How do journalists and spies benefit from each other’s information? Who usually gets the scoop first — the spy or the journalist? What kinds of technology are being used to make people reveal information?
Espionage, political machinations, oil, secretly funded high-tech weapons of intelligence, ghosts of the Cold War, murder, and poker all come together in Curtis J. James’ masterful spy thriller, High Hand.
Written with a firm grasp of international politics and business, spy craft, and suspense, the novel marks a unique collaboration among three well-known professionals and authors in their own fields. Curtis J. James is a pseudonym for Miami Herald Washington correspondent James Rosen, who has covered the major stories of our era, from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the post-9/11 wars and the current military campaign against the Islamic State; cancer scientist Curtis Harris, and James Ellenberger, a former organized labor official.
Packed with intrigue and interpersonal tensions, this work of fiction takes on hot-button issues and opens up the covert worlds of the CIA and SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service.
At the heart of the novel are questions about the ethical, murky nature of the complicated relationship between journalists and spies.
“Reporters are a natural for the mystery and thriller genre,” Rosen said. “They investigate and try to solve the hidden or unknown. They frequently get into difficult and even dangerous situations due to the questions they seek to answer and their refusal to by stymied.”
Sadly, journalism is a dangerous business. Since 1992 there have been 1,147 journalists killed worldwide; 141 were killed in 2015. Numerous reporters have gone missing in action and are not included in the previous number as their bodies have not been found or recovered. In 2014 at least 221 journalists were imprisoned for doing their job. High Hand reflects this tragedy.
The authors of High Hand will be at Books & Books, 265 Arangon Ave. in Coral Gables, on Monday, Mar. 7, at 8 p.m., to talk about their book.