Goodbye, Mexico

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Intelligence Failure
Two words now joined at the hip. Remember when our alphabet agencies - CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI - were actually competent? Are you sure? Maybe they were just better at burying their mistakes. . . .

Our spooks have been playing games with other governments for half a century. Allies and enemies alike have gotten tired of our grubby fingerprints all over their national interests. Gearheardt's ...

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Goodbye Mexico

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Overview

Intelligence Failure
Two words now joined at the hip. Remember when our alphabet agencies - CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI - were actually competent? Are you sure? Maybe they were just better at burying their mistakes. . . .

Our spooks have been playing games with other governments for half a century. Allies and enemies alike have gotten tired of our grubby fingerprints all over their national interests. Gearheardt's answer? Be sure to wear gloves!

Gearheardt - apparently back from the dead, or maybe Laos - wants to play for all the Mexican marbles, and he insists he needs Jack's help to do it. Just like the last time in Vietnam, he claims to be working for "the Company."

Jack really is in the CIA now, temporarily running the Mexico City station at the embassy, and ought to know better, but Gearheardt's sexy assistant with the disdain for clothes is so darn cute and Gearheardt's insane resolve is just so darn convincing. (Even though it's true that the last time around they failed spectacularly in their attempt to get Ho Chi Minh to retire to Hawaii, and then they didn't even shoot him either.) But does the Agency really want the Cubans to take over Mexico?

The worlds of espionage and subversion are as unpredictable and absurd as any other form of warfare. Working in the tradition of Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana and his own Nam-A-Rama, Phillip Jennings gives Goodbye Mexico riotous relevance with a clear-eyed look at how the right hand of our intelligence establishment often doesn't know what the left hand is doing. The result is laughter too loud to be covert and the haunting suspicion that truth may be stranger than fiction.

If you thought the Vietnam War of Nam-A-Rama was crazy, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Say hello to Goodbye Mexico and the CIA and our foreign policy will never look the same again.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Goodbye Mexico

"If any book has better depicted the absurd, maddening and duplicitous world of espionage, it's still classified. Complete with pygmies, prostitutes, popes, presidents, naked spies, missing jackets and parking accommodations for burros--Goodbye Mexico reads like a laundry list of must-have items for any American intelligence officer." -Kevin Hazzard, author of Sleeping Dogs

"A riotous sequel . . . very funny." -Publishers Weekly

"This book is almost too funny to be fiction. Phil Jennings' tales of hilarity and criminality are matched only by the front pages of
America's newspapers, and my laughter only stopped when I wondered: could this be true?" --Nathaniel Fick, former U.S. Marine Captain and author of One Bullet Away

"If you've ever wanted to overthrow a Latin American country with the help of a cool, courage-crazy Marine turned CIA agent -- and what man-jack amongst us, hasn't it? -- then you ought to love this book and the immortal characters of Gearhardt and Jack Armstrong. Here's hoping Major Crenshaw succeeds next time -- (and you'll have to read the book to find out what I mean)."
-- H. W. Crocker III, author of Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting and the award-winning comic novel The Old Limey

Publishers Weekly

Former Marine and CIA agent Jennings returns with a riotous sequel to his acclaimed Vietnam farce Nam-A-Rama(2005). It's 1973 and the CIA has posted the naïve, earnest Jack Armstrong (back from Nam-A-Rama) to Mexico City, where he receives a surprising visit from former best friend and colleague Gerard Gearheardt—surprising because Gearheardt was last seen in the burning wreckage of a helicopter in the Laotian jungle in 1969. The Phoenix-like Gearheardt recruits a reluctant Armstrong for the following scheme: assassinate the Mexican president, blame it on Castro and use the resulting outrage as cover for taking over Cuba (which Gearheardt plans to rename Pussy Galoreland and give to the International Sisterhood of Prostitutes as a refuge). Meanwhile, the CIA's new chief-of-station in Mexico, Major Crenshaw, rides into town on a burro with his own plan: a devout Catholic, Crenshaw aims to hijack Gearheardt's operation in order to secure Cuba for the Vatican. Lurking in the shadows is the Pygmy, a three-foot tall CIA operative, and the habitually naked Marta Carlingua, a Cuban prostitute who's either a Gearheardt loyalist or a Castro mole. As Gearheardt's Byzantine plot unravels in this gonzo satire of international diplomacy, it's all as obvious as it is exaggerated, and it's very funny. (Apr.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765316615
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Jennings left the Marines as a captain and subsequently flew for Air America in Laos. He won the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society short fiction award in 1998. He has a degree in business administration and is the CEO of Mayfair Capital Partners. He lives in Kirkland, WA.

