Free Shipping on Orders of $40 or More
The Coldest Warrior

The Coldest Warrior

by Paul Vidich

Narrated by George Newbern

Unabridged — 7 hours, 19 minutes

Paul Vidich
The Coldest Warrior

The Coldest Warrior

by Paul Vidich

Narrated by George Newbern

Unabridged — 7 hours, 19 minutes

Paul Vidich

Audiobook (Digital)

$17.99
FREE With a B&N Audiobooks Subscription| Cancel Anytime
$0.00

Free with a B&N Audiobooks Subscription | Cancel Anytime

START FREE TRIAL

Already Subscribed? 

Sign in to Your BN.com Account


Listen on the free Barnes & Noble NOOK app

FREE

with a B&N Audiobooks Subscription

Or Pay $17.99

Overview

In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years.

With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson's death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson's family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn't get out.

Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It's Gabriel's last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous as he finds a continuing cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk.

Following in the footsteps of spy-fiction greats such as Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale-based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix's Wormwood-that doesn't shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.


Related collections and offers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 11/18/2019

Based on the real-life case of biological warfare scientist Frank Olson, Vidich’s lean, crisp third CIA novel (after 2017’s The Good Assassin) recreates, then reimagines, the circumstances of Olson’s still-unexplained death. In 1975, 22 years after scientific researcher Charles Wilson plunged to his death from the ninth floor of a Washington, D.C., hotel, agency inspector Jack Gabriel is assigned to re-open the case to determine whether it was a suicide, an accident, or something more sinister. Gabriel runs into resistance from the start. He knows that Wilson was secretly drugged by the CIA as part of the agency’s LSD experiments of the time, but had always figured Wilson leapt to his death or accidentally fell. Agents who were involved in the original case, most of whom have risen to positions of power at the CIA, not only won’t talk but actively warn him off the case. After a few of them die under suspicious circumstances, Gabriel starts to wonder: did the agency kill one of its own? Vidich, a former media industry executive with no spycraft background, writes with the nuanced detail and authority of a career spook. With this outing, Vidich enters the upper ranks of espionage thriller writers. Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Feb.)

Financial Times

The inner workings of the US’s actual deep state during the cold war—most of all, the CIA—is evocatively portrayed in The Coldest Warrior. Justly praised by his peers, Vidich is an espionage novelist who deserves to be more widely known. His noir cold war spy stories are laced with echoes of Graham Green and Eric Ambler. A finely written, taut novel.

National Book Review

The Coldest Warrior succeeds on two levels. First, Vidich’s story has momentum and never flags. In addition, Vidich raises vexing moral issues through his storytelling. To what extent should we view questionable CIA activities from the 1950s in the context of the time? Do we have an obligation to deal with the misdeeds of our past? To attempt to right wrongs? And can we achieve these goals without a public reckoning?

CrimeReads (“9 Novels You Should Read in February”)

The Coldest Warrior reads like a le Carre novel for the postwar American moment. Vidich’s writing is as assured as ever, and his handling of difficult, charged material is truly admirable, and a pleasure to read.

Dominick Donald

I loved The Coldest Warrior. On one level it’s a straightforward spy thriller; halls of mirrors, spare prose, a hero with nowhere to turn. But like the best spy fiction it’s also about other stuff—above all a family tragedy and how resolving it might help a lost America find its way. Shades of Charles McCarry and Joseph Kanon, even classic post-Watergate conspiracy thrillers like James Grady’s Six Days of the Condor. Great stuff.

NB (UK)

If there’s a better spy novel this year espionage fiction fans will be able to count themselves very lucky indeed. The best spy stories are always about emotions, love and grief and other powerful motivators of our behaviour. That depth puts this novel up there with works by le Carré, McCarry, and the very best spy writers. The emotional intensity and fierce intelligence of this tale make it a tense read, it is a thought provoking drama.

Mitch Silver

If we’re going to choose a 21st century Graham Greene, I nominate Paul Vidich. Mysterioso, funny, elegant, noir . . . you name it, Greene wrote it. And so does Vidich. If you like your narrator-cum-investigator to throw in a few quotes from Shakespeare in the middle of his hardboiled take on American realpolitik, Vidich is your man.

