Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Spies Love My Books

A former CIA officer going under the alias of "Max Cool" recently said this of TRIBE in his Amazon review: 

As a retired officer of the CIA's Clandestine Service, I was particularly struck by the verisimilitude of his renditions of the confusing and ambiguous life of the intelligence officer in the field, and the maddening and obtuse ways of intelligence bureaucrats at headquartersand he describes them here in vivid color and accurate detail. His descriptions are so good I wondered at times how he got them through the government reviewersIf you like fast-paced adventure, an ingenious story, and good writing, read Tribe.

In his review of PERMANENT INTERESTS, a Pentagon official asserted:

I would make this book required reading for many undergraduate and graduate courses in foreign affairs or national security, and hope that it becomes familiar to the students at our service war colleges in Newport, Carlisle, and Maxwell Air Force Base.

The book review site Reader's Favorite commented:

It is clear the author has first-hand experience of the novel's politics and his encyclopedic knowledge of the turmoil of the Middle East and Afghanistan is impressive.

New York Times bestselling author Gloria Nagy stated: 

Bruno's detailed depictions of espionage tradecraft lend added drama to his story while revealing an in-depth knowledge of this dark art.

And a State Department diplomat said in his review of CHASM:

He uses his insider's knowledge of Washington's power corridors to make the whole yarn come frighteningly to life.

National security professionals love my books because they are the most authentic spy fiction on the market. They read thrillers with a close eye to detail and verisimilitude and they love it when they're reading the genuine article as opposed to the usual contrived spy thriller fantasies. Intel officers, in particular, are expert in separating reality from b.s. In my books, they see only the former. Unless they've worked on the inside like myself, even the best spy thriller writers can only approximate real life espionage and national security workings in their books. Most don't even come close. This is why British ex-spy John LeCarre has been so successful for so long. He gets it right. And so do I.

Each of my novels has undergone a rigorous security review by the U.S. government prior to publication (Why I'm Censored). These reviews take around six months as the manuscript is distributed to various national security agencies for scrubbing to ensure I don't leak any secrets. TRIBE, my latest thriller, underwent text redactions and modifications required by the CIA and the FBI. The State Department and a highly secret intelligence agency were a bit less onerous. The upshot is you get the most genuine espionage and diplomacy rendered in fiction this side of Wikileaks.

Foremost in the censors' minds is protecting "sources and methods." One hears this a lot inside the intelligence community. It refers to the ways and means of obtaining intelligence, whether by old fashioned human spycraft or by advanced technical means such as spy satellites. To ensure I continue to get it right, I have my own expanding personal network of "sources and methods." As I state in the Acknowledgements of TRIBE,

I extend heartfelt thanks to my friends and colleagues in the intelligence community, who choose to remain anonymous, for their insights into espionage tradecraft, thus, lending added authenticity to my story.

"Max Cool" goes on to say,

Bruno is a diplomat who served in some of the most difficult and interesting posts the U.S. Foreign Service has -- where intrigue, excitement, and weirdness mix with the lobotomizing effects of government bureaucracy.

This is another key element which makes my writing more genuine than that of other thriller writers. I knew Afghan  President Hamid Karzai when we was a mere political operative in the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation. I also dealt with many of the mujahidin commanders who now lead the Taliban. I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Secret Service agents in a protective detail for President and Mrs. Clinton. I carried out diplomacy with Cambodia's King Sihanouk. I've spent ample time in the White House, including the West Wing. I've either been in forums with or met five U.S. presidents. I met repeatedly with Cuban military and intelligence officers  for discussions on "The Line" at Guantanamo Naval Base. I've also been surveilled and harassed by the intelligence services of at least six nations. I've worked closely with all U.S. national security agencies. I'm a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College. And I've spent more time than I care to recall in various war zones and mine fields. I draw on this wealth of experience in crafting my fiction.

If you peruse the reviews of my books on Amazon, you'll see that they are overwhelmingly favorable. And this has paid off in all three of my books being Amazon Kindle bestsellers. My Cuba spy thriller will be released next year.

So, go for it. Buy my thrillers. If real spies love them, so will you. You won't be disappointed.

Click here for: James Bruno's Thrillers

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