Virginia author Benson Grayson has written five novels dealing with both science fiction and Washington political intrigue/espionage/intelligence ops – not that the two are separate fields of thought these days! – and has been a reporter covering the Washington DC activity and has more than twenty-five years of experience in intelligence operations, including service as a Foreign Service Officer of the State Department and as a Senior Research Fellow at the National Intelligence Agency. He comes prepared to the subject matter of this book. Of note, Benson has in 1982 previously published six published books on history and foreign affairs – including ‘Russian-American Relations In World War I,’ ‘The Unknown President: The Administration of President Millard Fillmore,’ ‘Soviet Intentions And American Options In The Middle East’ courtesy of the National Defense University Press.
This new book THEY CALL ME COBRA – displays a lot of growth as an author – more polished writing in the field Benson knows very well. In explaining the title Benson opens this story as follow: They call me “The Cobra.” It is an epithet that I detest. It conjures up in my mind an image of something loathsome and deadly, something always ready to strike, suddenly and without warning. I hate this image because of what it conveys. I hate it even more because it is an accurate picture of what I have become. I have executed many people and tortured many more during my interrogations of them. I despise myself for doing this, but I have no choice. I do it only to preserve our revolution, to keep it faithful to the principles with which it was launched. Ideals that so many in our leadership have discarded. Many times, I have thought of giving up my post as Chief of the Internal Security Service, which everyone calls the Secret Police. But, that would be foolish. Unless I can rely on the security apparatus that I control to protect my own safety, I would be easy prey for all those who hate me. Their number is legion. It includes most of my subordinates, certainly the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists I combat, and most senior officials in the Revolutionary Party and in our government. If I were not there, I would be replaced by someone even more vicious and cruel. And while I employ these tactics only to the extent necessary, my successor would do so for his own advantage. As for corruption, it would rise to the level it enjoyed before I took charge. As Chief of the Internal Security Service, I am feared by the very people I am trying to protect. The merchants in the market, street vendors, students in their classes, and their professors all fear my organization and anyone associated with it. This dread is only natural. In my operations against the Islamic fundamentalist underground, I often secretly arrest, try, and execute those guilty of terrorist acts. Of course, all of this is perfectly legal, if you accept the legality of the State of Emergency Act, whose promulgation I personally achieved in order to more effectively counter the terrorists.’
The book is relatively short and the plot is succinct: ‘A liberal professor in s newly independent North African nation is forced by the military ruler to become head of the Secret Police. The need to combat a ruthless Islamic terrorism gradually lead him to abandon his liberal principles and employee the torture and brutality he once tried to end.’
Rich in details and insights into the manner in which espionage works, Benson has has also brought an underline to the attention we all should be observing as the current situation in the many countries of our world grows more worrisome. Well timed, this book. Grady Harp, October 17
In this tense political thriller, a liberal professor in s newly independent North African nation is forced by the military ruler to become head of the Secret Police. The need to combat a ruthless Islamic terrorism gradually lead him to abandon his liberal principles and employ the torture and brutality he abhors.