EoA: Meet the Patriot

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 289-293 (Chapter Fifty)

So, like I said over on Slacktivist, I prefer listening to KMFDM rather than deal with Constitution-fetishizing Republicans who would rather recycle the tired old crap that was discredited in FDR’s time than admit that maybe it’s time to stop insisting that Democrats aren’t patriots, and admit that the Republicans are interested in only one thing: preserving established power.

That segues rather neatly into considering that this book, Edge of Apocalypse, has as one of its central themes that Democrats and Democratic politicians are just unpatriotic little twerps who want to give the USA away to the United Nations, and that the sheer bizarro portrayal of reality in this book is to be taken for actuality. We see that this book endorses the primacy of the military in terms of how the USA should organize its priorities, and implies that Democrats don’t love the USA the way Republicans do, by such things as President Corland not lionizing Joshua Jordan in front of a bazillion TV cameras when presenting Josh with the thanks of a grateful nation, or a Congressional investigation that is not conducted in good faith on the part of the Democrats.

We see this in Joshua’s cabal, his Roundtable peopled with wealthy and well-connected individuals who are trying to become movers and shakers in altering the face of US politics. And now, we’ll see this in The Patriots, the shadowy group whose members have begun contacting Josh Jordan.

It’s rather telling, I think, that these shadowy, behind-the-scenes organizations are presented as right-doers, instead of people who have no business trying to covertly manipulate the populace. It could fairly be said that the Administration isn’t much better, but at least they have the saving grace of actually having been elected to do their duty to the nation, as imperfectly as they might carry that out in practice.

So we join Josh Jordan actually being kind of clandestine now!

From his position against the railing of the ferry, Joshua Jordan had a good view of the Statue of Liberty as it loomed large on the water beyond the bow of the tour boat. The sky was grey and overcast, and the iron-colored water of the bay was choppy as the ferry left Battery Park Harbor in Manhattan. He felt uneasy about leaving the privacy of his hotel room. Wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses was a start.

Helluva lot better than amateurishly sneaky dinners in the hotel he’s staying at.

Taking one last look at the business card bearing only “The Patriot” on it along with a telephone number, Joshua wondered if anyone would show up. Joshua had called him immediately after the conference call with the Roundtable. The Patriot had insisted on the ferry for their rendezvous. Not exactly Joshua’s first choice.

Tough patooties, Josh. When the dude who might save you insists on some proper methods of meeting in ways which don’t attract attention (i.e. an ordinary meeting on a ferry, rather than a swanky restaurant dinner with someone else’s wife*), you do it, Mr. Jordan.


“You remind me of a man who likes to play chess.”

That was the prearranged opening line. The scripted intro concocted by the Patriot seemed melodramatic. But Joshua was required to give him the agreed response.

“I do. I prefer to lead with the knight.”


The other man reached out his hand and gave Joshua a crushing, hydraulic handshake. He had a good-natured face, in his early sixties, was medium height, and in very good shape. By all appearances he could have been a banker or a clerk in a men’s clothing store.

You know, it would have been funny as hell for Parshall to totally blow away any preconceived notions by having the Patriot dude be some shy, wispy, retiring type (like John Fiedler’s Juror #2 character in Twelve Angry Men) rather than the obviously acceptably manly guy we see here. But as is apparently typical for LaHaye-sponsored books, gender-role rigidity requires that the brave anti-government folks be the “proper” kinds of men and women.

BACK STORY TIME, folks. We learn that the Patriot is named Packard McHenry. Now, that said, Josh doesn’t recognize him. So my earlier supposition was incorrect regarding why his wife went in his stead, but a new one comes to mind: he wondered if Josh might be under surveillance and so sent his wife, who might not be immediately recognizable, who then must have reported back that Josh wasn’t being tailed/observed. If he had been, Packard would have cut off all contact.

Now, names. “Packard” evokes that kind of antique-out-of-fashion name aura that accompanies hearing names like “Hosea Blackford**” or the like. “McHenry” conveys the good-ol-Irish-guy type, a name that’s not associated with inherited status or privilege, but who’s a hard-worker, a go-getter, who goes for what he wants and achieves it no matter what.

And now let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:

“Information, Josh. Among other things. I’ve got a little group of friends that work with me on matters important to our country. Similar to your Roundtable.”

“How’d you know about that?”

“If you knew my friends you’d understand. Retired folks from the National Security Agency. Former members of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Past agents from the Secret Service. Me, I’m retired from…the Company.”

