Well, we’re midway through February, so it’s time to check in with Fred Burton’s Pen and Sword Book Club. As anyone who listens to Fred on the Stratfor podcast, has read his books, or follows him on social media knows, Fred Burton loves books.
He certainly has his favorites.
"'The Spy Who Came in From The Cold,' by John LeCarré is one book that I have read many times, along with David Ignatius book, 'Agents of Innocence,'" says Burton. "On the non-fiction side it would be 'The Craft of Intelligence' by Allen Dulles. Even though I’ve read them over and over, I still find something new each time.”
This month’s pick is a bit unusual. There are two. The first, "American Sherlock," by Kate Winkler Dawson is the real-life story of Edward Oscar Heinrich, who was a fascinating, complex personality with an uncanny ability to find clues, build evidence and solve crimes.
"As a former police officer and special agent, I know how forensics help solve complex investigations," says Burton. "Kate's book American Sherlock shines a spotlight into the history of forensic science by focusing on the American scientist that paved the way for a generation of crime scene techs and detectives."
Says Dawson, "I've always been really interested in the history of forensics. And I felt like I really wanted to dig into what is right with forensics and what is wrong. There's plenty of both, both now and back when it started."
Dawson sifted through her own pile of clues to find and tell Heinrich's story. She says he had one of the largest personal archives she'd ever seen; more than one hundred boxes of previously uncatalogued content rangng from personal diaries to notes on investigations.
The second book on Fred’s list this month is the debut thriller from Don Bentley entitled, "Without Sanction." The book is about Defense Intelligence Agent Matt Drake, a man deeply scarred by a violent and deadly experience in war-torn Syria. Unable to shake his memories, Drake’s marriage has faltered and he’s spiraling. Then he gets a call to head back to Syria - this time on a rescue mission.
Bentley's own career could be a book in inself. Before penning "Without Sanction," Bentley served as an Apache Helicopter pilot, FBI agent and had a short run in technology.
Bentley told Fred Burton,
"When I was in Afghanistan, I was the Air Mission Commander for an operation that went pretty horribly wrong. And so, I spent a lot of time after that, second guessing what had happened: what I'd done, if there was something I could do that had been different, what would I have done? And so I wanted that question to be something that my protagonist has to wrestle with. And so in the opening pages of the book, you find out that Matt Drake, who's a case officer, had made a mistake, potentially that cost his asset and his asset's family their lives and I wanted to see how he would wrestle with that because you can't get do-overs."
Enjoy this month's book club picks! Both books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold. Don't forget to read up on Fred Burton's most anticipated books of 2020. And subscribe to Stratfor's Pen and Sword podcast for interviews with all of these authors and more.