Guest Blogger: Richard Craig Anderson
In COBRA CLEARANCE, an elite group of counter-terrorist operatives are out to stop a presidential assassination. Okay, fine. But what separates my newest novel from other stories about plots and plotters? The answer is clear: COBRA CLEARANCE’s relevance to current events, coupled with its credibility.
I have a master of arts in history and have learned that we cannot ignore history’s ebb and flow. We can’t ignore headlines either, and as a political thriller COBRA CLEARANCE shows that sadly, we’re in the grip of a renewed surge of violence and cruelty. The Boston Marathon Bombing confirmed this harsh reality. But if there’s good news to be found in today’s headlines, it’s the revelation that technology is rapidly reducing the number of dark corners—and tarp-covered motorboats—that terrorists can crawl into.
Just as the authorities relied on hi-tech resources in the Boston Bombings, my novel embraces the use of technological prowess in hunting down terrorists—while also comparing current events with historical perspectives. In the story, the world economy is already in severe crisis when a small band of Middle Eastern terrorists butchers America’s second black president on live TV. But the good guys and gals have an understanding of the scope of history. They also know how to talk to the unseen people among us—the taxi driver from Ethiopia; the poverty-ridden parking garage cashier. And they’re tech-savvy, so when the cashier assists in a police artist’s sketch of a suspect, the protagonist uses reverse biometrics to provide the sketch with the pixels needed so it can be read by facial recognition systems—the same facial recognition systems that helped track down the Boston Bombers.
COBRA CLEARANCE also deals with growing racial tensions, something we’re seeing in real-time with the Zimmerman/Martin case. In the novel, the police sketch suspect is identified as the leader of a white supremacist cult. But when the good guys connect him to the president’s assassins, they learn that he and his cult members are preparing to assassinate the new president, who happens to be Jewish. Once again, an appreciation of history reveals the motive—the terrorists assassinated the black president for the white supremacists. As a quid pro quo the cult members will kill the “Zionist President.” But then the story’s hero goes undercover to infiltrate the cult, and he combines guts with gadgets to stop them.
My background as a counter-terrorist operative lends authority to COBRA CLEARANCE, so that it reveals the connections between history, high crimes and high drama. The story also predicted some of the economic, race and violence problems that history has once again forced upon us—and with the Boston Bombing, Zimmerman and mounting racial tensions in the news, the novel’s relevance is clear.
What trends in current events, combined with the sweep of history, frighten you the most? And would it help to calm those fears by knowing that a shadow force of good men and women are out there—watching, waiting and taking action while we sleep?
Richard Craig Anderson started out as a fire fighter in 1971, became a highly decorated Maryland State Police trooper, and went on to accept a position as a counter-terrorist operative. An accomplished aviator and world-class scuba diver, Rick has enjoyed a life well-lived, thanks to the relationships and friendships he’s made along the way—and that includes Kobi, his Rhodesian Ridgeback.
COBRA CLEARANCE is Rick’s third novel. He also writes geo-political commentaries and historical perspectives on WWII in the Pacific, and hosts Ready Room – A Site for Cops and Writers.