The Supreme Leader of Iran is desperate and thinks that an oil deal with China will shield him from more economic sanctions from the west. Unbeknownst to him, the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guard is planning a coup to overthrow him, and he needs the help of CIA operatives Ben Thrasher and Beth Jenkins to pull it off. But a rogue Basij General has become suspicions of his commander’s plans. Will the coup succeed before it’s too late or will the Supreme Leader make one last stand?
“ Matt Scott writes with the keen insight of someone who’s opened the covert files on a dangerous region where American ideals meet the hard, cold necessities of real-world geopolitics. Whether taking you behind the lush curtains of a Teheranese palace or the stone walls and iron bars of a seemingly inescapable prison, The Ayatollah Takedown puts you right on the ground with its nonstop action and intrigue … making you forget you’re merely sitting at the edge of your seat.” – Jerome Preisler, New York Times bestselling author of NET FORCE: MOVING TARGET
Matt Scott recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, THE AYATOLLAH TAKEDOWN.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I was searching for a title of my third book and I saw Brad Thor’s Takedown on my book shelf. Since my novels center around the Iranian threat under the Ayatollah regime, The Ayatollah Takedown popped into my head and I knew that I had to write a regime change in Iran.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
It seemed like the best way to bring the series full circle. The first novel allowed readers to see Iran through a different lens- one that saw the country as one that wasn’t full of zealots. The second novel showed how dangerous Iran can be if it fell into the wrong hands. I think regime change in Iran is inevitable, so this was my chance to apply my creative juices and imagine how it could happen.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Out of Sight with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez was never far from my mind because the scene with the two of them in the trunk of the car early in the movie was a pivotal point in the plot because if movie goers didn’t believe that scene, they would believe that the rest of the movie was possible. It was a risky move by the filmmakers, but I wanted to take the same risk. Chapter 33 was my roll of the dice.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
My brother was the nuts and bolts of my protagonist, Ben Thrasher because he had a high functioning brain and a very emotional personality. He’s the type of guy you would always want when in a bind, but not exactly a dinner date. I thought it would be great to have a CIA operative that functioned that way.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope that readers will see Iran for something than a country full of hatred for the West. There are truly wonderful people in Iran that truly desire regime change, which I believe will happen one day. But regime change won’t be easy, but when it happens, it has to happen from the inside. This is my vision of how that could happen, and I hope the readers feel that it successfully brings the Surviving the Lion’s Den series to a close.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
The contract with my publisher is up after my third novel, so I can open myself up to any number of possibilities. Doing a novel set inside North Korea sounds fun. While I can’t give away the ending of The Ayatollah Takedown, I can say that I left it open. Ben Thrasher and Tom Delang will never be far away from my creative side.
Matt Scott is the author of the SURVIVING THE LION’S DEN thriller trilogy which debuted in 2021. Once believed himself to be too late in the game to be a thriller writer, an encounter with David Baldacci at a book-signing back in 2018 changed all that. At the time, Matt would be turning forty-years-old later that year and asked David Baldacci if that age was too old to write his first novel. David stopped mid-signature, looked up at Matt and said, “Oh, hell no. The industry could use some good young writers.” Upon hearing those words, Matt started the first draft of Surviving the Lion’s Den later that same day.
Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where he had the honor of studying under former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), General Sam Wilson, who was president and initially introduced Matt to the world of espionage.
Matt’s latest action-packed political thriller is the forthcoming THE AYATOLLAH TAKEDOWN (pub. 3/21/23 Speaking Volumes). His two previous novels in the series include SURVIVING THE LION’S DEN (2021) and THE IRANIAN DECEPTION (2022).
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.
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