The latest NoirPolitik Imogen Trager thriller, Emergency Powers–even more so that my earlier books Faithless Elector and Dark Network–focuses on the clandestine, not-so-cold battle between power hungry conspirators and Imogen’s FBI team.
Excerpt from Emergency Powers – (Imogen’s friend and colleague, Amanda Vega, tries to get a handle on what’s going on):
“Until recently, Vega’s experience of casework had been decidedly one-sided. She had known only the righteous, powerful sensation of drawing ever closer to the truth, the hunter pursuing the hunted. But this case was different. The prey fought back. Strikes at these operatives were met not with capitulation—or even retreat—but by counterattacks, flanking maneuvers, rearguard actions.
Her friend Imogen, she felt certain, was the latest casualty.
Was it worse than that? she wondered. Did her notion of this investigation as a war extend to espionage and double agents? As she flew home, staring out the window at the country unrolling below, she wondered if the killing was starting again? Had it ever stopped? And what was the meaning of Imogen’s note ?
Asha Rangappa, together with Alex Finley, and the aptly named John Sipher, reposted their article about intelligence gathering from JustSecurity.org recently: Collusion Doesn’t Have to be Criminal to be an Ongoing Threat, from December 2017, in which they detail the ways intelligence agencies gather information and “assets.” It makes for chilling reading, particularly with regard to the opportunism of intelligence officers, and the slippery slope of compromise. It jibes with the background research I did as I worked on the book.
Emergency Powers delves precisely into this world, taking a deep dive and a realistic look at how assets engaged in an anti-democratic power grab might behave. The key to the dark network conspiracy (decidedly homegrown in this instance), is that it be small, adroit, nimble. I’m suspicious of secret armies of henchmen (see here); and the key to the conspirators’ success here is that the numbers of those involved, as well as the communications between them all, be minimal. The thriller examines how the conspirators’ recruitment and training.
“Three may keep a secret,” Ben Franklin opines from the pages of Poor Richard’s Almanac–and the epigram for the book–“if two of them are dead.”
In Emergency Powers, the pendulum of control has swung decisively. If Imogen fails to stop them, it might never swing again. And as the final pieces are moved into place the loyal operatives begin to wonder whether they will receive their just–or their eternal–reward.
Emergency Powers is making the rounds of agents and editors right now. Let’s hope it’s coming soon!
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