While consulting with the FBI over a standoff with a religious cult, two U.N. spies spot a man they suspect may have violent intentions toward the U.S. government. He becomes a subject of surveillance as the spies delve into the dark world of militias, paramilitary compounds, and racist religion.
Spy missions often occur after months and months of planning, but sometimes odd occurrences can stimulate one. Like a carjacking at a suburban shopping mall. I lived for a long time in Northern Virginia and frequented Springfield Mall quite often--until a spate of carjackings kept me away for a while, but being a writer of fiction, those crimes planted a "what if" in my head. And what a "what if" it has been.
After the harrowing experience of bringing an executed man's personal effects to his father, U.N. spy Mai Fisher seeks comfort in an unlikely place--a religion she gave up years before. An understanding priest convinces her the Confessional might be her best choice, and she reveals to him one of her darkest secrets.
Four stories from the news during the summer of 2016 inspired this collection of short stories: Russian intelligence services harassment of western diplomats, an execution in Saudi Arabia, the murder of unarmed black men, and election rigging.
"Brave New World," the fourth and final short story in SPY FLASH II--and thanks to Aldous Huxley for the title--I wrote amid speculation about Russian interference in our 2016 elections. As an erstwhile Russia scholar, I was deeply interested in the issue. But I also wanted to show in this story that while spies do amoral and immoral things, they can also opt out of ethically questionable behavior, even when they admire the person making the request for their services. (I may or may not have been thinking about the false intelligence that led to the Iraq War.) Thank you for the great response to these stories with your Tweets and reTweets. It made this author's month.
It's not possible to work animals into this insight, per this week's challenge. Apologies. I wrote this story, "Best Served Cold," four years ago after a series of shootings of unarmed black men by police and in questionable circumstances. As a writer, I had to write, and I needed to do it NOT from my white privilege. So, I got help from sensitivity readers, and I hope I've done justice to the issue. And I was a horse person as a teen and young adult. Still my favorite "pet."
My father got to see a couple of short stories and several nonfiction articles of mine published, but he was gone by the time I published my first novel in 2017. I dedicated it to him. With his 94th birthday on 7/10, I looked into what was happening in 1926, the year of his birth. -Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket -A process to add sound to film was developed -The first SAT exams were held -Harry Houdini spent 91 minutes under water in a sealed container; he also died later that year -NBC was started -Hirohito became emperor of Japan
Mai Fisher is a hands-on spymaster, whether it's planning a mission or piloting a drone, she wants to be in on the action, even if her "spying" is now from behind a desk. Despite being desk-bound, she has to deal with a rival spymaster from the old Soviet Union, the collateral fallout from the death of an old asset of hers, an employee's significant personal issue, and a request from an unlikely source to rig an election. Mai's work, it seems, is never done.
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