A mystery novel that tackles uncomfortable issues with a splash of adventure is what readers will find within the pages of The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This book contains all the basics of a mystery: intrigue, conspiracies, subterfuge and best of all, aliens. Whether or not the aliens are real and what relationship they have to the story that is told is up to the readers to discover. It’s a grand journey that crosses over the Atlantic Ocean to Europe in search of answers. Almost Indiana-Jones-esque, this adventure will surely have readers turning those pages to discover just what the relationship is between these aliens and the ever esteemed Vatican church. The answer might just surprise all who pick this up.
We follow our protagonist, Sean O’Sea, as he begins his journey from his comfortable home to Europe where his life is placed in jeopardy several times. It’s not a good action story without some sort of armed confrontation. Sean seems like a regular man with very irregular friends as he pursues his latest obsession with alien theories and whether or not there is any truth to the stories that have been told. He’s a likeable character and his ‘everyman’ flavouring will allow all readers to feel a bit of them in him. This allows readers to connect with the story on a more personal level and demonstrates the clever wordsmithing at play. The cast of characters is easy to keep track of even if it may seem like there are a few more than necessary.
The small downfalls of this book is the dialogue and how convenient everything seems. There are points in the novel when characters are conversing between themselves and their words seem stilted and forced. As if they are speaking just for the sake of speaking. This detracts slightly from the overall tone of the novel, but it is easy to move past.
As for the convenience of everything, this could just be a story element to help solidify the conspiracy flavour of the book as a whole, but it seems contrived in some areas. Our protagonist just happens to have a summer home that is looked after by a man who just happens to have worked with the CIA on top secret missions. Our protagonist also just happens to make friends with some very influential people during his travels and just happens to uncover a massive plot while being an ordinary man. Perhaps this is what makes a great conspiracy tale, however it felt a little too easy. But these are minor and don’t take away from the joy of reading.
For readers who enjoy reading conspiracy theories that involve the church and global cover-ups, you will definitely find an enjoyable read in The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This action story knee-deep in such a controversial subject is entertaining to read and the twist at the end will have all readers questioning exactly what transpired in the pages of the book.
Pages: 286 | ASIN: B01G0Y8ZFG
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Glossolalia is a thrilling ride through the mind of a woman who is seemingly normal but her life slowly unfolds to reveal something bizarre. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
I have a keen interest in mind control of individuals, and the way controlling each individual can effectively affect a large number of people. All my life I’ve studied in depth the methods that agencies such as the CIA has historically used, and they often have manipulated people’s interest in the occult. And that seems like a topic rich with dramatic fictional possibilities, especially for Psychological Suspense, in which gaslighting is such a common element.
I know I love that electric shudder I get when realize something is not what I thought it was, when I’m just starting to put the pieces together and it’s first making sense, grim as the truth may be. I wanted to give readers that entertainment as well.
Nancy, is like many women at first, but she suffers from narcolepsy and has an addiction to pills that she is trying to kick. How her character unfolds and develops is fascinating. What was your plan as you wrote Nancy’s character?
The only way she can explain her fugues at first is to believe she has narcolepsy, but when she discovers what she does during her periods of amnesia, she realizes her problem is something entirely different from that illness. Similarly, she thinks she’s addicted to the pills to keep hallucinations and delusions at bay, but once she manages to stop taking them, she realizes her visions have been actual memories.
My plan with her was to create an anti-hero who finds a way to redeem herself while staying true to the dubious skills she’s been taught all her life. And she gives readers a way to inhabit the sympathetic victim as well as to perhaps develop compassion for people who are compelled to commit violent acts. In a way, she stands for all of us, because everyone has fallen prey to disinformation at some point, and thus has been an unwilling promulgator of it. And all of us have some chance at heroically redeeming ourselves for that, though of course, I don’t promote violence in any way.
There are a lot of fantastic twists in this novel along with a variety of surprises that kept me turning pages. Did you plan the novel before you wrote or did the story develop organically?
