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What would a real war on drugs look like?

Antim Straus Author Interview

Camp David Conspiracy follows a reporter who works to uncover the link between politicians, the drug cartel, and unexplained overdoes. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The idea for this novel came to me when reading how mad cow disease (BSE) caused beef demand around the world to plummet. People were afraid to eat beef for fear of “catching” mad cow. Similarly, tainted product scares with spinach, Tylenol, cantaloupe, apple juice, and even the Chipotle restaurant chain caused the public to avoid these products in mass.

I asked myself the question: “Would fear of dying from tainted cocaine cause users to avoid cocaine use?” From there, I structured a conspiracy story where overdose deaths suddenly and mysteriously start occurring across the US; and how users, sellers, the cartels, and the government would react.

This book was first published in November 2018. Today—in the world of “real life imitating fiction”— fentanyl laced opioids, heroin, cocaine, and even “legal” painkillers are causing overdose deaths to skyrocket. Could the Camp David Conspiracy storyline be taking place in real life?

Was there anything from your own life that you put into the characters in your novel?

I was a journalism major in college. And though I never worked as a reporter, I am impressed with investigative reporting—the ability to put small facts together to uncover a broader story.

Geoffrey Wines, the central character in the Geoffrey Wines Series is based on a specific personality, but his actions are a conglomeration of great journalists like Woodward, Bernstein, and high-profile investigations over the years.

In writing any character, I tend to have one person in mind, who I adopt and embellish.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

At the time I wrote this book, drug use and the drug wars across America continued to rage as the government’s war on drugs showed little progress in deterring people who enjoy the use of drugs. Meanwhile, cartels and sellers earn billions of dollars meeting this demand.

I show how each level of this supply and demand equation works to everyone’s advantage; except the authorities who are hamstrung in tracking and convicting the cartels and sellers.

While the book posits a realistic approach, it also asks: “What would a real war on drugs look like?”

I try to answer this question with historical references to a real war (WWII)—while reporter Geoffrey Wines unearths the most brazen plot he could ever imagine.

What story are you currently in the middle of writing?

I am writing the third book in the Geoffrey Wines series. (The second book: Disorder – A Novel launched on March 1, 2022). It will include the current journalistic relationship between Geoffrey Wines and President Osbourne. I will keep its storyline quiet until publication, currently anticipated for early in 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Geoffrey Wines, Metro Reporter for the Washington Post loves his gritty beat of reporting on drugs and gangs in the DC area.

He instantly knows things are not right when drug overdoses in DC and other metro areas start to spike. His suspicions heighten when five DC gang-bangers overdose from a new brick of cartel-delivered cocaine, and then confirmed when a prominent DC Attorney suffers the same fate. What could be so lethal? So undetectable? And who could be behind it?

Wines and his inner-city intern begin to connect the dots that lead someplace neither would suspect. Their probe takes them from the depths of inner-city Washington DC tenements to Cartel kingpins to the highest reaches of the US Justice Department. In the middle of their exploration,

Wines discovers human frailties and friendships that are unshakable as everywhere he looks, there are good guys, bad guys and some who straddle the thin line in-between. In this gray-space he unravels the Camp David Conspiracy.

Unravel How Disinformation Travels

Antim Straus Author Interview

Disorder follows a reporter that sets out to solve the mystery of how an unlikely candidate is rocketing to the top of the polls. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This book is a combination of three fictional storylines that miraculously merged early one morning. I had plotlines for a book entitled “The Election” – about a rigged election; another for a “Fixer series” – about a mysterious person who manipulates events for pay; and a third called “The Cure” – about a plan put in place to reacquaint Americans with our national values.

At the time I was not looking to write a second book (sequel to Camp David Conspiracy) featuring reporter Geoffrey Wines, nor President Osbourne. Yet, that morning, the three merged with Geoffrey Wines and President Robert Osbourne becoming the vehicle to tell a story that centers on the disfunction that disinformation wreaks on our society.

I will add this book was well on its way before the 2020 election, the false narrative about the election results, and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. It also predated the start of the anti-Covid vaccine disinformation campaigns. During its writing, the WSJ “Facebook Papers” were released; information about the Pegasus spyware / cell-phone hacks reported; and several academic papers were released detailing the actual flow of disinformation during the 2016 election.

