By J. H. Bográn
While hosting the 2009 Oscars, Hugh Jackman joked about actors playing characters from other countries receiving nominations while that year he had played an Australian, set in Australia, in a film aptly titled Australia, thus being snubbed. This month I had the privilege to discover Australian author Steve P. Vincent and his novels, set in the United States—and other places around the world—and his real American hero of a character Jack Emery. NATIONS DIVIDED is the third book in this series, and Steve kindly agreed to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill.
What’s the jacket description of NATIONS DIVIDED?
Peace has been decades in the making, but chaos is just the press of a button away.
Jack Emery is happier than he has been in a long time. Nobody has shot at him or tried to blow him up for years, and he’s learned to love the job he thought he’d hate: Special Advisor to the President of the United States.
But nothing can prepare Jack for the work to come. As America continues to heal from self-inflicted wounds, an ambitious President McGhinnist draws closer to achieving the impossible: peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
As the countdown to peace reaches zero, a desperate group of hardline Israelis invoke the Samson Option, a secret protocol that will eradicate the peace agreement and pave the way for the destruction of America and the Middle East.
Jack has learned the hard way that when a crisis knocks, you don’t always get the chance to ignore it.
How did the idea for NATIONS DIVIDED come about?
Mostly it was a topic I wanted to know more about and try to twist in a fun way.
Track Three by John Gibson
By Dan Levy
As it happens with many writers, author John Gibson’s love of thrillers began during a childhood spent soaking in the great spy stories and other thriller genres that made their way onto television screens and into movie theaters.
“And then Watergate happened and I was completely and hopelessly stuck,” said Gibson. “Everyday after school, while my buddies were out playing basketball, I sat at the television, enthralled by the entire break-in scandal. I began to read thrillers that dealt with politics because of Watergate.”
In the forty-plus years since Watergate, Gibson, in addition to a successful engineering career at Kodak, went from reading political thrillers to writing them. His second, TRACK THREE, is due to be released on December 15, 2015. We wanted to learn more about Gibson’s latest offering. Due to scheduling conflicts, The Big Thrill was unable to conduct an in person interview with Gibson to meet our deadline. However, below are excerpts from an interview (edited for length) conducted via email.
TRACK THREE is your second published novel. Is that part of a series or are the two novels independent?
No, not a series. I seem to exert so much to write my books that when I’m finished, I really feel I have nothing else to give. I have no more fire to write about those same characters. I write from a loose outline, but my stories seem to move where they want to move. When they are done they are done and there is really not much more for me to give.
With all your time spent in the tech industry, it feels like it would be a natural, and perhaps easier, transition to write tech thrillers. Why write in the political-thriller sub-genre?
Engineering was something that I kind of fell into. I had a home and family to provide for and at Kodak I fell into working in the digital imaging area, microelectronics. It really was a fascinating engineering area to work in, simply fascinating, otherworld kind-of stuff all conducted under microscopes. But engineering, even microelectronics, did not provide the passion that my soul demanded. Only writing did (does) that for me.
Talk a bit about your protagonist, reporter Elliott Lawder. What made him a compelling character to you?
I like Elliott because even though professionally he is at the top of his game, his personal life, though not totally going down the drain, is well on its way. He is real, hard working but flawed. [He is] nearing alcoholism, [and in a] terrible family situation with his father mired in Alzheimer’s, his mother old and incapacitated and an older brother that truly despises him. But the two worlds, his professional life and his personal life are totally separate.
What do you like most about Elliott Lawder? What surprised you about him as he came to life on the page?
Elliott’s authenticity, to have risen to the heights of his profession without being portrayed as superhuman is very endearing to me. Also, dealing with the pain of his personal life and still performing in his professional life is something that I found admirable. I don’t think there is much about Elliott that surprised me.
Is there a scene or chapter in TRACK THREE that is a favorite or that is especially meaningful to you? Why?
The Tarzan Chapter is near and dear because most of what takes place I actually lived as a boy; this really did happen. The Tarzan chapter is about boys [Elliott and his older brother] nearing puberty getting talked into swinging from a rope tied to a tree. Bad thing happens [and] this scene explains a lot about Elliott’s rocky relationship with his brother.
While I don’t want to overlook TRACK THREE, what do your fans have to look forward to in your next book? Can you give us a little insight?