I planned it out to make sure all the plot points, pinch points, act breaks and all were in proper order. However, as I wrote it, I got new ideas for twists that were great fun to conceive of. For example, Brandon the YouTube conspiracy journalist with gigantism wasn’t in the completed first draft. Just as much as I enjoy the shudder of realization, I love the feeling of coming up with new plot twists. It feels delightful.
Glossolalia is book one in the Agents of the Nevermind series. Where does book two, Remember to Recycle, take readers?
People who like Glossolalia will probably like Remember to Recycle because it falls within the same genre categories including Conspiracy Thriller and Political Thriller, and while book one focuses on how coups are created, book two focuses on how proxy wars are created. In both cases, the emphasis is on how intelligence agents deceive the public into going along with the terrible treatment of other countries for profit motive, while pretending it’s for humanitarian aid.
Glossolalia referenced our society’s history, particularly related to intelligence agencies, as a foundation for the series, as well as a pattern of coups that’s been recurring for a very long time; Remember to Recycle specifically addresses what’s happening right now. It goes into all the types of trafficking that go along with war, which is the secondary meaning of the title.
However, the first meaning of the title is more obvious, because a major character is Dave, a homeless man who survives by going through people’s recycling bins and selling the stuff, like all the other guys on the street. But he comes up with a brilliant plan. As in Glossolalia, there’s a darkly humorous aspect to it, and he provides a lot of that. He was really fun for me to write, especially as it’s first person present tense, while he describes his life moment by moment to the “character” he affectionately calls Mr. Interrogator. He’s got a hell of a personality. He likes to wear a wide variety of costumes that he keeps under the bridge, and fancies himself an actor of sorts. He idolizes the Rescuers, who are based on the White Helmets.
No one but her uncle would hire Nancy, considering her habit of snapping out of amnesiac fugues, wondering where she got her bruises and the scent of men’s cologne. When she sees a crime of poison in progress at the company, she chases the truck carrying away the chemical legally deemed too toxic to use or to dump. Her pursuit leads to a convoluted world of political intrigue, esoteric rituals and an arcane Elizabethan spy code, and assassinations she never imagined – though her imagination is what holds that world together.
This conspiracy novel introduces a young woman with an ambiguous past involving herself in a killer organization with one layer after another of her psyche. DARK, even possibly DISTURBING ROMANCE, is key to finding elusive authenticity.
The old cartoonish formula of good CIA VS bad guys no longer is fresh and relevant. Though through a fictionalized agency, the books in this series, like Barry Eisler’s spy thrillers, explore the shady side of the CIA secret psy-ops, covert experiments, illusions, coups, media theater, psychological warfare, and illicit methods of funding. The Agents of the Nevermind series dares to explore the edgiest controversies and the convoluted lives intelligence agents must endure as they create bizarre delusions for the world in order to hide the truth about their nation’s financial foundation.
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Nancy is like any woman in the prime of her life; active, engaged with hobbies, and busy with a normal day job. But underneath the surface, she is anything but ordinary. Plagued with a strange form of narcolepsy, Nancy can’t help but feel the grip of forces other than her own. With her uncle’s seemingly gracious help coming into question, she is soon exposed to the world of government conspiracy, mind control and espionage. It’s up to her to find out who’s behind it all, but can she get a grip in time to save herself and others?
Tantra Bensko’s Glossolalia is a thrilling and bumpy ride through the mind of a woman who comes off initially as relatively boring and normal. She’s crushing on a co-worker and at the mercy of jokes from her cube mates. She has her hobbies, piano and karate, and a good friendship with a girl named Alyssa. After Nancy’s parents died mysteriously when she was younger, her uncle Geoff took her into his care and provided her with a stable job at his corporation. Plagued with fugue states and narcolepsy her whole life, her uncle has also been giving her a steady supply of pills that she can’t seem to break her addiction to. She starts to question her uncle’s intentions and in an effort to break free from him and the pills, she coincidentally starts to reveal Geoff’s much darker agenda for her.