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Read an Excerpt

Goodbye Mexico

Chapter Uno
South of the Border, But North of Panama
Gearheardt looked damned good for a dead man. Same silly grin. Same low slouch in the chair. His left foot, sockless in his penny loafer, rested on the corner of my desk and balanced him as he leaned on the two back legs of the government issue, standard low-level embassy employee furniture. His cigarette ash landed lightly on my inexpensive carpet, a gift from one of my Mexican assets, as he waved his arms demonstratively with his story.
"So the Nungs dragged me out, probably so they could eat fresh-cooked meat, but unfortunately for them I was alive." Gearheardt spread his arms, illustrating the point that he was living.
He had walked into my office in the embassy, pulled a chair up to my desk, and said, "Jack, you look like a damn bureaucrat. Never thought I'd see the day."
I have to admit that after the shock I shed tears of joy, whooping and disturbing the embassy folks, most of whom already did not like me. (No one in the embassy liked the guys who werespooks, assuming that the CIA was busily working against the very programs the State Department was pushing. They were mostly right.) But Gearheardt--alive! It was a miracle. Unless you knew Gearheardt.
My first reaction was to call my mother back in Kansas. She had always loved Gearheardt. (Did that put her in the class of bar women around the world who also loved Gearheardt?) She had the completely unrealistic notion that Gearheardt "protected" me as my best friend. But I knew that she would be thrilled. When I left home after a visit, departing to the hell-spots the Marines sent me, she would say, "I just hope that Gearheardt will protect you. Bless his soul."
He had last been seen, or so I thought, in the middle of a pile of flaming helicopter in the Laotian jungle near the Mu Gia pass. His Air America mission had been to pick up a group of Chinese mercenaries, Nungs, who had been causing mischief on our behalf along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Letting down into the zone, Gearheardt had taken a dead-on burst from a .50 caliber and cartwheeled in flames. The Nungs on the ground radioed there were no survivors. Three days later I held his memorial in the White Rose, our favorite Vientiane nightclub, slept with his girlfriend to comfort us both, and, not long after, left Southeast Asia. That was 1969. Now it was 1973 and the dead man was sitting in front of me. My best friend alive and all in one piece. "You survived that fireball without a scratch?"
"Actually if you look close, these aren't my ears. I'll tell you about that later. I'm thirsty, Jack. Let's hit a cantina."
Gearheardt left the embassy the way he left most places when I had known him before: as if the entire staff was already mourning his departure. He spoke to all of the secretaries and the people who appeared from their offices--although he couldn't have known any of them.
Gearheardt had been presumed dead for years. After I left Asia, I had hounded the CIA to let me join the Agency, partly, in someway, to continue working with his memory. They had only reluctantly let me join their ranks. (The "cover" that Air America was an independent airline might have been breached if I left it and immediately showed up as an agent, they thought.) After brief training and a rapid language course, I ended up in Mexico.
The Marine at the front desk jumped to attention as we approached the exit.
"Sign Mr. Armstrong and me out, Corporal," Gearheardt said, brightly. "And tell Gunnery Sergeant Wolfe I'll take him up on his offer next time." He winked at the grinning Marine and strode out into the afternoon Mexican sunlight.
I caught up with him after checking to see that the Marine actually signed the two of us out. Gearheardt's name was not on the log. Only a Pepe Woozley had signed in for admission to my floor.
"Gearheardt," I said, "you just got here this afternoon. What's all this with the gunny? And who in the hell is Woozley?"
"The guy I thought I was when I was in Angola, Jack." He paused to let me exit the embassy gate before him. "You ask a lot of questions for a spook." He joined me and we began walking down the street. The passing Mexicans smiled at Gearheardt, who smiled back. They had always ignored me.
"Knock off the spook stuff, Gearheardt. I'm here as the embassy's economic development officer." I put my arm around his shoulders as we walked down the crowded avenue. I was so damn glad to see him. "You are one rotten bastard, you know," I said to him. "I had no idea you were alive."
Gearheardt laughed. "When the Company disappears you, Jack, no one is supposed to know you're alive. I've had to convince my mother I was writing her from beyond the grave. She was easier to fool than the IRS, by the way. But that's the price we pay for eternal virginitis, Jack. We're spooks for our country."
"What the hell is virginitis, Gearheardt?" I asked before I remembered he always threw in nonsense words to take your mind off the fact that the rest of his explanation made no sense. It hadworked on me again. But I didn't care. I was glad to see him. We had almost stopped the Vietnam War together and you get close to a guy when that kind of pressure is on you. We would have stopped the Vietnam War too, except we'd had no idea of what we were doing.
We turned into a cantina. A small, bright, and cool place where I knew the proprietor was discreet (since he was on my payroll) and the beer and tortillas were cold and hot. Gearheardt headed to the back to use the cuarto de baño, and I ordered beer for us both. I was almost schoolgirlishly excited at seeing my old friend. My sidekick through the thick and thin of the Vietnam War and Air America in Laos. Although there was a part of me shouting Alert! Alert! Gearheardt in the area! since I had never been with him more than five minutes that he didn't get us both in scalding water.
"Vayan con perros, señoritas," Gearheardt was saying to the two young Mexican women he had managed to meet and get to know in the ten yards between the restroom and our table. He plopped down in the seat opposite me, raised his beer glass in a salute, and drained it. "Dos más, por favor," he yelled to the bartender. Then he leaned toward me and lowered his voice.
"I need your help, Jack. I'm taking over Mexico."
My heart sank. I knew the grinning bastard was dead serious.
Copyright © 2007 by Phillip Jennings

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