OVERKILL: Five Questions with Ted Bell

New York Times bestselling author Ted Bell

It’s been a long time since the last Alex Hawke thriller hit bookstores (almost three years ago), but trust me, his return is well worth the wait. . . Overkill, Ted Bell’s latest novel, is easily one of the best books of the year.

Different authors are great at different things  — but when it comes to pure writing talent and ability, there is nobody better than Ted Bell. Seriously, if you haven’t read this guy’s stuff, he has world-class writing talent. Yes, of course, the stories are great — and Hawke is a brilliant character — but the cadence that Bell writes with is helplessly addictive and his prose is as strong as steel. Once you start an Alex Hawke novel, there’s no stopping, especially with Overkill, which I personally think might be his best work so far.

For those who haven’t met Lord Alexander Hawke, the sixth-richest man in England and a true warrior to his core who’s capable of breathtaking violence, he’s essentially this generation’s James Bond, but with some serious upgrades. Hawke is slightly bigger, a touch better looking, and definitely has more depth than 007. Plus, Bell rounds out his universe with a great cast of characters, including Ambrose Congreve, a genius Scottland Yard inspector, and the GTO-driving Stokely Jones, who adds a little muscle to the group.
Overkill Follows Patriot (2015) and once again features Alex Hawke going toe-to-toe with Vladimir Putin. Longtime fans will remember Hawke and Putin meeting in Bell’s TSAR, a book that’s made especially noteworthy by the fact that Bell introduced the threat of Russia into his books at a time when most other thriller writers were tackling ISIS and radical Islam. Sure, now everyone’s come back around to Russia, but, with the exception of Daniel Silva, they’re all playing catchup to Bell and Hawke, who’s been kicking Putin’s ass for several years now.
I was so thrilled when Ted Bell agreed to go on the record for our Five Questions segment, and asked him about everything from who his favorite authors are to what’s up with the Hawke movie. Read the brief Q&A below, then keep scrolling to learn more about Overkill, in stores everywhere tomorrow, Tuesday, May 1st.
OVERKILL: Five Questions with Ted Bell


TRBS: Hawke is back! This is your first book since Patriot (2015) — what have you been up to, and what’s up with the Hawke movie?

Bell:  “As my dear old Daddy, a proud son of South Carolina, used to say, I’ve been busy as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs! Projects: Cogitating about the plot and villain for HAWKE XI, all the while bringing HAWKE X to fruition. Working with CAA in Los Angeles on three, count ‘em, three original script ideas for a feature or TV development. Psst! One is a 1950s Disney family comedy to be titled Molly the Wonderdog. Totally psyched about it! And, working with Paramount and screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Thomas Crown Affair, Total Recall) to get the script for Hawke (based on Patriot) on the desk of the head honcho at Paramount Pictures. Mission Accomplished. Oh, and restoring a 200-year-old farmhouse in backcountry Connecticut called Old Mill Farm. It’s now my dream house, perfect for the writer’s life. All I need now is a good hound dog. Named ‘Captain.'”


TRBS: If you could pick any actor to play Alex Hawke on the big screen, who would be your dream casting choice?
Bell: “Tough one. I’m torn. I loved Chris Hemsworth in Ron Howard’s wonderful Formula 1 racing movie Rush. He nailed a handsome young British aristocratic hero who had his faults and weaknesses but was triumphant in the end. I think he’s incredibly smart, an actor who could bring Alex Hawke to life as a 21st Century Bond. My personal dream. And then there is Tom. I first saw Tom Hardy in a brilliant film, Legend. About the Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie, two gangsters who terrorized London in the early Beatles era. One is a sadistic psychopath, a two-legged human nightmare. The other is a handsome, charismatic charmer, a ladies’ man who tries to control his out-of-control bro. I told a pal how much I loved the film and she said, ‘Yeah, Tom Hardy’s brilliant.’ I said, ‘Was he Ronnie? Or Reggie?’ And she said, ‘Both.’ Wow. I believe Sean Connery’s sheer animal magnetism drove his success as 007.  I think Tom is the closest approximation in this era. So, yeah, like I said. Torn.”

