The Onion Files is a novel set in today's world of apprehension and anxiety fueled by terrorism. An al Qaeda group plots ruin greater than 9/11 by breaching hydroelectric dams across the US. Jim Buchan, retired CIA director of operations and his son Mark, a computer expert, watch CNN as Osama bin Laden declares jihad against the West. They discuss one of Jim's most dangerous cases from the Cold War, code-named the Onion Files, a KGB cyber attack against the US financial system.
Mark decides to do some hacking to see if infrastructure might be at risk from terrorists. It is the early days of cyber security, few aware of the increasing use of software in critical systems. It isn't long until Mark discovers something that Jim recognizes from his past. The screen leads Mark to Kazim, Jim's old nemesis from KGB days, now with bin Laden in the wilds of Afghanistan. As the al Qaeda plans for the 9/11attack are put in place, Kazim is proud that his own intricate steps will lead to huge flooding on major rivers, his software taking control of hydro electric dams across the US.
Leigh, Jim's wife, had accepted the stressful years when Jim was on the front lines of espionage. Jim's work had led her to follow world affairs closely, and when Jim retired she had completed her PhD, her dissertation examining an exciting future of information sharing that she saw coming with the development of the Internet. Jim now was proud to lean on her for his intelligence, to keep him on track.
During the Cold War Jim had met KGB General Illyich Makov at a reception during the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, their strange relationship leading to a measure of mutual respect, turning later to friendship. Illyich had called Jim to warn him about Kazim's plot against the US financial system as the Soviet Union spun apart. That call had led Jim to St. Petersburg, to Kazim, and to Jim being med-evaced by the KGB after being shot. Now Jim calls Illyich to enlist his help to find Kazim in time to head off his attack on the dams.
A successful air strike in the no-fly zone in Iraq has inadvertent consequences, setting the stage for an idealistic Iraqi-American, David MacIntyre, to question his heritage and his beliefs. Al Qaeda's reach and duplicity stretches to California to ensnare David to Kazim's cause. Kazim now has the backdoor key to software that operates dams across the country. Another al Qaeda spectacular is about to bring destruction to the nation.
Jim is sure that the only avenue to Kazim is through Russia. As Jim and Mark meet with Illyich at his home in Sochi, Russia, Mark realizes that he has unexpectedly met the girl of his dreams, Illyich's granddaughter, Katrina. But Mark comes close to death as Kazim sees his plans start to unravel. Jim's old FBI colleagues stretch the limits of their mandates for a dramatic rescue, the close call moving Mark's and Katrina's romance as fast as the plot itself.
Old colleagues from Jim's spying days join the hunt. Illyich marshals Russian and Turkish agents in Europe, while an old graduate school colleague of Jim's, an Arab sheik, is able to send Jim's message to bin Laden's well hidden camp in the ungoverned border region of Afghanistan. That message lures Kazim to Istanbul where Jim and Illyich spring their trap. After a fiery engagement on the Black Sea, Kazim's narrow escape points the way to bin Laden.
Jim's experience, combined with Mark's ingenuity, keeps them one step ahead of disaster, but Kazim's onion is not easily pealed. The Buchans' pursuit takes them across the country, to Russia, to Sardinia, and to Istanbul. The race to the finish takes place while the Buchan family is being honored by the President, but Kazim has arranged for a different message. A Special Forces team in Afghanistan is ambushed in a deep valley, the enemy leaving behind only Kazim's message to the Buchans: jihad is not over, till the next time.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.68(d)|
About the Author
As I started to capture ideas, I found that I had a major concern-I had top level security clearances, so wrestled with how much I could say. Again, my son solved that dilemma, telling me anytime I got hung up to tell him and he'd find the issue in open sources on the Net. Most everything is now in open sources on the Internet, available to anyone.
Dreaming up the plots and writing the stories was fun, but many authors would agree that the challenge then is what to do with the story. After many regrets from literary agents I decided not to wait and linked with an excellent indie publisher. We had good fun putting The Onion Files to press, with the first edition of The Onion Files being one of the early 'print on demand' books. When an order is placed it goes to a printer, is produce overnight and mailed the next day, no warehouse full of paper. We did soft cover, hard cover, e-reader and audio versions to excellent reviews and modest sales success.
As I got well into my second novel, The Crescent Onion, I realized that The Onion Files would benefit from more critical editing. I undertook that task over the next couple of years. I wanted to give traditional publishers another try for my second novel, The Crescent Onion, so I again did the agonizing Query process, to many agents. The publishing industry moves at glacial speed so for me, accustomed to fast decisions and action, the process is painful.
Amazon and its subsidiaries came to the rescue. Both The Onion Files and The Crescent Onion were done on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing for the electronic version and Create Space for the print.
It's a new world for authors and readers, with books just a key punch away, the whole publishing landscape rapidly evolving. For me, it turned the agonizing publishing process into fun.
The Onion Files and The Crescent Onion reflect the almost daily news of cyber terror threats to critical infrastructure. Both novels are available on Amazon.