The Hainan Conflict is a superb follow-up to book one in your The Net thriller series. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
There were several ideas that I wanted to include in The Hainan Conflict. Interestingly, they were all based on elements of truth. The very first chapter hits on one of those elements: A female Russian virologist developing biological weapons and selling them to various countries and/or terrorist groups, along with the deliberate release of a deadly strain of smallpox in Kazakhstan in order to test its potency.
The next factual element I wanted to include was the mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet in airspace over the South China Sea, resulting in the US spy plane’s forced landing on Communist China’s Hainan Island. This actually occurred on April 1, 2001, and set into motion a highly charged political situation of top-secret US intelligence possibly getting into China’s hands. A lot of research went into the characteristics of the planes involved, the base where the US plane had originated from, etc. to make the story as believable as possible. My husband and I were living in Southern China at the time (we had even vacationed on Hainan Island) and we were (naively) surprised at how different the news accounts were between US and China sources. It was at that point that I realized that having a free press doesn’t guarantee the truth any more than a government-controlled press. I think that is something we as Americans take for granted, and wrongly assume that our news isn’t editorialized.
The next factual element was Hainan Island itself. It is just as beautiful as described in the book. And, here again, truth proved stranger than fiction! The descriptions of the resort/beach area, Wild Boar Island, the unusual military training camp on the beach, the primitive village with female leaders bearing facial tattoos, the hidden caves, even the modern computer in a plastic tent, were all facts based on personal experiences there. And, the island’s history of a native women’s group defeating the government’s army is factual. A dear Chinese friend was kind enough to research that information for me.
So, where does truth end and fiction begin? I leave that for the reader to figure out.
The relationship between Yi and Sarah was consistently intriguing. What were some ideas that informed their conflict?
The characters of Yi and Sarah are composites of the best qualities in some of the friends and judges we knew in China. Such qualities included a fierce loyalty to family and country, and a dedication to seeing China rid itself of poverty and corruption. However, some of the characteristics of the average Chinese man were not so charming. These included excessive smoking, spitting, and a tendency to treat women as second-class citizens. It was not uncommon to see a man step in front of a woman in line–simply because she was female. (This infuriated me, and I tapped a few men on the shoulder to point out their error!) The conflict between Yi and Sarah certainly comes from the issue of his being American and a spy (and therefore unable to confide in Sarah his true identity and purpose). Adding to the conflict and intrigue, Yi’s character had to be different from the average Chinese male. So, he regularly does things more typical of an American. This confuses Sarah. The fact that he’s an attorney by profession rather than a spy gets him into trouble on several occasions. Plus, he misses his life in America. Much of Yi’s conflict stems from Sarah’s life in Tibet with Buddhist/vegetarian traditions being so different from his Christian American ones. Yet he is fascinated by her beauty, her brilliant legal mind, and her strong female personality. He struggles with the distraction of falling in love, while being in an uncomfortable situation that could cost him his life.
What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
The main goal was to be true to the facts. I researched and tweaked the story until I could fit it into the timeline that the facts dictated. That was not easy!
What can readers expect in book three of The Net thriller series?
Although book 2–The Hainan Conflict–is more standalone than book 1 (which was written as an introduction to the series, its intertwining stories and character development), book 3–The Panama Contagion–continues the story of the Net organization’s attempts to secure world power, the vendettas between the evil characters and our hero Yi, and the romantic struggles between Yi and Sarah. As readers of book 2 know, the Net acquired bioweapons from a Russian virologist. The use of these weapons culminates in book 3 by way of unsuspecting travelers on two cruise ships returning to the States after a trip through the Panama Canal. A pandemic ensues. Also carried over from book 2 is the Net’s plan to disrupt international shipping channels by destroying parts of the Panama Canal. The question is, can Yi stop the Net’s destruction while fighting off a psychopathic killer, and trying to mend his relationship with Sarah, all while the CIA is ignoring his warnings? You’ll have to read it to find out.
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The Hainan Conflict by D.M Coffman, is a fast paced thriller with incredible and fascinating adventures combined with fast-paced action, and traces of romance. The shadowy hidden cave reckons to end the military conflict of the loyal troops, the island hosts some wicked organization. U.S attorney, and undercover detective YI along with Sarah, a Tibetan judge, are on a mission on the Hainan Island, all are in pursuit of clues relating to the discovery of a refined computer system, concealed in the heart of this aboriginal village. As Sarah, is recovering from an attack, Yi realizes the operations of the internet along with other bio –weapons, all in the underground cave.
D.M Coffman, has used engaging and descriptive language along with intense imagery that clearly reveals the essence of intelligent and brave, but sometimes manipulative, characters. The tension is set high early on in this book and explodes every time the tension breaks with fast action scenes. The mystery of the dynamic personalities of the characters is what intensifies the essence of conflict since every moment brings new discoveries.
As a thriller fanatic, I am particularly impressed with D.M Coffman’s style of delivery, the intrigue that comes along with divided interests even among the inner circle of main characters. So amazing, that there is a heightened tension between Sarah and Yi, yet they have to resolve their differences fast and amicably lest they are defeated by their mysterious enemies.
I liked the turn of events from the time Yi, the undercover detective discovers the enemy’s plan to attack. How he quickly needs to form a secretive military conflict whose fundamental requirement is to be in sync with the US-Sino collaboration. These calculated series of events are the real grounds of the Hainan conflict which eventually result into a forced landing on the island.