I’m working on a story that is a bit of departure from Dummy (Gibson’s debut novel) and TRACK THREE. It is about a guy who goes from being an actual bum to owning a conglomerate, but with many, many problems with every one of his family members.
What’s one piece of advice that has served you well since you started writing? Is it the same advice you’d give to aspiring authors today?
I think advice today is different than it would have been fifteen years ago. Then, I think I would have just told them “Write!” Now there is so much more after the writing that influences the writing experience. I don’t particularly like that part of it, but it’s the reality now. I guess what I would tell them today is not all that much different, though—Don’t think about the other stuff you have to do to get read. Deal with the other stuff in its own time; just have something for someone to read. And write it as best you can.
In NATION OF ENEMIES, H.A. Raynes’s razor-sharp, double-edged pen thrills, warns, instructs, and entertains with prophetic vision, controlled imagination, and Spartan zeal.
On the eve of the 2032 presidential election, the country is deeply divided and on the brink of civil war. A decade before, the U.S. government had mandated that all citizens be issued biochips carrying their full medical information and a digital health indicator. Then they made the information public leading to widespread and devastating consequences.
The Liberty Party’s presidential nominee is assassinated in a highly-coordinated, masterful attack. This sets off a chain of events that will change the course of history and leave America’s inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness dangling on the precipice of extinction.
The author graciously answered a few questions for The Big Thrill.
Please give our readers an overview of your personal life and professional career?
I’m married and a parent to two kids and a cockapoo. My professional career up to this point has been as a producer in advertising, making commercials. Other than that, I learned to swim at the age of thirty-two. Played spin-the-bottle with Nicolas Cage. And have jumped out of a plane. Writing is much more my speed than the latter two. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, though more seriously and committed to the craft in the last ten years. For me, it’s equal parts fun and sanity. In the busy world we live in, both fun and sanity can be hard to hold onto. But no matter what, I know they’re mine for about eight hours every week.
The Big Thrill sat down with Australian-based political thriller writer Steve P Vincent to talk about his newest release, STATE OF EMERGENCY. Steve is an ITW Debut Author for 2014-15 and he’ll be speaking and signing books at Thrillerfest.
Tell us about the Jack Emery series and the newest release, STATE OF EMERGENCY
My debut novel, The Foundation, was released as a digital first publication in September 2014. The book sees Jack Emery—an Australian reporter based in New York—in a race against time to expose a conspiracy and prevent global war. It was generally well received and I was lucky enough to be contracted for a few more books. Since then, I’ve released a free Jack Emery prequel novella, Fireplay, and a print edition of The Foundation.
The newest release, STATE OF EMERGENCY, is the second book in the series. Jack is home after a few months covering the war in Syria, only to find he’s walked right into a wave of terrorist attacks across America. The book deals with how US authorities would deal with such a scenario, and Jack is forced to fight against the very government he worked to save in the first book. It’s a book about a desperate government overreaching and creating something far worse than what it was fighting.
What was the inspiration for the novel?
The Foundation dealt with the concentration of media power in the hands of a few, and the outrageous level of control exerted by think tanks and lobbyists. STATE OF EMERGENCY, on the other hand, explores just how far a government will go to grasp on to control. It was fun to write, because I’ve always been interested in the struggle between the known (leaders, governments, armies) against the unknown and the largely unquantifiable (terrorism, drugs).
By Terry DiDomenico
We first met Special Agent Tom Dupree in Gary Haynes’s debut thriller, State of Honour. Now thirteen months after he saved the Secretary of State from a politically inspired execution, Dupree is back in STATE OF ATTACK.
This time, Dupree arrives in Turkey to be with his father who was the target of a terrorist attack carried out by a jihadist called Ibrahim, also known as the Sword of Allah. Harnessing his desire to get back at those responsible, Dupree is set on stopping Ibrahim’s devastating plot against the Western world. As Dupree works to unravel the knot of terror, betrayal, and conspiracy that surrounds the Sword of Allah, he sadly learns there are few people he can trust.
Setting the Dupree series primarily in the Middle East satisfies a personal interest for Haynes. “The Middle East seemed to me to be an impossibly romantic place where men rode stallions and were armed with swords and spent their down time perfecting the art of falconry,” he said.