Initially, I began to question Nancy’s motives and her own sanity. The writing was quite scattered and jumped around enough to make me wonder if Nancy was just in a constant state of a psychotic break. In one moment her mind was scrambling for answers and in the next it was calm and reasonable. It took quite some time to figure out the relationship between Emily, Angela and Nancy, but the slow reveal did add to the suspense. Nancy’s tenacity and constant questioning of her life kept the book moving along at a nice pace. And there is plenty of references to the Nevermind, the CIA, MKULTRA, and other government groups which helps to build the psychological suspense of the novel.
Pages: 250 | ASIN: B01I8SLVTY
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Suspense, intrigue and subterfuge. An agent chasing a fugitive who knows more than is healthy for him. What begins as a cat-and-mouse game evolves into a spectacle that is sure to entertain all readers. The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields appears to be the first book in a series centering on the skills of Special FBI Agent Sean Kruger. His son now off to college we meet Kruger as he sells his home and moves into a condo where he hopes to just relax and quietly move about his business. Relaxation is not so easily found for our agent. No sooner does Kruger make a romantic connection with his attractive neighbor than he is pulled into a man-hunt. Will Kruger catch this so-called fugitive and bring him to justice? Or is the thought of justice much more subjective than previously thought?
For a debut novel this is a fantastic piece of work. Any reader can tell that a lot of time and effort went into crafting this adventure. Fields has done his research in this area of crime fiction and it all feels quite realistic. Understanding how major organizations like the FBI, CIA or even the local police department work can be a daunting task for a new writer. Fields is clearly comfortable with this topic and has either studied or done enough research to become so. What’s unsettling with this genre is the matter of how loose-lipped certain agents can be when they are in the comfort of their home with their significant other.
Fields does a great job describing the scenery, particular points of interest and characters in general. The main characters in this particular book have their back stories fleshed out under the pretense of first-dates. Instead of feeling forced, this is a natural stage for such information to be shared. A clever trick indeed.
If there are any drawbacks it would be when Fields describes the race of a character. Using such phrases as ‘the black guy’, ‘the white guy’, or the ‘girl of Asian descent’ seems rather bland in comparison to how he describes other aspects of the book. Opportunities to describe a characters skin tone with more grace are missed here and it grates hard to read such a stereotypical and flat profile. Other parts of the character are described with more elegance which is what makes this particular aspect stand out.
If you are looking for an adventurous crime-drama where the elements of surprise and intrigue hide around the corner then The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields is a must-read. Quick-paced with easy to digest chapters and interesting characters you can’t go wrong by adding this to your collection. Besides, aren’t you curious to see just what happens when Kruger does catch the fugitive? The delectable twist shouldn’t be missed.
Pages: 307 | ASIN: B00WS00FW8
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In Paracelsus we see the horrors of an ongoing war of subterfuge and nuclear weapons as it spans nearly fifty-years and encompasses the world. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The idea came to mind when I read about Alexander Lebed, (who placed third in the 1996 Russian election and was also chairman of the National Security Council. Lebed led negotiations with the Chechen President, Aslan Maskadov, and signed agreements in the town of Khasavyurt in Dagestan which ended the first Chechen war.) He claimed that Russia had produced and lost track of suitcase sizes nuclear weapons whose primary purpose was sabotage. The Russian Federation rejected Lebed’s claims and stated that such weapons had never existed. Within six years he was dead, killed in a helicopter crash on April 28, 2002, after it collided with electric lines during foggy weather in the Sayan mountains.
Subsequently a GRU defector, Stanislav Lunev, confirmed that such nuclear devices existed and speculated that they had been deployed. He then worked as a GRU intelligence officer in Singapore in 1978, in China from 1980, and in the United States from 1988. He defected to U.S. authorities in 1992. Since then he has worked as a consultant to the FBI and the CIA. As of 2000, he remained in the FBI’s Witness protection programme. Lunev asserted that portable tactical nuclear weapons known as RA-115 “Suitcase bombs” had been prepared to assassinate US leaders in the event of war. Russian authorities denied the existence of such weapons and then announced that all Atomic demolition munitions “ADMs “were in the process of being unilaterally destroyed? This raised my interest somewhat.
