Friday, October 06, 2023

What is Paul Vidich reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Paul Vidich, author of Beirut Station: Two Lives of a Spy: A Novel.

His entry begins:
I read a lot of spy fiction, but I alternate novels with non-fiction written by men and women who worked in the CIA and who provide an insider’s view of that world. All the books go through a CIA vetting process to be certain that potentially compromising information does fall into the hands of the opposition, which makes it difficult sometimes for these authors to provide a credible account of their years in spy work.

I just picked up The Recruiter, by Douglas London, a fascinating insider’s look at his life as a senior intelligence officer who recruited foreign assets for the CIA for over 25 years. The narrative spent four months being reviewed by agency censors, which London describes in his forward, but the redacted portions don’t detract from his fascinating account. And, as he is quick to point out, many of the redactions have nothing to do with hiding secrets, and a lot to do with the agency removing material that would...[read on]
About Beirut Station: Two Lives of a Spy, from the publisher:
A stunning new espionage novel by a master of the genre, Beirut Station follows a young female CIA officer whose mission to assassinate a high-level, Hezbollah terrorist reveals a dark truth that puts her life at risk.

Lebanon, 2006.

The Israel-Hezbollah war is tearing Beirut apart: bombs are raining down, residents are scrambling to evacuate, and the country is on the brink of chaos.

In the midst of this turmoil, the CIA and Mossad are targeting a reclusive Hezbollah terrorist, Najib Qassem. Najib is believed to be planning the assassination of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is coming to Beirut in ten days to broker a cease-fire. The spy agencies are running out of time to eliminate the threat.

They turn to a young Lebanese-American CIA agent. Analise comes up with the perfect plan: she has befriended Qassem's grandson as his English tutor, and will use this friendship to locate the terrorist and take him out. As the plan is put into action, though, Analise begins to suspect that Mossad has a motive of its own: exploiting the war’s chaos to eliminate a generation of Lebanese political leaders.

She alerts the agency but their response is for her to drop it. Analise is now the target and there is no one she can trust: not the CIA, not Mossad, and not the Lebanese government. And the one person she might have to trust—a reporter for the New York Times—might not be who he says he is...

A tightly-wound international thriller, Beirut Station is Paul Vidich's best novel to date.
Visit Paul Vidich's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue