Let’s be honest, working from home while watching the kids and helping them with schoolwork is not a walk in the park. Nor is social distancing without its challenges, not the least of which is deciding when to get to the grocery store to avoid crowds - but before the shelves have been stripped bare. If you’ve been lucky enough to find toilet paper or cleaning wipes, let me know how you managed!
As you hunker down for the long haul, it’s important to take care of yourself. Mentally as well physically. Find time to take walks alone, or do some gardening, anything that gets you away from your computer for a bit.
To that end, I’ll share with you a list of my all-time favorite books that will keep you on your toes trying to figure out the twists and turns. But first, I want to share with you my pick for the Pen and Sword book club for March. It’s Tracy Walder’s The Unexpected Spy: From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World's Most Notorious Terrorists.
You can listen to the podcast here. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Walder joined the CIA out of college, and worked in counterterrorism during the George W. Bush administration. She served on several high profile counterterrorism efforts against Al Qaeda during the Iraq War. Later, she joined the FBI. One of her first jobs then: Capturing a man who was spying for China.
The case was already underway when I joined. And at that time, you have to remember, there’s a lot of talk about economic espionage now but back then there wasn’t. It was a rather small operation...You kind of start out with basic tradecraft... The first thing I had to do, which I actually really enjoyed, was dumpster diving. We were collecting his trash And I’m sure a lot of your listeners know, you don't just collect his trash and drive the truck away. You have to collect the whole neighborhood’s trash. And so I would go in the back of the trash trucks and sift through it to see if there were any good intelligence leads...The gentleman had been living in the United States for over 20 years and had become a naturalized citizen. And he was working at a company that was developing radar cloaking technology for our nuclear submarines. And he was giving that technology to the Chinese.”
Later this month, I’ll be interviewing Samual Katz about his upcoming book: No Shadows in the Desert: Murder, Vengeance, and Espionage in the War Against ISIS. That book comes out in April. Sam and I go way back, he helped me with some of my best-selling books, including Beirut Rules: The Murder of a CIA Station Chief and Hezbollah's War Against America. I've already read Sam's latest and couldn't put it down.
I’ll also be interviewing Jack Carr, a phenomenal thriller writer, about the third book in his Navy SEAL James Reece trilogy, Savage Son. Jack's been on Stratfor's Pen and Sword podcast a number of times. His books are excellent, and he's a great interview as well. I encourage you to check those podcasts out.
And follow the podcast for my interview with Sierra Crane Murtdoch on her excellent non-fiction crime read, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country.
As promised, here’s my reading list. I hope you can dig into some of these. I’ll be back next month. Stay well, and take time to read!