Ex-CIA agent turned head of a private, secret organization with people who move about undetected, with ease, to help implement a right-wing agenda and in doing so, spy on people connected to the US Administration. That’s not in any way at all a rather bad thing, according to LaHaye and Parshall. By comparison, the Administration screwing around with antitrust investigations as a form of bullying tactic is garden-variety political skullduggery.

I was watching the TV show Intelligence a while back, and in the second season a shadowy corporation comes into clearer and clearer sight, the “Blackmire Group”. It turns out to be led by a ruthless (ex-?)CIA agent and the Canadians suspect it may in fact be a CIA front company. This, by the way, is not fantasy. The CIA has unofficially been known to run front companies and organizations as a way to create believable non-official cover jobs and professions for their agents***. In the TV series it is hinted that the American government, through the CIA, is interested in seizing access to bulk water rights (at the time, the Canadian government had passed a law against bulk water exports, and there was a flurry of concern in the media at the time about the environmental and political downsides of losing access to reliable supplies of clean drinking water for Canadians).

In this book, even just the mention of a retired CIA agent in a capacity of some resources and power raises the very disturbing question of how closely linked Mr. McHenry is to the CIA and/or its active operatives and informants, and whether or not the CIA is actively involved with domestic right-wing political groups to work against its own political masters, which violates its own charter and, in fact, can lead to heavy prison terms should it be discovered. Given that this book has rather unintentionally exposed a subject of inquiry best explored in some depth, I think I’ll reserve the next writeup to just look at the problematic issues this kind of casual introduction creates, considering that I’ve heard the phrase, “no-one really retires from The Company”.

Moving on, Joshua and Packard begin talking.

“We’ve got an emergency. We need to know something about World Teleco. They’re shutting down a project of ours. We had a contract with them, but they’re refusing to honor it. Our media plan depended on it. And that, in turn, was going to be the linchpin for everything.”

“You mean, the linchpin to get Senator Straworth to drop the subpoena, so Judge Jenkins will then not order you incarcerated for contempt of court and of Congress…so you can keep the RTS weapon design protected and solely in the hands of the Defense Department of the United States, so it doesn’t get leaked to some less-than-friendly nations? You mean that kind of linchpin?”

Indeed it is, Mr. McHenry. And he doesn’t stint either! He goes on to blow the lid off the whole Fulsin thing, and in the process hammer a few more of those alarm bells about how the USA is being given away to all those foreigners.

I have intelligence about a meeting arranged by one particular not-nice lawyer by the name of Allen Fulsin, a man you know about because Judge Fortis Rice from your Roundtable talked to him about joining your group. I’m sure Judge Rice thought he was being discreet when he talked to him. But it turns out that Fulsin is one of those well-connected guys who knows all the dirty tricks and can get deep information from only a few leads. So Fulsin did some digging about your Roundtable based solely on the tidbits Judge Rice had given him, got what he needed, and then met with a high ranking VP of World Teleco at a bar. In a corner booth. We’ve got the whole story. Fulsin warned the telecom company that your message would be criticizing the White House. Exposing corruption. Showing how deliberate misinformation has been fed to the American people. How a media monopoly is aiding and abetting this. And most important to us, explaining how control of our country is being sold off, piece by piece, to a global network.

You have to sit there and marvel at the slanted bizarro perspective being presented as fact because dude’s a Christian and so should be believed. (If you remember from the intro, I noted that the back of the book makes mention of “The Patriots”, who are “well-connected Christians”)

How’d they find out about this at all? “Close surveillance”, Packard says. He goes on to elaborate that his guys had substituted one of the sugar packets for a fake, which is a dicier version of the John Grisham story (likely The Client) where a federal agent has a waiter substitute a bugged salt shaker on a table so he can listen in to the Mafia bad guys.

These guys are seriously creepy. They’ve already got Josh’s private e-mail address (they’re going to have someone e-mail him an affidavit about the meeting between Fulsin and Cheavers), and Packard tells him to upgrade his e-mail security! (O_O) Why Josh isn’t all like “WTF?!” even though these people are helping him out, I have no idea.

Packard goes on to explain what Josh really wants to know, which is the “globalist conspiracy” that this book’s been hinting at by means of Pastor Campbell’s sermons.

