I’ve always been a reader, even when I was a cop. As an agent, I always had a stack of books in my Ghurka carry-on bag for downtime on protective intelligence operations around the globe or for long Pan Am Clipper Class flights to distant time zones. But, having investigated so many bombings and hijackings of aircraft as a counterterrorism agent, I could never truly rest or sleep on a plane, so I passed my time with the likes of John LeCarre’ and Tom Clancy.
Since I’ve been fortunate to have published a few books, with a couple of more on the way, I get asked all the time for book recommendations, so here’s my Fall 2021 book list.
For more of my reading lists check out: The Definitive Protective Intelligence Reading List and Summer Reading for the Protective Intelligence Professional.
The President’s Book of Secrets, by David Priess.
With the fall of Afghanistan and the protective intelligence failure leading up to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, David’s book is an evergreen read and sheds light into how the CIA produces the daily intelligence briefing for the President, known as the PDB. The book is a unique window into how intelligence is produced for the POTUS, written by a former Presidential daily briefer, which by the way, must be one of the neatest, but most stressful jobs on the planet.
Tom Clancy Target Acquired, by Don Bentley
Never in a million years did I believe that I would end up inside a Tom Clancy thriller, but here I am. As a young agent, I had read The Hunt for Red October, Red Rabbit, and every other Clancy thriller, featuring Jack Ryan. Frankly, I was always looking for Jack on the job, but never found him.Don Bentley has taken over the Clancy series and has done an amazing job of carrying the torch. He is a former Apache helicopter pilot and FBI agent. Be sure to check out page 283 for a cameo appearance by yours truly.
American Sherlock, by Kate Winkler Dawson
Forensics solve crimes. The unsung heroes are the men and women in the white crime scene coats collecting the trace evidence, but how did we get here in America? Dawson, a professor at The University of Texas in Austin, has put together a fascinating history on the father of American forensics. The book will open up a few eyes and would be greatly enjoyed by any fan of CSI. As a sidebar, the author runs a tremendous true crime podcast called Tenfold More Wicked.
The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic, by Dr. Jillian Peterson and Dr. James Densley
Mass violence attacks on soft-targets and thwarted school plots seem to be endless. The horrific attack at the supermarket in Boulder comes to mind. How do these happen? What causes someone to follow a pathway to violence? One of our favorite podcast guests has been Dr. Jillian Petersen on her fascinating research and insights into mass violence attacks.
American Assassin, by Vince Flynn
The first book in the Mitch Rapp series is stunning. The backdrop, attention to detail, the brutality of hostage-taking, and terrorism depicted in the 1980’s, is the best I’ve seen from any fiction writer. It was an era that I lived through and know all too well. I wish that I had the opportunity to talk to Vince about the research for American Assassin before he passed away too soon. I had a chance to talk about the story for the No Limits A Mitch Rapp Podcast here.
The Craft of Intelligence, by Allen Dulles
Published in 1963, The Craft of Intelligence, is a must read for any student of intelligence and analysis. The historical settings and history of American intelligence is well worth the read, to understand how we got here. I keep coming back to the book and finding things that are relevant today.
The Night Fire, by Michael Connolly
I’ve read every Detective Harry Bosch book written by Michael Connolly. Nobody tells a better cop story. Harry’s best line is “Everybody counts or nobody counts”, as he goes about solving murder crimes, struggling with politics, meddling bosses, and turf battles with the FBI, most of which I’ve lived through myself. I’ve also had the privilege of visiting the set where the cable series Bosch was filmed and the LAPD Hollywood Division. Lots of the scenes were filmed in the station house and in the parking lot.