S. J. Rozan

The tale Paul Vidich tells in The Coldest Warrior—based on true events—could not be more chilling. Though the action of the book takes place nearly half a century ago, it reads as an allegory and a reminder for our time, a story about what is possible for bad people to accomplish if good people look away.

Wall Street Journal - Tom Nolan

A terse and convincing thriller. Vidich proved his talent for noirish spy fiction in two earlier books. This stand-alone work reaches a new level of moral complexity and brings into stark relief the often contradictory nature of spycraft.

John Copenhaver

Inspired by the true story of the death of Frank Olson, The Coldest Warrior is at once a breathless Cold War thriller in the mode of John le Carré, a cold-case mystery, and a tale of moral accountability. Although historical—set in the ’50s and the ’70s—its central theme is strikingly relevant: the personal suffering that results when our government agencies and politicians conceal their crimes, when political self-preservation outweighs public interest. A chilling read, indeed.

LitHub

A richly detailed work of investigative crime writing perfect for fans of procedurals and spy fiction alike.

Booklist

In the manner of Charles Cumming and recent le Carré, Vidich pits spies on the same side against one another in a kind of internal cold war.

New York Journal of Books

The book spins quickly into risk and danger, and the final chapters, fast-paced and dark with threat, provide one of the best manhunt and intended escape sequences of current espionage fiction.

Raymond Benson

The Coldest Warrior takes a true story of political/espionage intrigue and fictionalizes it in such a way that it reads like a deadly serious spy novel from the Cold War era. Taut, tense, and fascinating.

Crime Time (UK)

Vidich is quickly establishing himself as one of the best proponents of the Cold War espionage thriller and his new novel reinforces his position in this crowded field. A gripping tale of mixed morals, ruthless politics shrouded by all the ambiguities of the erstwhile Cold War. Both a gripping thriller and a testimony to the integrity of some of the actors of the drama who are only now being recognised.

WBAI

A sizzling and troubling tale. The Coldest Warrior is more than mesmerizing, it is an eye opener about the underbelly of the CIA whose clandestine movements are executed in the name of the nation’s best interest.

Shelf Awareness

The Coldest Warrior is a terrifically paced page-turner with convincing red herrings and a surprise ending. These feats are not to be understated . . . Without ever slowing the pace or detracting from the novel's central mystery or action, Vidich still manages to carve out time in his taut narrative to provide snapshots of men trapped in personal cold wars of their own making.

Sunday Times (London) - John Dugdale

Compelling.

Jefferson Flanders

Compelling. The Coldest Warrior is more than an entertaining and well-crafted thriller; Vidich asks questions that remain relevant today.

David Krugler

Spring 1975: The once-invincible CIA cringes as its long-buried secrets are exhumed and denounced by the public, press and Congress. Inspired by real CIA malfeasance, Vidich memorably and vividly depicts the agency's inner circle, implacable men blind to the consequences of their pitiless actions, past and present, to wage the Cold War. A spy novel of the highest caliber, The Coldest Warrior could well be shelved in the history section, so masterful is Vidich's blending of fact and fiction.

Brendan DuBois

In Paul Vidich’s page-turning and well-written latest novel of espionage, he takes a hard look at how far people will go and which lines will be crossed in defense of the Holy Grail known as national security. Filled with action, haunting details and compelling characters. Highly recommended.

The Times (London)

Trench coats and fedoras abound in this old-school spy novel exploring one of the most infamous incidents in CIA history. Paul Vidich is on territory close to home here, because it’s inspired by the death of his uncle, Frank Olson, a biological warfare scientist who died under mysterious circumstances in 1953. The Netflix series Wormwood also covered the case, but Vidich’s novel stands on its own feet. Vidich perfectly captures the era’s paranoid mood.

CrimeReads (9 Novels You Should Read in February)

The Coldest Warrior reads like a le Carre novel for the postwar American moment. Vidich’s writing is as assured as ever, and his handling of difficult, charged material is truly admirable, and a pleasure to read.

CrimeReads (“9 Novels You Should Read in February”)

The Coldest Warrior reads like a le Carre novel for the postwar American moment. Vidich’s writing is as assured as ever, and his handling of difficult, charged material is truly admirable, and a pleasure to read.

Wall Street Journal

A terse and convincing thriller. Vidich proved his talent for noirish spy fiction in two earlier books. This standalone work reaches a new level of moral complexity and brings into stark relief the often contradictory nature of spycraft.

