Monday, May 31, 2010
All in the Family - F.J. Chase Offers "Bargain with the Devil"
When I saw that another writer named "Chase" had written an espionage novel, I had to read it. I am glad that I did. I learned that F.J. Chase is a nom de plume of a former military officer and national security commentator. If my instincts are correct, I would surmise that the author may also be a West Point graduate who did some time as a field officer for one or more of our intelligence agencies. He writes with the kind of gritty and intimate knowledge of procedures and place that can be explained only by personal experience or very thorough research.
Set largely in Africa, this story is one that explores the role that security consultant, Peter Avakian, plays in thwarting an attempted coup against the government of Benin. The complex relationships among Avakian, a Nigerian reporter, the CIA, the oil companies and a motley crew of mercenaries and arms traffickers make for a fascinating and riveting tale. I burned through the pages of this novel with great enjoyment and eager anticipation. It did not hurt my level of interest when an arms dealer by the name of Dmitry Volkov was introduced into the mix. I actually know someone in Moscow with that exact name, so I had fun envisioning my friend "Mitya" consorting with Nigerian warlords and agents provocateur.
I enjoyed Chase's writing so much that I now plan to go back and read his prior novel about Avakian, "Darkness Under Heaven."