“Right,” McHenry said preempting him. “What my wife, Samantha, told you in the hotel restaurant. About being in danger from foreign actors? All we’ve got are bits and pieces that don’t add up. What we do know is that federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, are all clamping down on this hard. Closing ranks. We can’t get any intel on this at the moment. But we’re working on it. I do have one recommendation, though.”

McHenry handed Joshua a slip of paper, then said, “Have General Rocky Bridger from your group call this man at this number. They need to talk.”

On the slip of paper he had written the name of Special Agent John Gallagher along with his private telephone number.

After that, Pack McHenry pronounced what sounded like a kind of benediction. “We wish you God’s speed.”

And that’s that. One thing, though. Remember how Leary wished Gallagher Godspeed? In the book, he actually used the words “God’s speed”. Just like Packard.

I don’t know about you folks, but the idea of an active CIA involvement in a conspiracy to oppose the lawfully constituted government of the United States raises all kinds of seriously massive red flags and warning bells, because this book is majorly glossing over how much of a tar baby this thing could actually be if one begins to explore the implications of this stuff.

The next writeup I do is definitely gonna be a long one.

* You know, if this was Paul Stepola instead of Josh Jordan I’d have been wondering how long before he would have talked her out of that expensive dress and into his bed.
** A character from Turtledove’s TL-191 series who lives into the 1930s, and was born in 1850 or so.
*** The Soviets did something similar with diplomatic staff; you could almost always count on a KGB agent being in a Soviet embassy. News reporters for TASS or the like might also be KGB agents.


EoA: CSI: Intelligence Revealed

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 283-288 (Chapter Forty-Nine)

And here, we meet back with John Gallagher and his CIA counterpart, Ken Leary, who we’ve met previously. So, let’s follow along and see what Gallagher learns.

John Gallagher arrived at Yang’s Dry Cleaning a few minutes early.

A friendly Asian man at the counter asked him if he had dry cleaning to pick up.

“No thanks,” Gallagher said. “But I think my friend does.”

Not long after, Ken Leary shows up, hands the dude a “laundry ticket”, which signals the Asian to close up the laundry and discreetly disappear.

Leary sat down on a chair with a faded red slip cover in front of the counter. Gallagher sat down in another chair while Leary pulled some papers out of the envelope.

“This is a transcript,” he began, “of an interview between one of our agents and Mrs. Elena Banica. The interview took place following the murder of her husband. I can’t let you take this. It’s bad enough I’m letting you read it. And even worse that it’s left our New York station even for a few minutes. So look it over now. This is all I have for you. When you’re done, I need to get it back to the office.”

So what’d she say? Did she know what the unfortunate Yergi Banica was up to? (We may recall that he met his unfortunate end falling for one of the simplest tricks in the book, so it stands to reason he may have blabbed a bit too much in front of his wife)

The story is told as though Gallagher were envisioning the interrogation unfolding, although the book makes the mistake of saying the interview was being conducted “in Bulgaria”, as opposed to Romania. The bolded part showing that it was indeed in Romania is in the text.

When the interview took place, the subject, Elena, was seated in an empty back room in a large cathedral just off the Pasaj Subteran Unirea in Bucharest. She knew a friendly priest there, so she had insisted on that location for the meeting. Considering her former seedy occupation, Elena’s demand to give her statement in a church probably seemed ironic to her interrogator.

But the agent questioning her didn’t linger on that. The Agency needed to get down to the basement level about Dr. Banica. Elena was the only witness who knew enough about him and who could also be pressured into spilling it.

Next to Elena, on the floor, was a digital recorder, which was recording the conversation. The questions from the agent zeroed in on her relationship with Yergi. His next question was pretty blunt. “Considering the difference in ages, why’d you marry him?”

“Love,” she said, but she didn’t look at her interrogator when she said that. Elena tried to smile and took a second to tap the ashes from her cigarette.

She had been a call girl when she met Yergi. She also states that Yergi gave her money, that she wasn’t having an affair, and so on. She’d served Yergi breakfast that morning; he hadn’t said anything direct about what he was going to do, but given his show-off tendencies, it’s not surprising that he said more than he should have.

“Did Yergi talk to you that morning about where he was going?”

“Not then, no.”

“Did you know where he was going?”

“I think so.”

“So he talked to you about it then?”

“Yes. But only generally. Just that he was selling some information that had come into his possession.”

“He had obtained it originally from a Russian agent?”

If only to protect his wife, he shouldn’t have even told her that.

Anyway, the agent goes on to establish that it was the RTS Yergi had heard about, and now he wants to know who Yergi was going to talk to.