While in law school, this interest led to a dissertation on Middle East legal systems. “This is what sparked my real interest,” Haynes said. “But it was only when I studied the intricacies of their legal systems that I realized that not all was what it appeared to be. Despite the fascinating history and art, there was a darker side, even before the rise of Islamic terrorism, especially in relation to the general lack of democracy, the treatment of prisoners and women, and those with a contrary view to the ruling families.”
By Jeff Ayers
In Nicholas Pengelley’s first novel, RYDER, Ayesha Ryder bears the scars of strife in the Middle East. Now her past is catching up to her as she races to unravel a mystery that spans centuries—and threatens to change the course of history.
As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered in his well-appointed home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes the killing is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence—the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could Montagu have been targeted because of his discoveries?
Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents from both sides of the conflict, including detectives from Scotland Yard and MI5, Ryder stumbles deeper into Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, even the search for the Bible’s lost Ark of the Covenant.
Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. But when an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand—and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle.
Pengelley chatted with THE BIG THRILL.
With your extensive background, what made you decide to start writing?
I’ve loved books and writing for as long as I can remember. In fact I’ve been writing for many years now—decades in fact. Until comparatively recently, though, my writing was all academic. I’ve published a great many law-related articles, and written a one-hundred thousand word thesis for my PhD. When, a few years ago, I finally sat down to try my hand at fiction I thought, “I’ve written a lot of non-fiction, and I’ve read a lot of books. So of course I can write a novel. Oh boy! I had a lot to learn. Fiction is way harder than non-fiction. Then there’s the whole process of getting published, which is akin to climbing Everest.
By Basil Sands
Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to Steve P. Vincent, the author of the new action-packed tale of international intrigue ripped right from the headlines, THE FOUNDATION. Or as he is known in Big Time Wrestling “The Thrilluh from Down Unduh”!
Okay, he doesn’t actually have a Big Time Wrestling name, at least not that I know of. But if he did it would be something like that. He does have degrees in political science and history, though. His honors thesis was on the topic of global terrorism and he has travelled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia.
Steve lives with his wife in a pokey apartment in Melbourne, Australia, where he’s forced to write on the couch in front of an obnoxiously large television. When he’s not writing, Steve keeps food and flat whites* on the table working for The Man. He enjoys beer, whiskey, sports and dreaming up elaborate conspiracy theories to write about.
Steve, tell us about THE FOUNDATION.
THE FOUNDATION is a punch you in the mouth political thriller full of intrigue, suspense and action against a backdrop that’s all too plausible. It was a lot of fun to write and I hope readers are enjoying it as well.
It’s about the concentration of power in the hands of powerful organizations such as big business, the media, and think tanks, and what might happen when these powerful groups manipulate global events to seize power. One guy, Jack Emery, is dragged into a power struggle when one such group, The Foundation for a New America, blows up half of Shanghai, starts a war between the U.S. and China, and tries to use the chaos to take over.
SURVIVING THE ENDGAME has a ripped-from-the-headlines feel to it. What was the genesis for this story?
SURVIVING THE ENDGAME is the sequel to my earlier novel, INSIDIOUS DECEPTION. In that thriller, the reader is introduced to an international conspiracy formed to corner the market for rare earth minerals. When the conspirators encounter opposition from the U.S. president, they plot his assassination and scheme to develop the presidential credentials of a U.S. senator under their influence. In the new novel, the presidential election becomes a deadly contest between the conspirators and those seeking their destruction.
How do you manage your research? Militarized drones played a major part in the story, and your depiction of their use was both frightening and very detailed. How big a future do you see for them? What about weaponized mini-drones? So far, the use of military drones has been one-sided. What predictions do you make when opposing belligerents use drones?
My positions with the U.S. Department of Labor—such as Chief Economist of the Wage & Hour Division—required planning and conducting programs of economic research and then analyzing the findings. The research I initiate for my novels uses the same process but is more free-wheeling and exciting.
As you note, I’ve found the use of drones to be a fascinating vehicle to advance the action in my thrillers. In INSIDIOUS DECEPTION a drone disguised as a Red-Tailed Hawk infects the President with weaponized H1N1. In the new story, drones launched from a U.S. air base are diverted to do the dirty work of the conspiracy. Drone development and use is the next-frontier arms race that will require new means of defense if we are to remain safe.
