Category Archives: Mysteries & Thrillers

Military Thriller Spotlight and Author Interview: Bureau 39 by Jeffrey Miller @Papa_Sparks


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Thriller/Military


bureau 39

Release Date: 06/20/2107

For decades since the collapse of communism, the so-called “hermit kingdom” has survived by making international crime a state enterprise.

CIA operative Frank Mitchum’s area of specialty is Bureau 39 – the top-secret government unit responsible for financing the rogue state’s weapons of mass destruction. Mitchum uncovers the involvement of Jimmy Wu, a Hong Kong methamphetamine mogul, whose cross-border smuggling routes are vital to Bureau 39’s supply of WMD components.

An explosion at a container terminal in Hong Kong, an arms dealer and smuggler arrested in Thailand, and the disappearance of a CIA asset plague the investigation.

Even as the bodies pile up, Mitchum races to cut off Bureau 39’s resources before it is too late; because the threat of the world’s first nuclear holocaust depends on it.

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Excerpt:

“There’s this businessman in Hong Kong, Jimmy Wu, who has some close ties to North Korea. He has a laundry detergent factory in the North which we believe is a front for a crystal methamphetamine lab.”

“Jesus, are you serious? Breaking Bad in North Korea, huh? Who does Kim Jong-un think he is, Walter White?”

Frank grinned. “We know he’s been smuggling drugs into China as well as Southeast Asia, but we also suspect he might be using the same distribution networks to smuggle missile and rocket components back into the North. It’s just a theory that I have, but given how desperate the North is, it is a viable one.

One of the Agency’s biggest fears was the North’s ability to continue its weapons of mass destruction programs despite continued sanctions. It was possible, given satellite imagery of known missile sites, that the North had stepped up its missile program which suggested that the same networks used for smuggling drugs had also been supplying the North with key missile components as Frank prophesied with his theory. The key was Macau. Frank believed that Pyongyang had been using it to funnel money into the country and also using it as a distribution and logistics center for the material it needed from countries in North Africa and the Middle East, the only places other than China that still had business connections with the North. To test the theory, there was only one way Frank could be certain: they needed to have someone deep cover.

Song deliberated what his friend had said and finished his hot dog. He crumpled up the wrapper and tossed it into a nearby trashcan. “That doesn’t sound good.”

“Tell me about it,” Frank said. “And I don’t need to tell you what could happen if the North has the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead.”


About the Author:

jeffrey miller

Jeffrey Miller has spent nearly three decades in Asia as a university lecturer, writer, and journalist. Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, he relocated to South Korea in 1990 where he nurtured a love for spicy Korean food, Buddhist temples, and East Asian History.

His work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including A-Minor Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Eunoia Review and the Toasted Cheese Literary Journal. 

He is the author of ten books including War Remains a Korean War Novel, Ice Cream Headache, The Panama Affair, and Bureau 39.

He currently resides in Daejeon with his wife and four children. If he’s not working, writing, or reading, he’s usually chasing little kids around his home.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? You’re welcome. I am very happy to take part in this interview and would also like to thank Fire & Ice Book Promos for giving this opportunity to talk about their books.

How many books do you currently have published? Ten

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? Wow, that’s a tough question because all my books are very near and dear to me (grins). Each one is my favorite for each reason that I wrote it. For example, War Remains, my first one, a novel about the Korean War was based on some interviews I had done with returning Korean War veterans in 2000 when I was writing for the Korea Times, the oldest English language newspaper in Korea. I learned so much about the so-called “forgotten war” through these interviews, and my first novel explored this feeling I had when I interviewed these veterans to tell their story. In another book, Ice Cream Headache, I travel back in time to 1968 to write about a small town in Illinois and how this small town and the people who lived in it were a microcosm of the nation during that seminal and tragic year.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? Yes, I am. I’ve already finished my eleventh book which is a dark comedy about America and fracking. I have three more books in the works, including my first foray into horror writing. I’m really excited about that one.

What do you enjoy most about writing? The discovery that takes place. Every time I begin a new project, I never know where the journey will take me. And in the process, I learn something about myself in the stories that I tell.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? Every day! Actually, I believe there is no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just a part of the writing process where you are thinking through an idea. And when I am stuck, I move to another project. I never miss a beat or an opportunity when it comes to writing.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? This happened with the character Gordon Fletcher in Bureau 39. He was much different in earlier versions in terms of his evilness. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the plot, but he will surprise readers at the end of the story!