TRBS: Overkill is fantastic, maybe even your best work yet. How did you come up with the plot idea for this book, and how much research did you have to do before actually sitting down to write it?


Bell: I’ve never gotten over Goldfinger. A teenager, I watched the trailer, mesmerized. Rob Ft. Knox? Yeah, right. Gimme a break. All of our gold’s in there! It’s the most heavily guarded place on the planet! I couldn’t wait to see it! So here we are, a few years later, and I’m looking to give my villains a Herculean challenge. Something manifestly beyond any chance of success. So… I know! Steal all the gold in bloody SWITZERLAND! So, that’s it. Overkill is my Goldfinger. Simple as that. And every bit of the detail about the Swiss military, their amazing defenses against armed invasion? All 100% true. You’d have to be a fool to think you could pull off that heist. But, Putin’s got other ideas.”

TRBS: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Bell: “In no particular order: Mark Twain, Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Hemingway, Rex Stout, Dickens, Raymond, Chandler, Tom Wolfe, Nelson DeMille, Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, etc.” 

TRBS: Lastly, what’s next for Alex Hawke after Overkill?

Bell: “After all the hardcore crap Putin goes through at the hands of Hawke in OVERKILL, I’ve decided to give the poor bastard a year off.  Although he may do a cameo in a casino where he ends up at the same table as Alex and loses to him at chemin de fer! In Hawke Xl, Hawke will find himself in the clutches of a vast and powerful Oriental crime family, one that dates back to the 12th Century! A midnight call from Sir David, Chief of MI6, triggers the action. Apparently, the Queen has called. Prince Andrew’s ‘secret son,’ a 25-year-old playboy named Prince Henry, is a victim of foul play. While on vacation at an ultra-exclusive island resort in the Caribbean, the young royal, privately Her Majesty’s favorite grandchild, turns up dead. Interpol and the Bahamian Constabulary are handling the case and Her Royal Majesty is not happy with their finding: a drug overdose. She demands that Commander Hawke be dispatched to the swanky tropical crime scene immediately! And so it begins…Hawke vs. The Most Powerful Crime Syndicate on Earth!”


Putting it all on the line to rescue his kidnapped son pits counterspy Alex Hawke against Russian President Vladimir Putin in this action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author Ted Bell.

On a ski vacation in the Swiss Alps high above St. Moritz, Alex Hawke and his young son, Alexei, are thrust into danger when the tram carrying them to the top of the mountain bursts into flame, separating the two. Before he can reach Alexei, the boy is snatched from the burning cable car by unknown assailants in a helicopter.

Meanwhile, high above the skies of France, Vladimir Putin is aboard his presidential jet after escaping a bloodless coup in the Kremlin. When two flight attendants collapse and slip into unconsciousness, the Russian leader realizes the danger isn’t over. Killing the pilots, he grabs a parachute, steps out of the plane . . . and disappears.

Hawke has led his share of dangerous assignments, but none with stakes this high. To save his son, he summons his trusted colleagues, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard Ambrose Congreve, former U.S. Navy SEAL Stokley Jones, Jr., and recruits a crack Hostage Rescue Team—a group of elite soldiers of fortune known as “Thunder & Lighting.” Before they can devise a rescue plan, Hawke must figure out who took his boy—and why. An operative who has fought antagonists around the globe, Hawke has made many enemies; one, in particular, may hold the key to finding Alexei before it’s too late.

But an unexpected threat complicates their mission. Making his way to “Falcon’s Lair,” the former Nazi complex created for Hitler, Putin is amassing an impressive armory that he intends to use for his triumphant return to Moscow.

Only one man can smash the Russian president’s plan for domination—a master counterspy who will cross every line to save his son . . . and maybe save the world itself in the bargain.



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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