By George Ebey
Author Donald Bain brings us the latest in the Margaret Truman Capital Crimes series, UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER.
In this installment, Washington, D.C. PI Robert Brixton’s younger daughter is slaughtered while sipping wine with him at an outdoor café when a teenage terrorist blows herself up. This sends the cynical, furious Brixton on a quest to uncover who was behind the bombing, and takes him into the murky world of lying politicians, international arms dealers, and deceiving alleged do-gooders, including the leader of a cult on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where, to discover the truth, Brixton lays his life on the line.
THE BIG THRILL recently checked in with Bain to learn more about his work on the series as well as the ins and outs of writing political thrillers.
For those who may be unfamiliar, can you give us some insight into what the Margaret Truman Capitol Crimes series is about?
This mystery/thriller series takes the readers inside a variety of Washington, D.C. institutions and agencies in which a murder or murders take place. Margaret Truman, President Harry Truman’s daughter, with whom I worked for almost thirty years until her death in 2008, had a refreshing, highly critical eye of Washington and its goings-on, and the twenty-seven novels in the series reflect her wickedly jaded view of politics and politicians. As her father once famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” UNDIPLOMATIC MURDER, published by Forge this month, is the most recent book in the series. Since Margaret’s death, the books have carried my byline.
By Dawn Ius
The entertainment industry overflows with books, movies, and television shows that portray mothers as fierce lionesses, the great protectors of the child.
Joseph Finder’s newest thriller, SUSPICION, isn’t that book. Instead, Finder explores the inextricable bond between a single father and his daughter—and how a choice made out of desperation can provoke unspeakable consequences.
“There really hasn’t been enough written about fathers and daughters,” Finder says, admitting that he drew inspiration for this book by thinking about how far he would go to protect his own daughter. “It provided some powerful motivation.”
And a unique high stakes environment ideal to launch his first stand-alone novel under a new publishing umbrella, a bit of a departure from the bestselling “Nick Heller” spy thrillers for which he’s known.
“There are certain stories you can’t do when you’re writing a series character,” Finder says. “For instance, you can’t put your hero in jeopardy for his life— readers don’t believe it. They know the character is part of a series and that he can’t really die. But in a stand-alone novel, anything is possible.”
Fundamentally, SUSPICION is the story of an ordinary man doing extraordinary things—unlike Heller, the protagonist isn’t a private spy with elite skills and this isn’t a book about espionage. In fact, Danny Goodman is a struggling writer.
“For a long time I worried that making my protagonist a writer would be boring,” he says. “In this book I was able to engage in social commentary and humor and the things I love to read about as a reader.”
He was also able to explore the crazy pressure put on teens to get into college these days, and look at it as an aspect of a thriller. Because, as Finder notes, a great thriller doesn’t necessarily have to center around a superhero or global disaster. “High stakes” is the key element of the genre—which can be as simple as putting one ordinary person’s life at risk.
“Human beings have always wanted to engage in something high stakes and risky,” he says. “But most of us don’t want to risk our lives being a hero. When we read a thriller, we’re doing something very exciting—without being killed.”
An interesting and refreshing perspective from someone trained in intelligence.
The book’s starting premise is this:
The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Baseball fans everywhere know that the team is cursed, most famously by the “Billy Goat” incident during the 1945 World Series in which a pet goat was refused admission and its master, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis, put a curse on the Cubs. The Billy Goat Tavern also was a legendary Chicago media hangout and the setting for the “chee’burger, chee’burger” skits in the early days of Saturday Night Live.
There are many more humorous and legendary tales of grief and heartache involving the Cubs—consider black cats, Gatorade spilled on a first baseman’s glove that perhaps caused a critical error in a playoff game with the San Diego Padres and the immortal Steve Bartman. (If you need an explanation of the meaning of Bartman, don’t worry. Either Google him or move on.) In my fictional World Series, the Cubs lose Game Six in a very Cub-like way, involving a swarm of gnats.
The Cubs are the most iconic and memorable symbols of failure and frustration in the world of sports. They have millions of loyal, frustrated fans.
