Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spotlight: Strike of the Cobra by Stephen Heubach


Strike of the Cobra by Stephen Heubach * Connect on Twitter
Published by Mereo (5 Nov 2013)

“Started in the morning of Boxing Day and couldn't put it down until I had finished it that night.”

Strike of the Cobra is based on true events. A few of the names and locations have been altered due to the story culminating in a trial at The Old Bailey. It is a thrilling tale of crime, subterfuge and drug smuggling in Britain, Turkey and Singapore.

It all began in early January at an evening of the International Boat Show at Earls Court in London. Stephen was approached by a well-dressed Mediterranean looking gentleman. He was alone on the booth, quietly closing up, the crowds had long since dispersed and his colleagues had headed to the bar. This was just the moment he had been waiting for.

He was polite and took a false interest in the five small sailing craft on show that my business partner and I had spent years perfecting. He asked if we would be interested in manufacturing our boats for a more reasonable price in his own factory in Turkey. I was sceptical but mentioned that we were actively looking for small sports/recreation boats. He said that they made just the thing and would come back to see me the following day with details.

Arranging to visit the factory was difficult; they could not accommodate Stepen for at least a month. The Turkish gentleman showed Stephen to his car at the airport, supposedly his own, but the carpets had recently been wet vaxed, there was condensation on the inside of the windows, only one key on the fob, no personal effects at all. Stephen was sure the Mercedes 200 was a rental, the Turkish gentleman was lying; alarm bells were already ringing. Stephen thought about getting the next plane home.

They travelled towards the factory the following morning but he would not give any detail of its location. Stephen was becoming increasingly troubled by the lack of forthcoming information, there was not even a map in the car for reference, nobody on the planet, not even Stephen knew where he was and he’d broken his mobile phone by dropping it at the airport. After 2 hours they were off onto unmade, unmarked roads. The Turkish gentlemen sensed his apprehension, and objected to his questioning, eventually telling Stephen with pride that he had kidnapped him. This did not seem ridiculous at that moment as none of the pieces seemed to fit together, Stephen’s anxiety grew.