspects. Brother of Jeff and Kevin Riley -- Son of Bytes Riley and Lady Bytes Riley.
Jeff Riley – The smartest of the Cousins, he runs Trenchant's well-regarded technology lab.
Jenny Riley – Daughter of Robbie and Darlene Riley. Same age as Shawn Riley.
Jimmy South – James South's son and Nancy South's husband. Jimmy's unmatched genius for producing wine takes him to West Texas, where his wife absolutely did not want to live.
Judson Clark – An atheist lawyer who is James South's best friend. In their army days, he and South carried out some of the Vietnam War's most dangerous missions. For a short time, Clark is the employer of Anne Davis.
Kevin Riley -- The biggest, strongest Cousin who will lead Trenchant's harbor security initiatives. Brother of Jeff and James Riley. Son of Bytes Riley and Lady Bytes Riley.
Kimberly Baxter – A CIA toxicologist. Inventor of KB-67, an especially deadly aerosol poison.
Lab Rat – A former high school teacher and former convict who now provides technical support for The Valkyrie.
Lady Bytes Riley – Trenchant Security's no-nonsense, opinionated executive vice president for administration. Wife of Bytes Riley. Mother of Jeff, James, and Kevin Riley.
Lady Spook Riley -- Once a much-respected psychiatrist within the U.S. intelligence community, she now maintains her own, small psychiatric practice. She expects her daughter, Ashley Riley (a.k.a. Spookette) to someday join her in the practice. Lady Spook is wife to Spook Riley, mother to Robbie, Mike, and Ashley Riley.
Lion 1 – Second in command for The Movement. Long-time friend of The Leader. Acts as both The Leader's chief of staff and as his propaganda minister.
Lion 12 – A thirty-something Movement agent gathering surveillance data on potential targets throughout Texas.
Logan Blake – An erstwhile Border Patrol officer pursuing a master's degree in electronics at Schenectady Valley Institute, along with a doctorate in cryptography. Hired by AWSS to help Marcus West.
Lorraine Harrison – The senior waitress at the Tori's Place restaurant in East Frogpatch, Montshire.
Ludmilla – The wife of New Cross. She has frail health, strong faith, and plenty of courage.
Lulabelle Ginsburg – A Montshire A&M University faculty member who becomes a target for assassination.
Mary O'Connell – Fifty-something famous artist. Daughter of Quentin Surrey. Niece to Constance Lindblohm and Lois Buchanan.
Mike Riley – The Cousin on track to be the firm's CEO. Younger son of Spook and Lady Spook Riley. Brother of Robbie Riley and Ashley Riley Campbell (a.k.a. Spookette).
Millie Barnes – Opinionated wife of Chester Barnes. Cable food show co-hostess with Ruth MacKenzie. First mayor of Battle Springs, Texas.
Mindy Martinez – The Trenchant Security Personnel Director and successor to Trenchant's Vice President for Administration, Lady Bytes Riley.
Molly Olson – A young Capitol Hill staffer who fights back when a U.S. senator tries to grope her in an elevator. She'll have to leave Washington, D.C. to preserve even a shred of her government career, but that becomes a good outcome.
New Cross – A late career Christian computer programmer working within the Moscow KGB headquarters on its most sensitive secrets. Married to Ludmilla.
Newton Guiterrez – The rotund genius who oversees the Pentagon's most important R&D.
North Hammer – Blue Dog's Finnish counterpart and long-time friend.
Oliver Smith (a.k.a. Smitty) – Ex-SEAL, accomplished martial artist, and head of security for AWSS.
Padgett Fudd – A Montshire House of Delegates member who, after the governor, might well be the most powerful politician in socialist Montshire.
Quentin Surrey – Once America's most successful spymaster. With Blue Dog, oversaw John Travis' (e.g. Rebel's) dangerous work. Father of Mary O'Connell.
Robbie Riley – Eldest of the Cousins. The best lobbyist/ salesperson among the Cousins and also their expert on martial arts. Husband to Darlene. Father of Jenny. Brother of Mike Riley and of Ashley Riley Campbell (a.k.a. Spookette). Son of Spook and Lady Spook Riley.
Rural Mentor – A senior member of The Movement responsible for training Movement personnel in terrorist tactics germane to rural U.S. settings.
Ruth Mackenzie – A pretty widow about to lose her ranch, until she becomes James South's business partner. Their joint venture that could last twenty years.
Sami Mansour – Business partner of John Travis (a.k.a. Rebel) before becoming one of The Movement's victims.
Serpent 1 and Serpent 2 – Serial killers sent to America by The Movement and charged with killing Christians.
Shaloosha Higgenbotham – The provost for Montshire A&M University.
Sheila Wilson – A widowed missionary doctor who returns to the U.S. after decades in Africa. She seeks to start her own U.S. medical practice. Friend of Constance Lindblohm.
Spider – The janitor who watches Thomas Irwin's back. Spider might be America's best electrical engineer in the defense industry.
Spook Riley – Eldest of the three Riley brothers who founded Trenchant. Skilled politician, natural leader, quintessential tough guy. Father of Robbie Riley, Mike Riley, and Ashley Riley Campbell (a.k.a. Spookette). Husband of Lady Spook Riley.
Spookette Riley Campbell – (a.k.a. Ashley Riley Campbell) Daughter of Spook and Lady Spook Riley. Wife of David Campbell. Unofficial big sister of Shawn McSweeney.
Spoons – Wife of Spider. Extraordinary chef. The former matchmaking queen of Phoenix, Arizona.
The Provider – A Movement logistics expert charged with helping Serpent 1 and Serpent 2 kill Christians.
The Leader – An arch-villain of the Osama Bin Laden sort, only with more money, more time, and more experts. He's part islamist, part fascist, and part nuts.
The Reaper – A male assassin about ten years older than Valkyrie. They once met briefly and remain on friendly terms.
The Valkyrie – A fifty-something female assassin who might be the best in the world at what she does. Her protege is Coral. Technical support comes from Lab Rat. For awhile, Valkyrie will be called Lioness 1. She hates Blue Dog.
Thomas Irwin – A successful young inventor ready to settle down and start a family. His deadly skills and unique circumstances get in the way, though. There's one more job he has to do first.
Victor Taggert – A career criminal who found killers for contract murders. His long-time girlfriend is Candace Mason. His recent other girlfriend goes by the name Wall Fly. Taggert is consumed with killing Abigail West.
Wall Fly – Occasional sexual partner of Victor Taggert. Sometimes furnishes contract surveillance personnel.
Walter Lindblohm – Possibly the world's wealthiest man, and certainly its wealthiest financier. Angel investor. Sports car aficionado. World-class brilliant. Adam North's long-time friend, employer, and business partner. Husband of Contance Lindblohm.
Wilbur Perceival – A principal in consulting firm Whispered Wisdom. Perceival serves as the confidential, personal coach for Horace Crump, the president of Montshire A&M University.
Yuri Petrovich – A Soviet KGB officer who spent most of his KGB career attempting to track down and kill Adam North (a.k.a Recluse)