It was then that Red Mercury started to appear in articles across all media types. It was widely dismissed by authorities as a hoax designed to snare would be terrorists who wished to purchase it for nefarious purposes. Nevertheless Samuel T Cohen, an American physicist who worked on building the atomic bomb who was also described as “The father of the neutron bomb “, claimed for some time that red mercury is a powerful explosive-like chemical known as a Ballotechnic. The energy released during its reaction is allegedly enough to directly compress the fissionable material in a thermonuclear weapon. He claimed that he learned that the Soviet scientists perfected the use of red mercury and used it to produce a number of softball -sized pure fission bombs weighing as little as 10 lb (4.5 kg), which he claimed were made in large numbers. Again the contradiction intrigued me and I set about pitching a nightmare scenario where one weapon is employed against the other.
As I have been employed in the refuelling of nuclear reactors for the last thirty two years the probability of further development in nuclear weapon systems over the last seventy years seemed inevitable to me. Neutron bombs are now feasible therefore other advancements in this very secretive field of science have no doubt developed unilaterally.
I felt that the characters were intriguing and well developed. What were the ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
The characters are all based upon real characters and as you surmised each event was based on an actual event right down to the munitions, ships and operations that they were actively engaged in at that particular point of time in the story. Paracelsus has in my opinion six protagonists and whichever the reader chooses to affiliate with depends upon their social, political or religious persuasions. (One person’s terrorist is another’s hero.) I tried to balance this between each and remain unbiased, expressing an understanding of each characters motive through some backgrounding of their earlier lives.
In Paracelsus corrupt businesses blur the line between government and industry while ideological extremism spreads. What the inspiration for these turn of events in your novel?
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the oligarch including the clandestine energy deals brokered between Russia and its neighbouring states also included the circumventing of agreed sanction limits on the sale of Russian commodities to both known terrorist organisations and rouge states. This was occurring whilst Muslim extremism began to rise across much of the globe primarily in countries liberated from dictators by western forces. It occurred to me that these adversaries could be brought together and ultimately contest each other on many levels, allowing me the freedom to expand the narrative across almost fifty years and four continents.
What is the next book that you’re working on and when will it be available?
I hope to conclude the battle between Nasser and Colonel Ryan in the next book STRONTIA and stretch the story into true science fiction whilst utilising real scientific advancements – including Nano technology and the recent CRISPR 9 biological advancements to set the stage for the rise of a completely new anti-hero. I am not sure when STRONTIA will be available as Paracelsus took me years to research and write.
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The Geek is about an assassin that is trying to get out of the game. What draws you to the spy/espionage genre?
I’ve always been fascinated by conspiracies and the world of shadow/clandestine operations. I think it’s that wanting to know the unknown, or not well known that has always drawn me to this sort of world. Motivation is also a big thing for me when exploring worlds like this. What type of person would choose to do this for a living? What would they be like? What does killing for a living/for your country do to you? Those sorts of questions really intrigue me.
What was your inspiration for The Geek and how did you decide on the code name?
Well originally The Geek was developed as a T.V. series. It was optioned and developed on two separate occasions but never moved past the initial stage. The story is much longer but I don’t want the reader to get bored with a lot of “inside baseball” stuff.
When I first developed The Geek, I wanted to do a live action comic book. This was before comic book movies and series were incredibly popular (and/or done correctly). It was a very over the top 9pm friendly kind of show. When it finally turned into a book, it became far more dark and I like to think more realistic in its portrayal of the invisible world of government sanctioned assassination. I’ve changed as a writer and the times have changed as well, so I think really this is the true version the story was always meant to be.
I chose the codename The Geek because of a logic game I’ll play in my head sometimes when writing. A man, who was constantly bullied as a child for being “the other”, shy, uncomfortable, not athletic or good looking per se. He loved (and loves) video games, science fiction, fantasy, comic books and of course Dungeons and Dragons. The term that was used to taunt him his entire life, being called GEEK, he chose as his codename. He took the power back that was taken from him as a child. To turn the word Geek from something used to make him feel bad or “less than” into a word that would strike terror into those who fell into his cross hairs.
Gary (the main character) liked the idea of scaring the bullies of the world with a word/phrase that shouldn’t or wouldn’t normally terrify them.