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? My favorite character would have to be Bobby in War Remains. He’s the only character who made me cry. And my least favorite would be Nicky Jones in When a Hard Rain Falls. The man is pure evil.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? Because I see all my books as a movie (I started out as a film major before I changed my major to English) so many scenes have stood out because of their visualization. The river scene at the end of When a Hard Rain Falls, the street battle in Panama City during Operation Just Cause in The Panama Affair, and the cabin scene at the end of I’ll Be Home for Christmas were not only my favorite scenes to write but also my hardest. Maybe that’s why they stand out more than others because I really had to get them right.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? The importance of revision and putting aside your manuscript for a while—something that Stephen King suggests, to come back to your manuscript after a period of time with a fresh set of eyes.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? War Remains. That’s where it all started. It’s no surprise that this novel is my best seller and one that has resonated the most with readers.

Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character? It would have to be Yoo-ri in Bureau 39. She didn’t play a big part in earlier versions of the manuscript, but she does now! I think readers are going to like her.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? Anything by James Lee Burke, Robert Olen Butler, Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, Stephen King, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Ray Bradbury.

What about television shows? Movies? Fargo, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Bosch, Twin Peaks, Man in the High Castle.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? Fahrenheit 451. I teach this book in one of my composition classes, so I re-read it about three times a year. I like it for a number of reasons, but it’s really all about the importance of books and the impact they have in our lives.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? I came. I saw. I wrote. Okay, that was six words. Sorry. (grins).

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? I have spent the past 28 years living in Asia, and one thing that comes through a lot of my fiction is the importance of home—the roots that we have that tie us to one place. In many of my stories “I am going home” either in the stories or the memories that the characters share or in the case of Ice Cream Headache, physically traveling back in time to 1968. I think readers will get to know me more as a writer and a person when they accompany me on one of my literary journeys.

Thank you again so much for allowing me the chance to talk about my books and myself.


Young Adult Fantasy Featured Book: In the Light of the Eclipse by Bryan Caron


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Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance


eclipse_book_cover.jpg

Where God so loved the world, Heather (or as few have dared to dub her “the goddess of condemnation”) holds a much crueler hand over her inhabitants. Every seventeen years, under her ever-watchful eye, an eclipse renders her land dark, taking the soul of everyone over the age of seventeen to the land of the unknown nothing. In its wake, Heather bestows the gift of a child upon the land. Some believe this child has special powers; others believe she inhabits the souls taken by the eclipse. But no matter the belief, one thing is certain—without the child, the land would crumble.

Most accept the eclipse and live every breath with a love unmatched by any other. This is especially true of Zoe, whose seventeenth year of breath nears ever so close. Born under the eclipse, Zoe understands her life is a gift and that she will return that gift in kind—whenever that day may be (that is until she falls in love and discovers the dark secrets hidden in the heart of Heather).

Still others yearn for a longer life and curse Heather’s name. One such person was branded the name Kayla on her day of breath eighteen years ago. Unable to comprehend the meaning of such viciousness, Kayla believes such a sacrifice is unnecessary, even for the worst of mankind. Little does she know that a mysterious traveler may hold the key to ending the eclipse forever.

Zoe and Kayla are best friends.

This is their story.

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Excerpt:  

From Chapter Two – A Secret Morning Swim

(Read Chapter 1 at http://publications.divinetrinityfilms.com)

On the morning that marked the beginning of Kayla’s eighteenth year of breath, Zoe got up an hour before the rooster’s crow and headed into Industry Quarters. She had never walked the streets at night before so it was a bit scary, but also quite amazing. The smell of baking bread was at its strongest and the bright glow of the full moon turned the artwork all around her into a fluorescent wonderland. It made it all the more brilliant to lie back in the shadows and watch a couple of kids turn paint into such beautiful pictures. She almost wanted to join them in taking brush in hand but she had something much more pressing to do, and time was of the essence.

Zoe inched her way through the slightly wilted bushes surrounding Kayla’s house and pressed her hands firmly on the glass of her bedroom window. Kayla never locked her window so it was quite easy to open and crawl in without rousing her, though she hoped the change in noise level from the roar of the machines didn’t do it for her. Thankfully, Kayla was still asleep when the room returned to silence. Zoe snuck up to Kayla’s bureau and shoveled her swimming suit, towel and a change of clothes into her pack, a task that took longer than expected (it couldn’t just be any old clothes; it had to at least look good together). When she was happy with what she had chosen, Zoe tiptoed back to Kayla’s bed and kissed her cheek.

“Wake up, sleepy,” she whispered into Kayla’s ear.

Kayla groaned and rolled over. “Go away.”

