Martin Roy Hill

The Last Refuge

Greed, Corruption, and Government Secrets Lead to Murder

Description

Iraq, 1991: Operation Desert Storm. In a terrible friendly fire incident, a U.S. helicopter massacres a small convoy of American MPs. Among the dead: a mysterious American civilian engineer discovered by the soldiers behind enemy lines.

San Diego, CA, 1993: A freelance journalist is hired to write a story about a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the dead engineer’s widow against the government and the defense contractor he worked for. The problem: the government insists the lawsuit does not exist, and the contractor claims the engineer did not work for them. Worse, someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Peter Brandt, the war-scarred journalist hero of Empty Places, returns in this story of greed, betrayal, and government secrets. Can Peter expose the truth without becoming another victim of the wartime tragedy?

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Martin Roy Hill has led an eclectic life. Soldier, sailor, journalist . . . well, not a spy, but he has written about them.

Martin joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve when he was 19, the same year he sold his first published piece to Reader’s Digest. He spent a total of 13 years as a Coastguardsman, in two tours, involved in small boat search and rescue, emergency medical response, port security, and maritime law enforcement.

In between those tours, he served in a counter-insurgency unit in the U.S. Navy Reserve. After a final stint of Coast Guard active duty following the 9/11 attacks, Martin was offered a commission as a medical service corps officer in a component of the California National Guard, where he trained combat medics for Iraq and Afghanistan. Later, Martin converted to the military police, retiring in 2016 as a major and executive officer of an MP unit.

Martin also served as a wilderness medic and operations sergeant with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Wilderness Search and Rescue Detail, where he was cross trained as a tactical (SWAT) medic. Martin also spent several years as a medic and security specialist with a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

Martin received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from CSU Dominguez Hills, and spent more than 20 years as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines. His investigative reporting earned him numerous journalism honors, including two William Allen White Awards. His stories were included in three of the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ annual compilations of the best investigative reporting. He also worked as a freelance correspondent for LIFE and Newsweek.

After serving on active duty following the 9/11 attacks, Martin switched careers, becoming a U.S. Navy analyst in combat casualty care, a position he held for 16 years.

Between his military, public safety, and journalism careers, Martin experienced many adventures. In the Coast Guard, he participated in dozens of rescues, chased Russian spy ships and smugglers, protected dignitaries, and once was nearly lost at sea in a storm. In the Navy, he was assigned to liaison with a USCG patrol boat during war games, and ended up participating in what at the time was the largest drug bust in U.S. history.

He’s been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and once followed a migrant trail from the U.S. into Mexico (at that country’s request) to locate the remains of a woman who died along the trail so the smuggler leading her group could be prosecuted for her death. As a journalist, he covered disasters, air crashes, wild fires, as well as national and international leaders.

Martin’s freelance credits include Reader’s Digest, LIFE, Newsweek, Omni, American History, Writer’s Digest, Coast Guard Magazine, Retired Officer Magazine, The Compass, Aviation History, Mother Jones, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion, and Travel sections, and many more. He was a lead contributor to the 1995 WWII anthology, “From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki: America at War,” published by the Retired Officer Association, and a contributor to the 2013 American Civil War anthology “Gettysburg: Three Days that Saved the United States,” published by I-5 Publishing.

Martin’s background plays a significant role in his writing, which many reviewers have noted has a sense of realism not often found in fiction. His first book, DUTY, a collection of short stories centered around national service, was named the 2012 Best Short Story Anthology/Collection by the San Diego Book Awards Association. His novel, The Butcher’s Bill, was named the 2017 Best Suspense/Thriller Novel by the Best Indie Book Awards, and short-listed for the 2017 Clue Award for best thriller.

Besides his novels, Martin’s short stories have appeared in such publications as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, ALT HIST: The Journal of Historical Fiction and Alternative History, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Crimson Streets, Nebula Rift, Devolution Z, and others.

Martin is a professional member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.