So, I wondered, what would happen if there was a twisted and skillful fan—remembering that “fan” is shortened slang for “fanatic”—who would do anything to ensure they would break the curse and win baseball’s World Championship? Anything. And what if the threat was so grave that the Series might have to be fixed to guarantee the Cubs would win?
By Cathy Clamp
Before Twitter and Facebook, the fastest way get a story on the news was on a BMW R50/2 motorcycle. In 1972, every network or television station used couriers to get important stories delivered. It was the fastest way to get around Washington, as well as the quickest way to get killed.
From four-time Emmy award-winning writer and producer Terry Irving comes a thriller as hard hitting as Watergate and as deadly as the Vietnam War. Not only is Irving the recipient of three Peabody Awards and three DuPont Awards, the former motorcycle news courier has been a producer, editor or writer with ABC, CNN, Fox and MSNBC. You won’t get more “inside” Washington politics than this book. Why else would legendary reporter Sam Donaldson give his highest praise, “Kudos to one of television’s best producers for writing the thriller of the year,” while NBC Nightline’s Ted Koppel said, “If the phrase ‘a crackling good yarn’ evokes an era before Twitter, Facebook, cell phones, videotape, DVDs or cable television, welcome to Terry Irving’s fast-paced thriller.”
The hero of COURIER is Rick Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and motorcycle courier for one of the capital’s leading television stations. He’s trying to get his life back together after his nightmarish ordeal in the war. But when Rick picks up film from a news crew interviewing a government worker with a hot story, his life begins to unravel as everyone involved in the story dies within hours of the interview and Rick realizes he is the next target.
GRAVEYARD OF MEMORIES, the eighth in Barry Eisler’s compelling John Rain series, recounts how a twenty-year-old Rain transforms from jaded yet callow Vietnam War veteran to legendary assassin. Living in 1972 Tokyo, Rain works as a low-level courier for the CIA, delivering cash bribes to corrupt politicians. When a delivery goes terribly wrong—in part because Rain can’t control his propensity for violence—he finds himself the target of Japan’s most powerful yakuza clan.
To survive, Rain strikes a desperate deal with his CIA handler: he’ll assassinate a high- Japanese government official in exchange for the intel he needs to eliminate his would-be yakuza executioners. In carrying out his new role as contract killer and in battling the yakuza, Rain draws on his experience in the killing fields of Southeast Asia, discovering that he’s adept at the art of assassination. But he also falls in love with Sayaka, a tough, beautiful ethnic Korean woman confined to a wheelchair. The demands of Rain’s dark work are at odds with the longings of his heart, and with Sayaka’s life in the balance, he must ultimately make a terrible choice.
A tale of love, war, and betrayal, GRAVEYARD OF MEMORIES explores how humans can be capable of great violence, but also, paradoxically, deep love and tenderness.
GRAVEYARD OF MEMORIES begins with an epigraph from Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward.” How does that observation inform your novel?
The older I get (I just turned 50, in fact, and am reminded of that Oscar Wilde quote, “I don’t mind getting older, when I consider the alternatives…”), the more I appreciate how many elements of my life I couldn’t adequately understand while they were happening, but that become increasingly coherent and comprehensible with the benefit of hindsight, experience, and, hopefully, a bit of wisdom. There are forks in the road we can’t see from ahead, only once we’ve passed them. I would think this would be even more true for someone like Rain, who has lived longer and suffered more than I have. What formed him—his own choices? His personality? Circumstances? Fate? Was there a particular time, or incident, or a woman, that acted as fulcrum in a way he could perceive only decades later? GRAVEYARD OF MEMORIES explores these questions within the life of one highly skilled killer, but of course they apply to all of us.
It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father . . . after his supposed death.
Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler’s father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?
Sean and Michelle soon realize that they’ve stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined. And as their hunt for the truth leads them relentlessly to the highest levels of power and to uncovering the most clandestine of secrets, Sean and Michelle are determined to help and protect Tyler–though they may pay for it with their lives.
Eric Van Lustbader may be known for carrying on Robert Ludlum’s legacy, but his career did not begin with Jason Bourne, nor will it end there. His own series character, ATF agent Jack McClure, is back in Lustbader’s latest gut wrenching political thriller, BELOVED ENEMY.
Typical of the author’s work, this book sets the hook quickly. McClure meets with the Secretary of Homeland Security in the dead of night. Soon after, the Secretary is found dead. The President is stunned when McClure – a trusted friend – surfaces as the prime suspect.