Readers can easily find themselves lost in another world filled with spies, secrets, and lies played on a global stage. Did you do any research for this book? How did you develop such and intricate story?
As I touched on earlier I’ve been fascinated with this world for a long time and have done a lot of research in the past regarding clandestine operations. But for this book I also did quite a bit of research in regards to how a government agency like the CIA would go about using assassins. The CIA does not have a mandate to kill, so how would they use assassins if they wanted to go around killing people. So while some of it is supposition, there was also quite a bit of research into how it would (or does) work.
As far as the global stage goes, I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life to be able to travel extensively. When I do travel, I take tons of photos and notes of my journeys. Most of the locations in the book are places I have been either multiple times or for extended periods of time. And or course I had my photos and notes to fall back on when writing.
In regards to this being an intricate story I’ve known these characters for quite some time. When it came to plotting out the novel, it was just a matter of fleshing out the individual story lines, character motivations and making sure they connect in the right way. I hope that’s not too vague of an answer.
Also, coffee helps…a lot!
Considering the NSA evidently reads every email written, I would like to take a moment and say to our friends at the NSA that I of course do not believe the CIA or any government agency would ever do anything along the lines of employing “off book” assassins. So please don’t have me killed.
What was the hardest part in The Geek for you to write?
The hardest part was definitely switching from screenplays (which I’ve been doing for 16 years) to prose. I didn’t think it would be all that different but it was and the learning curve was steep. I originally was using an old version of the feature film script (another long boring story) as an outline, but it just didn’t work. I’ve changed as a writer and times have changed and the tone and style just didn’t seem to fit. I was about 200 pages into the novel when I realized I had to scrap it and start over with just the characters that I’ve come to love.
It was the best thing that could have happened as I truly believe had I not done that, this book would not be what it is.
In terms of what was the hardest for me to write emotionally in the book, I’d have to say -without giving away spoilers- there were a couple of deaths that ended up needing to happen in order to progress the story. Originally these characters were supposed to live, but it just didn’t feel right. I had grown so attached to them that I didn’t want to kill them.
They were tough deaths to write and say goodbye, but in the end it was the best thing for the story. Considering the comments I get regarding one of these character’s deaths and how it crushed the reader when it happened, I really think I did the right thing… though I still feel kind of bad about it.
What is the next book that your fans should look out for?
Well I have started preliminary work on the next book in the series, but it’s not a sequel per se, but more of an expansion of this world and deals with one of the survivors from The Geek.
I am currently concentrating on two separate stories that I hope to launch as kindle serials in January and February 2016.
The first is a straight up sci-fi action/adventure called Blood Rebellious. It’s about a family of pirates, smugglers and thieves who have to save the Earth and all of humanity from an enemy that no one knows exists. It’s a bit more light hearted than The Geek and I’m having a blast writing it.
The second is a modern day fantasy/sword and sorcery mystery/thriller entitled Night Mage. It’s about a young woman who finds herself in over her head and unlocking powers she never knew she had. Which will be great for her, if she can figure everything out before she gets killed. It’s a little edgier, but is something I’ve been developing for about five years and I like to think it is a bit of a different take on the usual magic wielding fantasy story.
I’m also still doing screenplays and am working on one called Ur Perfect that was recently optioned, so fixing that as well.
I refer you to my earlier note about coffee!
Gary Geiecki (pronounced Gee-ecki) is a skilled assassin. He’s been an unofficial CIA killer for the past twenty years and has decided to retire. There is no such thing as a truly perfect assassin and Gary was no exception. He was, however, very good. Gary left a wide trail of bodies behind him, over his long and productive career. Riddled with childhood insecurities and social awkwardness Gary desperately tries to move forward with his life after retirement. He quickly finds it is far easier to kill someone else than it is to kill the ghosts of the past. Gary soon learns that what is in the past doesn’t always stay there. His greatest enemy… a man thought long dead… is back and seeking vengeance. Gary must now fight for not only his life, but everyone he holds dear and finally put this last ghost to rest. Gary will learn that the old saying You can’t go home again isn’t exactly true. You can go home again, but you shouldn’t.