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.
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 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.
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.
At the risk of needing to say no more, I want to start by noting that #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child called HARD TARGET a “terrific thriller” that’s “fast, hard, and intelligent.” Vince Flynn called it “a smart, complex novel that explodes from the pages and scores a direct hit on my radar.” And the Associated Press raved that “HARD TARGET reads like a real case with real people, and readers will be blown away when it’s over.”
By George Ebey
Fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington’s most powerful consulting firm. Now, he’s staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world’s most dangerous men. To get out, he’ll have to do all the things he thought he’d never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill. Mike grew up in a world of small-stakes con men, learning lessons at his father’s knee. His hard-won success in college and law school was his ticket out. As the Davies Group’s rising star, he rubs shoulders with “The 500,” the elite men and women who really run Washington — and the world. But peddling influence, he soon learns, is familiar work: even with a pedigree, a con is still a con, and the higher the climb, the harder – and deadlier – the fall.
By Jeff Ayers
Joshua Graham’s latest thriller, DARKROOM, provides a riveting and page-turning experience. After scattering her mother’s ashes in Vietnam, photojournalist Xandra Carrick comes home to New York to rebuild her life and career. When she experiences supernatural visions that reveal atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, she finds herself entangled in a forty-year-old conspiracy that could bring the nation into political turmoil.
Launching headlong into a quest to learn the truth from her father, Peter Carrick, a Pulitzer Prize Laureate who served as an embedded photographer during the war, Xandra confronts him about a dark secret he has kept–one that has devastated their family.
Her investigations lead her to her departed mother’s journal, which tell of love, spiritual awakening, and surviving the fall of Saigon.
Congressman Richard Thompson’s reelection campaign is sent into a tailspin when his opponent files a lawsuit asking the Court to order that Thompson live up to his campaign promises and vote against a pending federal spending bill. Thompson’s efforts to dodge the issue thrust him into the middle of a nefarious business deal where arms dealers are using the Keeneland horse sales to illegally run F-14 Tomcat parts to the government of Iran. In a fast-paced story that travels from the storied horse farms of Kentucky to the green fields of Ireland, Thompson is forced to realize that more is at stake than simply a campaign. In the end, an unlikely hero steps forward to make his future path clear.
I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a novel. Not my wife; not my business partner and friends. I really wanted to see how it would all develop.
That went well for a few months while I wrote at the computer after the kids went down for the night. It went well until my wife discovered some printouts from the Internet I had left out. She came to me with the papers in hand and a very serious question.
“Gary, do we have a problem?”
The legal profession seems to attract a disproportionate number of attorneys who would willingly give up their law practices for successful careers as authors. Allan J. Topol, on the other hand, put a promising career as a writer on the back burner so he could devote his full attention to family and to a burgeoning practice in environmental law.
Topol published a couple of thrillers to good reviews, FOURTH OF JULY WAR (in 1978) and WOMAN OF VALOR (in 1981), then he took a break, a long one. For writers struggling to get published, calling a time out on a promising career would seem an unthinkable risk. For Topol, it was a good decision.
A young, go-getting, all-women publishing house–Rebel ePublishers of Johannesburg, South Africa–intends to launch a dynamic first novel on the e-market in late November, early December.
Titled THE DARTS OF DECEIT it is a powerful drama of international political intrigue and high adventure in turbulent Africa. The author, Wilf Nussey, a journalist for forty years, spent most of them in Africa, covering the march of independence up to the death of apartheid. As a foreign correspondent for South Africa’s leading newspaper chain he came to know the southern and central African states intimately. He watched Portugal’s three African colonies implode into civil war after the Lisbon dictatorship collapsed in 1974, Rhodesia’s whites surrender power to blacks in the new Zimbabwe (who promptly suppressed internal black opposition by massacreing twenty to thirty thousand of them, always an effective ploy), and South Africa’s white regime desperately reinforce the apartheid walls as the black nationalist tide beat against them.
By Jeff Ayers
America needs a hero in Afghanistan. At the beginning of the war, our mission was clear-cut. And that’s how it remains in The River Panj, an emergency relief thriller featuring ex-Notre Dame football star Derek Braun.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Derek is doing relief work in war-torn Afghanistan when his fiancé and elderly colleague are kidnapped along the border with Tajikistan, which is struggling out of its own civil war. With no one to help, he goes in search. On this dangerous journey, he faces Islamic terrorists, heroin smugglers, corrupt Russian soldiers, Iranian spies and helpless CIA agents, witnessing an assortment of terrible acts that culminate in his own kidnapping.