“Kayla, wake up,” Zoe said, shaking her shoulder.

When Kayla finally realized who it was, she sat up quickly and looked around as if her caretakers were hiding in the walls, waiting for just the right reason to take her to Quorum Circle for punishment. “Zoe,” she whispered. “What in Heather’s name are you doing here? What time is it?”

“It’s time to give you my gift.”

Each year, to mark the day of a person’s first breath, caretakers and friends would do something special for that person, from taking over that day’s chores to whisking them off to Serenity Lake for a grand snorkel, so long as it was something that was unique to the presenter of the gift. For this, the last gift Zoe would ever give Kayla, she wanted to do something more amazing than life. She pulled Kayla out of bed.

“What are you doing?”

“It’s a secret. Come on.”

Kayla felt a little blushed walking the streets of Industry Quarters in her sleeping gown, especially when they passed Henry (who had a not-so-secret crush on Kayla) sweeping flour out of his caretaker’s factory.

“Where are you two lovely ladies headed off to so early?” Henry said.

“No time to chat,” Zoe said, keeping from making eye contact. If she had, she would have felt obligated to stop, and Zoe was in far too much a hurry to do that. Henry did it for her.

“Just wait, I’ll come with.” Henry set the broom against the inside of the door and jogged after them. “Wait up.”

Now Zoe had to stop. “You can’t come, Henry.” Her hand was outstretched, keeping him from coming any closer. Kayla was pulled in behind her.

“Why? What’s the big deal?”

“I’m giving Kayla her gift. This is for her and I alone. So if you don’t mind…”

“Her gift? What could you possibly be giving her this early?”

“None of your business,” Kayla interjected. She stepped around Zoe, who felt a little honored and shocked (though she didn’t know why). “Now be a good little boy and get back to work. Go on.” She waved her hand. How Kayla could get away with that was beyond Zoe, even if Henry was a year younger than her (and no more than a couple of months older than Zoe, for that matter). Maybe she was using his infatuation against him.

Then again, maybe not.

“No. I want to see what this is.”

“We aren’t moving until you leave,” Kayla said.

“That’s fine. I have all day.”

“We don’t,” Zoe whispered to Kayla. She acknowledged her, but with only the slightest turn of her head so that Henry might not notice.

“I don’t want to have to get physical,” Kayla said. Her voice was strong, commanding. “But I will if I have to.”

“Do you promise?” Henry said, which disgusted Kayla to no end.

“Just leave us alone.”

“Tell me where you’re off to and maybe I will.”

“No.”

Henry shrugged. Zoe grew ever more irritated. The sun would be up soon; once it was, her gift would be ruined. If she weren’t such a lady (or had been taught to be such by her caretakers), she probably would have popped him one (or urged Kayla to, in the very least) just to make her point. Luckily, she didn’t have to.


About the Author:

Bryan Caron is a multi-talented, award-winning artist with works in several mediums, including print, film and design. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and an associate’s degree in computer graphic design, Bryan studied filmmaking and film editing while working at a performing arts studio in San Diego, California. He took this knowledge to write, direct and edit films under his banner, Divine Trinity Films. Soon after, he would team up with the Fallbrook Film Factory, a non-profit film consortium, to continue his growth in the areas of writing, directing and editing, all the while fleshing out his talents in fiction writing (publishing Year of the Songbird and Jaxxa Rakala: The Search in 2013), working as a graphic designer, and beginning his first blog: Chaos breeds Chaos.

His works as writer and director include the short films My Necklace, Myself (Best Screenplay, Short Film, 2009 Treasure Coast International Film Festival) and 12, the feature film Secrets of the Desert Nymph, and the commercial Charlie’s Ticket, which ran on dozens of television stations and in movie theaters in San Diego County to advertise the Fallbrook International Film Festival. Works as editor include the short film Puzzle Box and No Books, the first of several episodes he has edited for the online sketch-series, Treelore Theatre.

Bryan currently resides in Riverside County.

www.divinetrinityfilms.com

chaosbreedschaos.com

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Thriller Spotlight: A Burning in The Darkness by A P McGrath


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Suspense Thriller Mystery Crime Romance


ap mcgrath book

A compelling crime drama and poignant love story. The devoted Michael Kieh is wrongfully accused of murder at one of the world’s busiest airports where he is a full time faith representative. A series of brief encounters with a soul mate has eased his loneliness. When she confides a dark secret, he must battle to redress a heart-breaking injustice and prove his innocence.