The agent paused long enough to lean back and size up his subject. He didn’t care if she had loved Yergi Banica. That wasn’t the point. What really mattered were her answers to his next line of questions.

“So Yergi was going to take this Return-to-Sender information, which he had received from the Russian, and was going to sell it to someone else. Right?”

“That was his plan. Would get big money from that. We would get new house. Close to the beach.”

“Did he ever give you a name?”

“For who?”

“I mean the name of the person he would be selling this information to…in Bucharest…the person he was going to meet in the hotel. That name.”

Unfortunately, she has nothing – no physical description, no identifying marks, nothing. Except…

“Anything about this man’s nationality? What country he came from?”

A few more seconds went by. Elena considered taking another drag on the cigarette and raised it to her lips as if she were going to.

But then she stopped.

“Yergi called him ‘the Algerian.'”

” ‘The Algerian’? Are you sure?”

“Yes. That I am certain about.”

DING! She’s tabbed Atta Zimler!

The interrogation closes with a scene worthy of a James Bond movie.

“When you find this man who killed my Yergi. Please…” Elena’s chin trembled a little.


She managed to stop the trembling. Then she spoke with icy control.

“Kill him good.”

And with that, we return to Leary and Gallagher. The FBI agent stuffs the papers back in the envelope and returns the lot to the CIA guy. They get ready to go, and we have this snippet regarding the final stages of this clandestine gathering:

Leary was struck by the way his friend had said that. Gallagher seemed intensely deliberate like Leary had never seen him before. Committed. Inflexible. So Leary gave Gallagher another warning, just for good measure. “Look John, I can’t deal with you any more on this subject. You’re on your own from this point on. I will deny our conversation. All of it. You know that.”

Leary then wishes Gallagher Godspeed and the two men part ways. That’s it for this chapter, folks.

Next chapter we’ll be back with Josh Jordan and we will learn who The Patriot is! 😀

EoA: Joshua’s Gambit

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 277-282 (Chapter Forty-Eight)

And now we revisit Josh and Abby Jordan. 🙂

Joshua Jordan was locked in a tight embrace with Abby. He was kissing her passionately in the foyer of his Palace Hotel suite.

After the preliminary schmooping at each other, we get something interesting. Now, Parshall isn’t as bad as Jenkins with the obtusely unintentional self-centeredness his characters exhibit, but still…

Then she stopped and moved her head back slightly to tell him something. “Oh, I’ve had such bad dreams,” she said.

[Josh replied,] “Being there with Rocky and Peg in that house. Helping them with their grief. I’m not surprised.”

“Not about them. About us.”

Now, we have already seen that Abigail tends to like things to be focussed on her (consider her conversation with Darlene in Aspen, for example), so even though the book presents her as the helpful woman appendage to Josh, the flashes of self-centeredness do show through. It’s kind of a bit surprising that Josh is the one to assume Abby was naturally reacting to Rocky Bridger’s recent loss, rather than assuming her dreams are all about him. Consider the contradiction between the above set of phrases and this just a little further down (bold is mine).

He asked her how things were going with Peg as she dealt with her loss, and how Rocky Bridger was doing. Abigail gave him the rundown in detail.

But Joshua saw the exhaustion in her face. “The way you give yourself to other people, Abby…you’ve got to look out for yourself too.”

Her dream, though?

“Bad dreams. For a while now. This sense of disaster. Like something bad, impending doom or something. I can’t shake it. Last night I dreamed there was this shadowy figure in our condo. Looking through our things. Wanting to hurt us, I think.”

Possible foreshadowing, considering that Atta Zimler is busy following Josh’s trail and has been tasked by Demas with getting the RTS-RGS.

We move into the catching-each-other-up segment of the chapter, with good news and bad news:

“We’ve got a conference call with several of the Roundtable folks thirty minutes from now. Hopefully to tell me that AmeriNews will go live later today. I’d like you to sit in on it with me. I need you on this.”

“So what’s the bad news?”

“The reason I want you on the call is that I received an email from Fort Rice. He now says he has had to bow out as head of our legal section. He says he has a conflict of interest.”

What’s this ‘conflict of interest’, you ask?

It seems Judge Strong Rice is rather troubled and embarrassed over his wife having to check herself into a rehab clinic. As Josh notes, Judge Rice is an “old-school kind of guy”, and that a man like that would believe his wife’s addiction to be less worse than it really is. Also, as it turns out, Judge Rice also isn’t too enamored of Darlene’s religious conversion while in the clinic.