We’ve come to know Jack McClure pretty well in four previous novels. Like Jason Bourne, McClure has a strong sense of loyalty and heroism, and what Lustbader calls a deep and abiding sorrow that neither of them can quite shake. But I didn’t realize how much he has in common with his creator.
“Jack is dyslexic, just like me, only more so,” Lustbader says. “It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I was dyslexic. That was an astonishing journey for me, and I’ve tried to mirror that in Jack’s journey of self-discovery, which, like all such journeys, is as painful as it is elating. No matter the pain, however, it’s the journey we must all take, the journey the hero inside all of us dictates we face and go through.”
By Ian Walkley
J.B. Turner’s debut novel HARD ROAD is the first in a series of hard-hitting US thrillers featuring the extraordinary partnership between female FBI Assistant Director, Martha Meyerstein, and US Government covert assassin, Jon Reznick. Commissioning editor, Emlyn Rees, says of HARD ROAD: “This is an extremely well-researched and authentic series. A perfect page-turning blend of politics, corruption and thrills.”
J.B. began his writing career as a journalist. His news stories and feature articles have appeared in the DAILY MAIL, DAILY TELEGRAPH, DAILY EXPRESS, THE SCOTSMAN and THE HERALD. He worked as a freelance journalist for several years before he began work on his first novel. J.B. Turner is married and has two young children.
In HARD ROAD, we meet Jon Reznick who, since his wife died on 9/11, has worked hard to keep his shadowy world hidden from his eleven-year-old daughter. But when he is ordered by his handler to kill a man in an exclusive Washington DC hotel, he discovers the target is really a government scientist working on a secretive military project.
Reznick is quickly ensnared in an extraordinary web of murder, extortion and double-crosses – as he fights not only for his survival, but his daughter’s as well. But Jon isn’t just up against the clandestine group who want the scientist eliminated. FBI chief Martha Meyerstein wants Reznick captured as well. And soon both Reznick and Meyerstein find themselves in the middle of a terrifying plot by a foreign government to bring the United States to its knees.
By Jeremy Burns
There are thriller writers, and then there are thriller writers. Brad Thor, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of twelve novels, is a thriller writer with a capital ‘T’. Ever since he first introduced the world to series hero Scot Harvath, Thor has captivated readers with some of the most gripping and genuinely terrifying books on the market today, weaving real-world threats and tight plotting into narratives that read like tomorrow’s headlines. And on July 9th, he will do it again, taking readers on another hair-raising adventure with his 13th thriller, HIDDEN ORDER. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brad recently and talking with him about his new project.
Where did the idea for HIDDEN ORDER come from?
When 9/11 happened, my wife and I got stranded on the east coast. We were supposed to be taking a trip to Greece, but all the flights were grounded. We ended up making our way to a tiny island off the coast of Georgia called Jekyll Island. It was there that the idea for HIDDEN ORDER was born.
I learned about an organization more secretive than the CIA or even the NSA. Some say it is more powerful than the United States government itself. Everything about this organization – from the efforts it takes to keep its real work hidden, to the influence it wields around the world – reads like it has been pulled from the pages of an actual thriller.
The world economy is already in severe crisis when Amahl, a cunning Middle Eastern fanatic, butchers Morgan Melchior-America’s second black president-on live TV. Amahl’s name is linked with that of Brent Kruger, a homegrown terrorist and leader of a white supremacist cult. And the two of them are just getting started.
Enter Dragon Team-an elite special ops group led by former FBI agent Levi Hart. Its mission: Waylay a plot by two of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to assassinate President Melchior’s successor and cause global economic collapse. But when Levi goes undercover to infiltrate Kruger’s gang of violent skinheads, he gets cut off from his backup team and has to go it alone. Now it’s anybody’s game to win, and the good guys are running out of time.
In 1982, Annette Pretorius lives a life of privilege afforded to those of European descent in South Africa, but when her husband is murdered, she discovers a shattering secret: he’d been commissioned by the whites-only South African government to develop a lethal virus aimed at controlling the growth of the black population–already oppressed under the cruel system of apartheid.
And the killing isn’t over yet…
When the investigation points in a terrifying direction, Annette and Watson face a wrenching choice: protect those they love or sacrifice all to save innocents from racial extermination.
