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What if…despite all the nuts on the internet claiming it’s so…what if Apollo 11 really was a made-for-TV movie and Neil Armstrong never took that giant leap for mankind?

Half a century later, the Chinese announce a lunar mission to plant their red flag alongside Old Glory in the Sea of Tranquility. Only…Old Glory isn’t there. Never was. LBJ knew it. Tricky Dick knew it.

And now Gary Stephens—a 30ish director of beer and yogurt ads—knows it. The recent, suspicious death of his filmmaker dad Charlie leads to the discovery, hidden among his effects, of seven cans full of old 35mm film snippets. Dated before the landing, they’re identical to the footage NASA claims was shot by the Apollo 11 boys.

Who wants to keep the Apollo secret from the world? And why are they killing everyone who knows?

The Big Thrill spent some time with author Mitch Silver to learn more about his latest thriller, THE APOLLO DECEPTION. Here’s what he had to say:

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

Not knowing the science behind sending a man to the moon. So I read a lot of books and talked with a few scientists.

The biggest opportunity? The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the hoopla around it this year.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I think it takes the Apollo 11 skepticism out of the hands of the kooks and makes it a lot of fun…whether you think it’s real or not.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

Definitely the setting: the moon.

I have no idea whether the 1969 landing was faked or not, but a plausible way to manage it came to my mind when I looked up at the night sky.

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

That love conquers all.


Mitch Silver was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island. He attended Yale (B.A. in History) and Harvard Law School (“I lasted three days. I know the law through Wednesday, but after that…”). He was an advertising writer for several of the big New York agencies, living in Paris for a year with his wife, Ellen Highsmith Silver, while he was European Creative Director on the Colgate-Palmolive account. They have two children and live in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Bookworm, Mitch’s second novel following In Secret Service, just came out in paperback. His upcoming thriller, THE APOLLO DECEPTION—about what did (and didn’t!) happen on the moon 50 years ago—will be published this fall. Mitch also won the American Song Festival Lyric Grand Prize for “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed.” His blood type is O positive.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.