“Well, it’s more complicated than that. Darley’s become a born-again Christian at that Center.”

Abby’s eyes widened; then they filled with tears. “Dear Darley. My precious friend. I couldn’t be happier for her. That’s so incredible…”

“Fort is really blowing a gasket over this. He’s not real keen on the Christian thing. He holds you partly to blame.”

“I’ll take that kind of blame, Josh. I really will. Darley is going to get better. From the pills, sure. But she’s also going to be spiritually healed, from the inside out. That’s what happens when Christ comes into your life. He changes you.”


“Look, Josh, you called him ‘old school.’ Remember he’s a former state supreme court judge. He takes conflicts of interest very seriously. Judges are trained to think like that. If he has a grudge against me, thinking I influenced his wife, and really thinks that will impact his effectiveness on the Roundtable because you’re the chairman, then Fort Rice is the kind of guy who would recuse himself. I know it sounds nitpicky, but strangely, I can understand where he might be coming from. Then there’s the personal problems he’s having with Darley’s situation too…”

All the above having been said, frankly, I think it’s a pretty thin excuse for Judge Rice to insist he can’t participate. Even though Abby tries to shore up that line of reasoning, the real reason Judge Rice wants out for now is because he’s miffed with the Jordans and needs an “official” reason everybody can pretend is the truth. We’ve all seen it a million times before: someone bails with a “it’s not you, it’s me” or whatever, and it’s transparently insulting to your intelligence yet you can’t call the person out on trying a face-saving socially acceptable way to disengage from a situation.

Anyway, Josh’s “signal-cloaking Allfone” rings, and they’re ready to roll. Along the way we get more blabber about Strong Rice’s no-show on the conference call, and we get the stereotypical damn-the-nitpickers attitude from the General:

“Wait a minute,” Alvin Leander called out. “Maybe it’s my old days from serving on the Senate ethics committee coming out, but speaking of conflicts of interest, don’t we have a problem with Abby advising the whole Roundtable while her husband is the chairman?”

“Screw the ethics lecture.” The voice on the phone was Rocky Bridger’s.

Truer words were never spoken, General. 😛 Your group’s engaged in a rather unethical set of activities itself, using the popular media to suborn a Congressional investigation, and cast a good light on a group of people who are manifestly opposed to the prevailing Democratic leadership of the United States of America, and willing to throw a lot of money into the pot to influence political affairs into a regime more of their liking.

Considering the magnitude of what the Roundtable is getting up to, I’d say ethics are the least of their worries at the moment.

The general’s words remind me of the way another general was once written, General Bogan in Fail-Safe:

“That’s a lot of hogwash. Don’t kid yourself, there’ll be Russian generals who will react just as I would – the best defense is a good offense. They see trouble coming up, take my word for it, they’ll attack, and they won’t give a damn what Marx said.”

(However, General Bogan wasn’t in on a secret plot to politically undermine the elected President of the United States :p )

The group segues into discussing how dead they are in the water and in which direction they might be able to move.

“Assuming [World Teleco cancelling the contract is] a clear breach,” Abby said, “we can go into court for injunctive relief. But that’s a tough call. No guarantees. Besides, the telecom company can tie us up in litigation for years.”

“We don’t have that kind of time,” Rankowitz said. “Josh, didn’t the judge order you to produce your RTS documents by tomorrow?”

“That’s the deadline,” Joshua replied. “Harry’s appealed the order. But he says the chances are nil.”

Josh and Abby decide they need an hour to come up with something. Josh goes off and reads some technical documents and Abby, apparently tireder than she thought, zonks out on the hotel bed. He wakes her up after the hour’s out, and they get back on the conference call. Abby asks Phil Rankowitz if he can get a few lawyers quickly, ones who are specialists in telecommunications law. But she’s not going to try and launch a lawsuit:

“I thought you said litigation would tie us up for years?” Alvin Leander said.

“It would,” Abby replied, “but I’m not talking about a lawsuit.”

Beverly Rose Cortez spoke up. “Abby. You can work some magic by tomorrow on this? You really think so?”

“I’ve got an idea. But it requires one vital piece of evidence.”

“What’s that?” Joshua asked his wife.

“We need to know something definite about World Teleco’s motives. Some hard evidence that Phil’s suspicions are right. That they shut us down to keep our message from getting out.”