The conspiracy among individual characters which pops us in every chapter only heightens the suspense and curiosity. The Hainan Conflict is a captivating political thriller that fans of a Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum will heartily enjoy.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B082WMGYF9
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The Panama Contagion follows an attorney who must stop an international terrorist organization from killing people. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
Many strange experiences occurred while my husband and I worked in China with Chinese university students and judges. When China received upgraded trade status with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States helped with training China’s judges to learn and implement the WTO’s legal requirements including the Rule of Law. One reason why the US did this was because American companies doing business in China were losing millions of dollars from counterfeit products–they were competing against poor-quality knock-offs of their own products. My husband and I were teachers in that judicial training program, working with China’s judges–some as high as their Supreme Court. From my being hospitalized with early SARS (when China was still covering it up), to a mysterious news editor who appeared at our door professing a terrorist group in Southern China targeting Americans, to touring a primitive island village and finding a modern computer inside a plastic tent on an island filled with hidden caves, to hearing the judges complain about the corruption in their judicial system and how hard it was going to be to implement the Rule of Law, it didn’t take much imagination to create The Net thriller series.
Jason Yi is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
When the US stepped in to assist China in implementing the Rule of Law,one major barrier to overcome was the existing customs and practices in China. For example, legal decisions weren’t always based on the law–some were determined by who paid the most money to the judge or who had the best family connections, etc. This was deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. Yet the Rule of Law requires that the written laws be followed,interpreted uniformly, and that no one is above the law. The WTO and the US could send in teachers to train the judges, but only by changing the culture and eliminating the corruption could the Rule of Law really be implemented. Of course, it was purely my imagination but I accomplished this in the story by sending in a few undercover Chinese-American attorneys to serve as judges, ferret out corruption, and sway other judges to follow the Rule of Law. Jason Yi is one of those undercover Chinese American attorneys. How he becomes involved is introduced in book 1–The Net Conspiracy. As for ideals behind his character development, there were several: Judges in China are young–some right out of college. The average age is 35. So, Yi would have to be about that age, fluent in the language sand in Chinese and American law, be honorable and trustworthy, and have a sense of adventure in taking on the risk of undercover work. And it never hurts that the protagonist is handsome!
I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was this planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
I outline when I write and know pretty much where I want a story to go.However, as I wrote The Panama Contagion, the story moved in its own direction–much different than I had planned and it surprised me. I thought the story would be heavy into the virus and the resulting impact on society. Instead, it played out more about the interaction between the characters and their personalities. The Foreigner (bad guy)took on a much more psychotic nature, and a secondary character (Bao) became more involved than I had originally planned. As it turned out,this made for a better ending and segue into book 4, The Harbin Connection.
This is book three in The Net series. What can readers expect in book four?
The terrorist element of The Net organization has pretty much been thwarted, but the vendetta between the Foreigner and Yi (evil and good)will peak in book 4–The Harbin Connection. Where The Panama Contagion dealt with a deadly virus, The Harbin Connection will deal with human sex trafficking. (If you remember in book 3, Bao owned numerous massage/sex parlors that specialized in Caucasian children–acquired through kidnapping and sold off when no longer useful; sold and lost into other markets through the arctic city of Harbin, China.) Bao and Sarah (Yi’s love interest) will play strong roles as The Net targets Sarah to be kidnapped and sold at Harbin. Other evil ploys will prevent Yi’s ability to save her, and her survival will come into question. Yi’s honor and belief in the Rule of Law will be challenged as he comes face-to-face with taking the life of the man he despises. As with the other books in The Net series, book 4 will be filled with international intrigue, suspense, and fast-paced action adventure, without the use of offensive language, graphic sex or extreme violence.
DM Coffman’s The Panama Contagion is unlike any book I read this year. Eerily, it seems to be a prediction of the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, this is the least interesting thing about this book. Its plot is well thought out and intricately executed.
It tells a tale of Jason Yi, an American living in China. We are taken through his interesting yet tumultuous fight against an evil terrorist organization that threatens the safety of all Americans. Due to his curiosity and active pro-activity, this undercover Chinese judge uncovers several terrorist plans by this organization and seeks to thwart them.
As such, his life is unquestionably in danger throughout the book. His girlfriend, a Chinese judge now studying in the U.S., is also at risk of attack. Interestingly, some of those he seeks to protect are also against him; a sad affair indeed.
In a span of a mere 236 pages, this book reveals biochemical attacks, explosive attacks, betrayals, and ongoing vendettas. The scenes are well written and extremely easy to read. The author has the innate ability to explain the intricacies of legal and political systems in the simplest of terms. It was therefore not surprising to me that DM Coffman has worked in the legal system for years and is even a former resident of China. Her writing is quite authentic.
The only complaint I have about the book stems from the different perspectives from which it is written. As a reader, I felt that we were hopping from one character’s head to another’s without warning. While the author made an effort to indicate the place and date that each scene was taking place in, little was done to give a heads up on whose perspective we were delving into. With a story that is told from as many different perspectives as this one, it helps to even subtly draw attention to the persona at the beginning of the chapter. Other than that, the book was easy to follow and relate with.
The running theme in this book is the constant fight against evil. It also deeply delves into the issue of self-sacrifice for the sake of man and country. As a man willing to die to protect his country and those he loves, Jason Yi embodies that.
As other characters seek happiness beyond the confines of their native countries, it becomes clear that the pursuit of happiness is another major theme. For its consistent suspense, accuracy, and downright readability I would highly recommend this book.
Pages: 249 | ASIN: B08CJLWND5
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