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Excerpt:

Young Foday Jenkins spied a curious sign at the far end of the concourse. The seven-year-old weaved his way through the hurrying travellers with their trolley-loads of suitcases. There were airline pilots and cabin crew walking briskly towards their international flights and armed police strolling like fortress watch guards. A rainbow glistened in the eastern sky beyond the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, watched in wonder by the frustrated passengers whose flights had been delayed by the ferocious summer storm. A charcoal wash of lightning-filled rain clouds shrouded the distant city outline.
Foday arrived at the sign. It was a matchstick man or woman kneeling, praying. Beneath it there was an entrance of two heavily frosted glass doors. He pushed them open and stepped inside. When the doors closed behind him there was a nice silence. He was in a room, maybe twice the size of his classroom, but it seemed so much bigger because there were sacred symbols from all over the world and holy words on the walls and little statues, and it wasn’t brightly lit in here like outside, yet it wasn’t so dim that it was scary. The duskiness made you look. There was a lovely smell in the air, the scent of a faraway country.
There was a row of electric burning candles that could be switched on for a handful of coins. There were six happy photographs of teenagers from all over the world tacked to the wall above the electric candles. One of the happy faces looked like his older sister Ameyo. She smiled that way. Uh-me-yo. This is how Mummy said it. There were handwritten notes stuck around the photographs with words like Please remember. Foday wondered if the person who wrote one of them had been crying because the ink was smudged.
On a cloth-covered table there was a visitor’s book. Foday wrote his name and address: Foday, 19 Bletchley Avenue, London NW22, UK, Europe, The World. He added I really like this place.
Over on the other side of the church, tucked around a corner, there was a wooden playhouse. A sign outside the door read: If you want a priest to hear your confession, press the button.
Foday turned nervously when he heard the loud sounds of the bustling concourse as the church doors opened. He could see a silhouetted figure against the gleaming frosted glass. The figure focused into a heavy man walking down between the seats. He stopped, agitated and sweating.
‘Are you lost?’ the man asked.
Foday knew he shouldn’t talk to strangers.
‘Where’s your mummy or daddy? Are they with the priest? Are you alone?’ he asked crossly.
Foday pressed the button requesting a priest to take confession.


About the Author:

ap bio pic

AP was born and grew up in Ireland. He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful children. He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

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Thriller Feature: The Golgotha Pursuit by Rick Jones @rikster7033


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Thriller


the golgotha pursuit

The Vatican Knights Book 10

Release Date: 6/16/16

After the march on the Vatican by the Islamic State, the radical group begins its push deeper into the European and American Fronts. But when the True Cross—the wooden remnants of the cross Jesus was crucified upon and the holiest of all relics—is stolen from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Islamic State, it becomes clear that the relic is to be bartered to an arms dealer for weapons so devastating that Europe and the United States could be rocked to their very foundations. So when the Vatican Knights are called to retrieve the artifact before the weapons’ exchange can take place, the team quickly finds themselves up against an elite paramilitary group. But can the Vatican Knights retrieve the True Cross in time and return it to the vault above Golgotha Hill? Or will the Islamic State finally get a stranglehold on the American and European states . . . and bring the continents to their knees?

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About the Author:

rick jones

Rick Jones was born and raised in the Boston area and moved to Las Vegas in the early eighties where he graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in English. He is retired from law enforcement and currently resides in Las Vegas where he writes fulltime. He is the bestselling author of the Vatican Knight series (THE VATICAN KNIGHTS (soon to be a major motion picture from Amber Entertainment), SHEPHERD ONE, THE ISCARIOT AGENDA, PANDORA’S ARK, THE BRIDGE OF BONES, CROSSES TO BEAR, THE LOST CATHEDRAL, DARK ADVENT, CABAL and THE GOLGOTHA PURSUIT); the psychological thriller, FAMILIAR STRANGER; and the bestselling action/adventure series, The Eden Saga (THE CRYPTS OF EDEN, THE MENAGERIE and THE THRONES OF EDEN); and the soon to-be-released CITY BENEATH THE SEA.

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Historical Crime Fiction: The Tender Herb: A Murder in Mughal India by Lexie Conyngham


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Genres: Historical Crime Fiction, Scottish, Georgian, Early 19th. Century

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1812 – Recovering in Naples from the intrigues of Scottish politics, Charles Murray is drawn further afield by urgent news of an old servant in distant Mughal India. Going to the aid of one woman, he finds another and is pursued by a third. But that is no recipe for an easy life, and with imperial spies on the streets of Delhi, Murray must investigate the murder that brought him to the East, and redeem himself in his own eyes.

The Tender Herb is the sixth in the Murray of Letho series.