“Digging up that kind of proof,” Leander said. “takes too much time.”

But Joshua intervened. “Not necessarily. Folks, let me work on that one.”

And that’s the end of the chapter! Dun-dun-DUN. Looks like we’ll see more of “The Patriot” soon, given Josh’s last words.

Next chapter we’ll be in the dry cleaners with John Gallagher.

EoA: CSI: Rough Sailing Ahead

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 271-276 (Chapter Forty-Seven)

And now we’re back into the swing of things with Edge of Apocalypse. Let’s follow John Gallagher now.

Agent Gallagher, having arrived in NYC at 7:30 AM, is now trying to make the meeting with his boss by 8:30. On the way, he chats with the digital photo expert, Sally Borcheck.

“Great timing,” Gallagher said. “I need this for a conference. What’s the bottom line?”

“Oh, no, I’m not giving it to you,” she snapped back. “Not until I go over some preliminaries first.”

In the cab Gallagher pretended to strangle his Allfone with both hands.

He said, “Sally, can’t we skip that stuff? I’m really in a rush.”

“Look, you’re the one who caught me in my comfy pj’s in front of the TV. I was already halfway into the old version of The Detective with Robert Mitchum. I love that movie. And they almost never run that one on television. So back off, John–“

There’s a bit more of a rough ride she gives John, fully deserved, of course, but the bottom line is:

Borcheck sighed. “Yeah, minimally adequate. Now there are eighty facial variants we use to create a face print. Skull size, facial measurements, interrelationships between facial structures…”


“I rated your video image at a sixty-seven percent certainty that the facial characteristics in the video matched that of the known subject, Atta Zimler.”


Unfortunately, in Zadernack’s office, things do not go well. Gallagher’s being put on a desk job and the Zimler investigation is being closed. We know why this is – Demas got Tulrude to push for a quick end to it based on the totally phony “similar named diplomat” story which has a million holes that got poked through it in the previous writeup involving the conversation between the two of them.

Gallagher momentarily rallies his cause with the biometric match info, but Zadernack cuts him off with a report that a “Zimler” got arrested in Paris.

But Gallagher was going to bull his way through. “I have a facial match between Atta Zimler and a suspect who just tortured and murdered the son-in-law of a former high-ranking Pentagon general. It just happened. Over in Philadelphia. We have a forensic match, Miles. Come on–“


Zadernack gave his favorite emotionless, plaster-of-paris expression. He spoke in something just above a monotone. But what he had to say was outrageous. “Okay, John. Take a deep breath. All right? Relax. Here’s the story. We’ve been told that Atta Zimler is in custody. In Paris.”

After some of Gallagher’s fulminating and Zadernack reminding him of the mandatory courses in Bureau professionalism he’s supposed to take, that’s pretty much it. Gallagher gets his desk and he ruminates:

He would be retiring before long. He had put too much into his work at the Bureau to trash it all now. So there was a serious question pending: Was he going to throw it all away for a mere sixty-seven percent certainty? The more he thought about it the more it didn’t make any sense. Man, sixty-seven percent isn’t even a passing grade. That’s flunking.

Cute, but in most places 67% usually gets you a C+. 😛 That’s passing, Agent Gallagher! He’s being too hard on himself. According to him the facial match was enough for probable cause to get a warrant, anyway; Zadernack didn’t disagree with that part.

Finally, he decides chasing after Zimler is worth losing his career, and he quietly calls Agent Leary over at the CIA. His final words sum up the conversation quite neatly:

“Uh, figure it out, John,” Leary said with a laugh. “We’re going to discuss possible clandestine information from the CIA about a world-class terrorist, and I chose a Korean dry cleaners as the meeting place. What does that tell you?”


If the Gallagher-chasing-Zimler subplot was in any book but this one it could really be made into a great tale on its own. Aging FBI agent near retirement wants to close one last case, and his superiors think he’s getting too personally involved. Said agent enlists secret helpers, and successfully nabs the bad guy, retiring with full honors and congrats on his derring-do. This kind of action-spy-adventure stuff can work really well, as Robert Ludlum’s proven amply with his books.

But because this subplot’s being shoehorned into the larger conflict involving Josh Jordan, this subplot necessarily takes a back seat and is tinged with some of the same political speechifying that renders aspects of the way the FBI is handling this somewhat improbable.


Next chapter we’ll meet back with Josh and Abby. Stay tuned. 🙂