DEADLY DIAMONDS, the Fourth Novel in the Knight-Devlin Legal Thriller Series by John F. Dobbyn, Releases September 3, 2013

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DEADLY DIAMONDS by John F. Dobbyn releases on September 3, 2013.

Deadly Diamonds by John F. Dobbyn

"DEADLY DIAMONDS takes you from mob strongholds in Boston to the diamond pits of Sierra Leone, in a plot twisty enough to leave skid marks on the page. A great read!" Lisa Scottoline, New York Times Best-Selling Author of DON'T GO and ACCUSED

DEADLY DIAMONDS by John F. Dobbyn releases in Hardcover (ISBN 978-1-60809-092-1, Thriller, 304 Pages, List $26.95) and all eBook/Digital platforms (ISBN 978-1-60809-093-8, List $14.95) nationwide on September 3, 2013.

In DEADLY DIAMONDS, the protagonists, Michael Knight and Lex Devlin take on the Italian Mafia and Irish Mafia of Boston, remnants of the IRA in Ireland, and the deadly child army of Sierra Leone. Can they stop the enormously profitable trade of 'blood diamonds', the tainted stones mined by enslaved children, and smuggled into the mainstream for cash to buy weapons and drugs?

The author, John F. Dobbyn had this to say about 'blood diamonds' as a result of his research for DEADLY DIAMONDS:

"Say the word, 'diamond', and you conjure visions of brilliance, purity, and romance. Combine it with the word, 'blood', as in 'blood diamond', and it screams of acts so horrific that only Satan himself could originate them.

"Consider what the lust for diamonds has done to the little west African country of Sierra Leone. Just as liquid wealth gushes out of the ground in Dubai and into the living standards of its people, so too, Sierra Leone had the potential for one of the highest standards of living of any country in the world, courtesy of the abundantly rich deposits of rough diamonds on and under its soil. And yet, in a recent United Nations ranking of 170 countries in terms of levels of poverty, Sierra Leone hit the bottom rung. It was ranked 170th. Why the derailment of this glorious potential?

"Begin with a 'government', in the loosest usage of that term, whose sole claim to accomplishment is its commitment to graft and greed-fired corruption. That alone could short-circuit the flow of the land’s flow of bountiful benefits to the people. But combine it with the following, and the result is inevitably the past and current state of the people of Sierra Leone.

"In 1991, a rebel band calling itself the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) took training from neighboring Liberian forces in the art of terroristic inhumanity and crossed into Sierra Leone, apparently as a revolt against the government’s seizing of the diamond resources for its own benefit. The motive soon degenerated into its own addictive lust for those same diamonds.

"RUF tactics were straight from hell. Mobs of their renegade teen-agers, illiterate and drugged beyond the reach of conscience, would course through a jungle village in a topless pickup truck spraying death randomly out of the barrels of AK-47s. Men, women, and young children fell like stalks of wheat before a thresher. I’ll not be more specific in terms of their signature brands of torture of those left alive. The RUF’s personal nicknames, such as General Babykiller, and operation names, such as Operation No Living Thing, will bring you as close to the level of personal nightmares as you want to come.

"Young boys, from fifteen down to eight years old, would be taken, forced to kill with the ubiquitous AK-47, sometimes of their own families, and then claimed as part of the drugged up army of killers.

"And why this total degradation of any spark of humanity? One reason. To serve their own impelling drive for control of the diamond-rich pits in eastern Sierra Leone. Once they had control, rough diamonds would be mined by slave labor in the fetid water of the pits, smuggled across the compliant border of Liberia, and exchanged with any of the horde of 'diamond merchants' there for more AK-47s and more drugs. And the cycle would continue.

"One estimate places the annual profit to the RUF from its illicit trade in rough diamonds somewhere between twenty-five million and one hundred and twenty-five million dollars. And remember, that profit was snatched from the national resource that could have lifted the people of Sierra Leone from its condition of squalor, hunger, and disease.

"Once the RUF passed the rough diamonds into the hands of the waiting merchants, and they were cut and polished, these 'blood' or 'conflict' diamonds blended indistinguishably with the 'legitimate' flow of diamonds, ultimately reaching the jewelry stores from which Americans buy eighty percent of the world’s gem diamonds without thinking to question their provenance.

"Late in 2000, an eventual agreement of ceasefire between the RUF and the government was put together. The provision was for the disarmament of the RUF during 2001, and on January 18, 2002, the rebel’s war was declared 'officially ended'. The abomination of the previous eleven years of decimating hostilities finally came to rest. What was left was the shambles of the butchered and impoverished populace with little hope for a way to recover.

"The RUF’s leadership, turned its energies to a political approach with little success. One has to wonder what the rank and file of the previous teen-age thugs and murderers have made their lives’ work in areas of the country not famously open to public view. In a broader view, the extent to which the seizure of diamond pits by armed forces in other central and west African countries continues is still open to question.

"Diamonds are a unique form of wealth. It is said that it is possible to hide enough diamonds to insure a lifetime of luxury on one’s naked body. The profits, thanks to the accomplishment of the De Beers company in keeping the price of diamonds at an immensely exaggerated level, are a staggering temptation to illicit trade.

"One recent observation of the state of the people of Sierra Leone after these thirteen post-war years is that the 'legitimate' mining and sale of Sierra Leone diamonds is highly profitable to the companies of foreign countries that engage in it behind formidable security barriers. The 'government' quite likely gets a cut. But the impoverished state of the people of Sierra Leone has sadly shown little visible improvement."            

John F. Dobbyn is a professor of law at Villanova Law School. He has had twenty-seven short stories published by Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and he is the author of four legal thrillers featuring Michael Knight and Lex Devlin. Dobbyn is a Boston native and now resides in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, with his wife Lois.

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