Excerpt:

Mary was in trouble.

The words, echoing like gunshots, had been bouncing around Henry Robbins’ head since the letter had arrived in Edinburgh – well, since it had reached him in Queen Street, a few days later. Mary was in trouble, and everything since had been a scramble, a rush, as near a panic as Robbins ever came, to think of and prepare for the best way of extracting her.

Part of the problem, even with hurrying, was that the letter had taken ten months to arrive. That was not a bad time for letters from inland India, but it still mocked his urgency. Then, even when the ship had arrived in Leith, he had not been there to collect the letter, had not even been expecting it. Patie, the groom next door, had happened to be at Leith waiting for a horse and had picked up the letter from a shilpit manservant who was trying to see the contents against a watery sun. He had delivered it triumphantly to Robbins and had then hung around for nearly an hour, clearly wearing to find out what was in it. Robbins, however, was impervious to Patie’s hint-dropping blather, and Patie eventually left unrewarded, except by a tankard of very good ale.

Robbins did not touch the ale. Instead, he waited until he had heard the mews gate close behind Patie, and then, alone in the big blue-green kitchen, he broke the seal and drew a breath.

Mary’s handwriting, as sharp and black as her extraordinary triangular eyebrows, strode forcefully across the cover, undeterred by whatever horrors the letter had seen on its travels through the Presidencies of the Honourable East India Company. She had left Edinburgh for India with her new husband, Aeneas Maclachlan, in the autumn of 1810, so this must have been written almost as soon as she had arrived. Robbins, losing in the one woman a fellow servant and a friend, had done his best to forget all about her: he had not expected a correspondence. Now that it was here, he was almost reluctant to open it.

Since he had, and had read the determined lines inside, he had scarcely paused to eat or sleep. In the course of a day or two, he had visited Simpson, his master’s man of business; he had written to his master’s estate in Letho to summon a servant to replace him in the Edinburgh house, and he had called on his master’s oldest friend in the Old Town, seeking information and advice, and receiving it. Finally, he walked down the hill to Leith, and purchased himself a passage – not to India, but to Italy. Then he went back to Queen Street, to pack.

II

‘I don’t care if you have to turn Hindoo, Daniel: you’ll still marry the girl.’

Daniel, his usual confidence somewhat diminished in the face of his master’s anger, stood looking sheepish in a pool of hot July sunlight. Murray had opened one of the tall wooden shutters, hoping for a breath of air to drift in from the rose-pink Neapolitan piazza, but even in his shirtsleeves he felt stifled. Daniel was wearing his usual thick coat and, irritatingly, did not even seem to be sweating. Daniel had adapted to the Neapolitan life very well – perhaps a little too well, to judge by the present situation.

‘When is the child due?’ Murray asked reluctantly.

‘In October, she reckons, sir.’

‘Then you haven’t much time, have you? You’d better find an accommodating priest.’ Murray rose and stalked over to the window, wishing Daniel had announced his unplanned breeding in a colder season. He stood with his back to the hot light, and studied his manservant. The room about them was solid, spare and a little severe, old white walls, stone floor and wooden furniture anciently dark. Daniel was a contrast, though: young, cheerful and daft. The trouble was – well, there were several troubles, for the girl so inconveniently expecting Daniel’s child was also Murray’s cook – the trouble was that you could not help liking Daniel. He was even becoming quite a competent servant, and given a few decades might make a reasonable husband and father. ‘Do you love the girl?’ he asked in the end.

He half-expected Daniel to shrug, to look bewildered as he searched for some meaning in Murray’s words, but instead an expression of determination came over his healthy face.

‘I do, sir,’ he announced. Murray nodded.

‘Then try Father Piero at Santa Croce – I hear he is a kindly man. You’d better go now, Daniel. Wait – is the girl keeping well?’

‘Aye, sir,’ Daniel beamed suddenly. ‘She’s blooming like – like a morning glory!’

‘My, Daniel,’ Murray remarked drily. ‘Off you go before you start writing poetry.’ He turned back to the window, and his sharp intake of breath stopped Daniel in his tracks.

‘What’s the matter, sir?’

‘You’ll never believe who’s just appeared in the street,’ said Murray, a worried frown on his face. Daniel’s eyebrows asked the question for him. ‘It’s Robbins,’ announced Murray, ‘unless I’m very much mistaken, it’s Henry Robbins.’


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About The Author:

Lexie Conyngham is a historian living in North-East Scotland and has been writing stories since she knew people did. When she can escape from teaching, she divides her time between writing, gardening and knitting.

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