Following DARTS OF DECEIT, retired journalist Wilf Nussey’s latest political thriller details a sophisticated attempt after the 1994 Mandela election to secede a large piece of South Africa as a white-ruled state. Though fiction, it could have plunged South Africa into civil war.
Fact is stranger than fiction. It may yet happen.
“Sporadic violence between 1990 when apartheid collapsed, and 1994 with the first democratic election, portended a gloomy future for South Africa. Then came the Mandela magic, and the country glowed under a rainbow of amity. But behind it lurked powerful forces for anarchy. After a mysterious death in Johannesburg, clever work by an experienced detective, plus luck, puts him and a young lecturer on the plotters’ track. It leads to widespread bloodshed and mistrust, military confrontation and attempted assassination,” said Nussey.
By Don Helin
In his novel, INSIDIOUS DECEPTION, Alan Moss unleashes a plot so fiendish and exciting that one review states, “From Jordan to Croatia, Israel, Italy, France, Yemen and the US, this thriller brings its readers on an electrifying journey that is vivid and real.”
Pre-med student Rob Taylor risks it all to unravel the conspiracy that claimed his lover’s life. To avenge her death, he becomes an apprentice to Rex Raymond, the CEO who will stop at nothing to corner the market for rare earth minerals, seventeen elements vital to the technologies of the 21st Century. Complications abound when Rob gets transferred to work for Alana Raymond, the Chief Executive’s daughter.
While Rob works to uncover those behind the conspiracy, a brilliant university professor and a U.S. Senator seek Middle East peace and democracy at a Paris conference. Success of the Middle East initiative is to advance the Senator, a conspirator, into the White House. An assassination attempt on the U.S. President and an al Qaeda plot to disrupt the Paris deliberations by blowing-up the Eiffel Tower accelerate the action.
By Thomas Pluck
W. Soliman is the author of the Charlie Hunter marine crime tales, about a retired inspector who just wants to enjoy life on his trawler in Brighton marina, but finds himself embroiled when rough seas churn up a body, a mystery, or something that’s just not right. Soliman’s latest is LETHAL BUSINESS, and I’ve got the big “W” here to talk about Charlie’s latest adventure.
So, tell us a bit about your retired inspector Charlie Hunter and LETHAL BUSINESS.
Charlie’s a complex guy. His mother was a concert pianist and Charlie inherited her talent, albeit playing jazz piano. It never occurred to him that he’d be anything other than a professional musician—until, at the age of sixteen his mother was gunned down in front of him.
Everyone seemed to think he ought to ‘get over it’ and carry on but Charlie needed answers—something to at least explain why his mother was targeted. He abandons the piano and joins the police force but twenty years on he’s none the wiser.
Disillusioned, he takes early retirement and goes to live on his trawler. Far from being left in peace, some of his unsolved cases catch up with him, dragging him back to places he’d prefer not to visit. Ironically, now that he’s stopped looking he finally learns more about the fatality that’s crippled him emotionally for his entire adult life.
I confess some of the joy I get from reading a good thriller, besides the thrill, is the knowledge I take away from the book. Having the author provide an afterword of recommended reading or an explanation of where fiction takes over from reality is like having my cake and eating it too.
What is more intriguing than reading about a terrifying world situation only to find the scare factor is firmly entrenched in reality?
As fans of thrillers know, the subjects touched upon are vast and varied. James Lilliefors succeeded in getting my attention with his first thriller, VIRAL.
Within the confines of his story, he took me from the known possibility of a world plague to a even more horrifying scenario of a controlled epidemic killing millions in a confined geographical area for political and economic gain.
His second thriller, THE LEVIATHAN EFFECT, is also grounded in the known—our weather—and uses nature’s deadly disasters as a controlled means to terrorize the world. Before you scoff at the absurdity of the story line, you might want to consider private industry, including Bill Gates’ company Intellectual Ventures, and many countries are actively exploring ways to control the weather. And James said, “The idea of harnessing weather for military purposes—a possibility more likely than some folks realize—is one of the themes of the book.”
By J. H. Bográn
In CHAIN OF COMMAND, the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President catapult the Speaker of the House into the White House as the first female President of the United States. Evidence points to a former Navy SEAL as one of the assassins.