Ironically, almost to the day of the book’s March 1 release: Russia invaded Ukraine; Putin’s motivation discussed; and his use of disinformation on both the Russian and Ukraine people reported.

Each of these events only fortified the storyline’s premise.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

I loved writing the dialogue scenes between Geoffrey Wines and President Osbourne. The banter back and forth was fun to write, giving each a voice and cadence to their speech.

The single scene I most enjoyed writing was when an unknown person enters Jimmy Olsen’s home and tries to penetrate the hallway leading to his operations center. I just love the way the entire scene unfolds, the nerd humor, and its ramifications later in the book (and this book’s sequel).

I also enjoyed writing the Washington Post newsroom interchanges as Wines and Olsen explain their findings to the paper’s editors. A lot of conflicting, yet important agendas come to play during these scenes.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important theme is the pervasiveness of disinformation throughout American society and how it is disseminated to the public in a falsely credible fashion. I try to show this in different ways throughout the story to ensure it sticks with the reader.

My introduction to this phenomenon occurred maybe ten years ago when I heard from a relative that one party was threatening to outlaw outdoor BBQ grills. It was a preposterous claim, but it always stuck with me. Later, a friend at tennis one night was telling about a political party trafficking kids from a Washington D.C. pizza parlor and how Sandy Hook was a hoax. This too stuck with me. Then in the throes of the 2016 election, I remember people questioning how social media could possibly have any sway in the election.

This book attempts to unravel how disinformation travels from its source — to social media — to mainstream media — to finally how our elected politicians give these lies credibility for personal and partisan advantage. We see how the public’s sources of news are highly segregated based on political persuasion and witness its impact in creating disorder in our society. The book tries to explain how and why we as a nation seem to be dealing with two sets of facts when trying to make personal decisions regarding Covid vaccines or understanding why gasoline prices are rising.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am writing the third book in the Geoffrey Wines series. It will include the current journalistic relationship between Geoffrey Wines and Jimmy Olsen. I will keep its storyline quiet until publication, currently anticipated for early in 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Strange events rock the presidential election primaries when an unlikely candidate emerges. Intrigued and suspicious, Geoffrey Wines, Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize winning reporter will stop at nothing to uncover who is manipulating the candidate’s surprising rise to the top.
Joining in his quest is James Olsen, the paper’s new media correspondent. With the young and talented writer and computer hacker at his side, Wines unearths the shocking scheme. But the Post’s editors will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
Watergate meets The Pentagon Papers in this thrilling tale of deception and determination reaching into the very ethos of our national government.

If the political drama of Watergate, Monica-Gate, The Pentagon Papers, or the exposé books by Bob Woodward excite you, then you will be entranced by DISORDER from beginning to end.

Disorder

Disorder by Antim Strauss is a riveting story about the most infamous US presidential election in recent times. This fictional narrative is based on actual events and explores the actions of a mysterious figure known as The Fixer. The reader is hooked from the start as the story begins with a message by The Fixer himself, addressing the reader. Individual chapters are dedicated to the thoughts and words of The Fixer, whose poetic lines are pretty gripping. As the story progresses, we realize how the actions of The Fixer are about to cause a catastrophe. An unstable, and disgraceful candidate becomes the frontrunner of the GOP, and a massive disinformation campaign is afoot to ensure his victory. Tipped off by a former president, journalist Geoffrey Wines along with fellow journalist, hacker, and Superman enthusiast Jimmy Olsen, discovers a much deeper conspiracy. One that threatens the very essence of American Democracy.

Disorder opens in a slow-burn style giving readers the background leading up to the election and introducing The Fixer. The words of The Fixer, nicknamed Elvis, add freshness to the narrative and gives readers a unique perspective. Similarly, the author has done an excellent job of conveying the thoughts of his characters within the text.

While the novel is a political thriller, readers are not inundated with suspenseful events. The story is well written and the narrative techniques used by the author are commendable. As a technothriller, there is a lot of technical jargon and computer-related stuff to appeal to the tech-savvy crowd. The best part about this story is the investigation by Geoffrey and Jimmy, along with other members of their team. The way the investigation is conducted and clues are connected are quite intriguing and will appeal to fans of compelling mysteries.

Disorder is a political fiction novel that parallels closely to recent events. Appealing to readers of mystery novels, political, techno, and psychological thrillers, this suspenseful and riveting novel has something for readers of all types.

Pages: 363 | ASIN : B09SBRYNHJ

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