Like so much of Clarke’s work it is full of brutally honest appraisals of human nature and tendencies but also absurd events and dark humor. But Clarke’s characters seem remarkably realistic despite the absurdity. He has a way of shining a light on the absurd nature of much of “everyday life.”Continue reading
A conversation with Olen Steinhauer in which we discuss his latest book, the risk of bringing current events into a novel, the magic of fiction, his approach to writing, plot and character development, and more.Continue reading
Intelligence: A Novel of the CIA by Susan Hasler
A 21-year veteran of the CIA, Hasler charts the day-to-day efforts of a team of counterterrorist analysts (aka alchemists) in a strong debut that puts most other thriller authors with similar backgrounds in the intelligence field to shame. Madeline James and her crew of brilliant misfits struggle to piece together shreds of evidence gleaned from mountains of raw data (slag) in a race to uncover a plot that threatens to dwarf the body count of 9/11. They must also battle a management structure bent on denying their findings so the current administration will have the ammunition needed to justify going to war with Iran. The parallels with recent history add to the credibility and suspense. Readers will be left aghast at the toll politics and basic self-serving, cover-your-ass government policies take on agencies and individuals whose job is to keep our country safe. Many will find Hasler’s female point-of-view a welcome change from the usual smash and bash male offering in the genre.