Relegated to writing sidebar stories instead of headlines, journalist McKenzie McClendon composes a scathing story about the Navy training killers.
Former Navy SEAL Noah Hutchins doesn’t believe his partner could have committed the heinous crime. They’d endured the horrors of Afghanistan together. His buddy was a hero, not a murderer.
Thrown together in a search for the truth—and a career-making story—McKenzie and Noah must unravel a dangerous web of lies that includes a radical foreign faction, a violent ultra-feminist group, and corrupt politicians willing to kill to keep their secrets.
In this sequel to THE SAMSON OPTION, Ari Ben Chaim, abandoned at birth during the Six Day Way in Israel, and raised on a kibbutz, must continue to evade the Mahdi Brotherhood. This mysterious sect believe Ari is the long awaited Twelth Imam, or the Hidden Mahdi.
Author Sharon Alice Geyer recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for The BigThrill:
Where did the inspiration for the character of Ari Come from?
An infant boy was found abandoned and brought to the Baby Home where I worked in Jerusalem. I loved this little fellow, who eventually was adopted by a kibbutz family. The grown-up Ari is a figment of my imagination.
By J. N. Duncan
I’d like to welcome Allan Topol to this month’s ITW bulletin. He is the national bestselling author of eight novels of international intrigue, which have been translated into several languages. He is a graduate of Carnegie Institute of Technology where he majored in chemistry and abandoned science. He also obtained a law degree from Yale University. A partner in a major Washington law firm and an avid wine collector, he has traveled extensively, researching dramatic locations for his novels. His latest novel, THE SPANISH REVENGE, comes out this month. So, let’s get right to it, shall we?
By Karen Harper
Please tell us about your new release, DEADLY POLITICS.
Politics is a blood sport in Washington , DC , and only the strongest survive. Like the politicians she’s rubbed shoulders with for a lifetime, Molly Malone is smart and tough and savvy enough to stay out of trouble—most of the time. However, trouble has a way of finding Molly.
Years ago, Molly Malone was driven from Washington , DC by political back-stabbing, scandals, and personal heartbreak. But now, circumstances have forced her to start a new life in the one place she swore she’d never return to—and face the ghosts and the enemies from her past.
By Derek Gunn
In an age of Wall Street meltdowns and downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, the secretive Federal Reserve has a pivotal role. What would happen if there was a plot to strike the US Financial System at its very heart?
Mark de Castrique is no stranger to mystery novels. He has two acclaimed series to his credit. Both are set close to where he was born and the realism jumps off the page and wraps you in its warm embrace until you finally, reluctantly, finish the books.
Mark was born in North Carolina, near Asheville where his Sam Blackman series is set, and can often be found walking in the mountains lost in thought as he comes up with new and intriguing plots to throw at his characters.
By Cathy Clamp
It’s been said that the best thrillers are torn from the newspaper headlines. Few are as adept at that skill as the #1 New York Times best selling author Brad Thor. In the latest adventure of Thor’s counterterrorism expert Scot Harvath, the lines between fiction and fact are blurred as never before.
Because somewhere, deep inside the United States government, is a deadly list. Members of Congress never get to see it and only the president has the final say over it. Once your name is on the list, it doesn’t come off…until you’re dead. Someone has just added Harvath’s name to the list. Somehow, he must evade the teams dispatched to kill him long enough to untangle who has framed him for treason and why they want him out of the way. The only question is—will Harvath get to that person before the United States comes under the most withering domestic terrorist attack ever conceived?
David Lyons has been a resident of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for more years than he likes to count he says, adding, “They’ve been great, but they sure have flown.” He admits being influenced by Hemingway in seeking a tropical setting for his writing. After years of effort and several ‘near misses’ in the publishing business, Lyons is celebrating the recent release of his novel Ice Fire. His publisher is Atria/Emily Bestler Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.
Lyons gives much credit to the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group for his achievement. “For over a decade, I rarely missed a meeting and never missed an opportunity to read whatever I was working on. I received a lot of support from that group.” He also met there the persons who introduced his book to his publisher. And the rest as they say…
He admits to getting the idea for the plot from a geophysicist visiting P.V. who told him about a unique source of energy found on the ocean floor, an ice that flames when lit, hence the title.