Booklist (starred) [praise for Paul Vidich]

A richly atmospheric and emotionally complex tale of spies versus spies in the Cold War. Vidich writes with an economy of style that acclaimed espionage novelists might do well to emulate. This looks like the launch of a great career in spy fiction.

Stephen Schiff

A cool, knowing, and quietly devastating thriller that vaults Paul Vidich into the ranks of such thinking-man’s spy novelists as Joseph Kanon and Alan Furst. Like them, Vidich conjures not only a riveting mystery but a poignant cast of characters, a vibrant evocation of time and place, and a rich excavation of human paradox.

Elizabeth Kostova

Paul Vidich’s likable and reluctant spy will keep readers guessing in this eerily real Cuba of 1958. The Good Assassin is a keen historical adventure from the best noir tradition.

Olen Steinhauer

An Honorable Man is an unputdownable mole hunt written in terse, noirish prose, driving us inexorably forward. In George Mueller, Paul Vidich has created a perfectly stoic companion to guide us through the intrigues of the red-baiting Fifties. And the story itself has the comforting feel of a classic of the genre, rediscovered in some dusty attic, a wonderful gift from the past.

Booklist

In the manner of Charles Cumming and recent le Carré, Vidich pits spies on the same side against one another in a kind of internal cold war. —Booklist, 12/1/19

Joseph Kanon

Cold War spy fiction in the grand tradition—neatly plotted betrayals in that shadow world where no one can be trusted and agents are haunted by their own moral compromises.

Wall Street Journal

A terse and convincing thriller. Vidich proved his talent for noirish spy fiction in two earlier books. This standalone work reaches a new level of moral complexity and brings into stark relief the often contradictory nature of spycraft.

Library Journal

★ 02/01/2020

On November 27, 1953, bioweapons scientist Dr. Charles Wilson jumps—or is pushed—to his death from the ninth floor of a Washington, DC, hotel. Twenty-two years later, after the release of the Rockefeller Report detailing illegal activities performed by the CIA during that time, agent Jack Gabriel is asked to investigate the mysterious death. The investigation is Jack's last mission before he retires from the CIA, and it soon pushes him into the crosshairs of his employer, the FBI, and the office of the president, all of whom are eager to hide that Wilson was part of a top-secret germ warfare experiment carried out on civilians during the Korean War. Jack becomes a target as he looks into Wilson's death and soon discovers that the victim was given LSD before he died. But this truth only leads to more secrets that men in the government would kill to keep. VERDICT Nonfiction and fiction author Vidich (An Honorable Man) presents a fast-paced, historically accurate thriller, placing him alongside other great spy authors such as John le Carré and Alan Furst. Readers of the genre will want this slow-burn chiller that shows how far government will go to keep secrets.—Bill Anderson, Scott Cty. P.L., Scottsburg, IN

Kirkus Reviews

2019-12-23
A CIA coverup slowly unravels.

In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson either jumped or fell from a window of the Hotel Harrington. In 1975, at a Senate hearing, it was publicly revealed that he had been subjected to a CIA experiment involving LSD, but the fact that he had been a CIA employee and the details of his work for the agency went undiscovered. Internal records of the death were missing, and the director, himself unaware of the actual circumstances of Wilson's death, asks Jack Gabriel to investigate and report the real story if he can. Gabriel knew Wilson and that he worked in the germ warfare laboratories, and from that starting point he begins to explore the questions surrounding Wilson's death. As he works, potential witnesses die "accidentally," avenues of inquiry dry up, and a substantial coverup becomes apparent. Then an anonymous source offers a few tips, and Gabriel begins to understand the true extent of the CIA's crime: They murdered one of their own. There remain questions, though, and in the process of trying to assess who and why, Gabriel's own life becomes perilous. Overall, the novel's pace is a little slow and the plot one-dimensional, but the characters of Gabriel and his family and of Wilson's surviving family are vivid and sympathetic. Vidich (The Good Assassin, 2017, etc.) acknowledges that his novel is based on the story of Frank Olson, who "fell or jumped" from a New York City hotel room in November 1953, and fidelity to historical fact may account for the pace and plotting. But this fidelity also reveals a shameful instance of postwar conduct and the arrogance of the powerful.

A worthwhile thriller and a valuable exposé.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940177477152
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication date: 04/28/2020
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews