This story originally appeared in the September 1989 edition of Houston Metropolitan magazine. At the time, I was a night cops reporter for The Houston Post. The story is perhaps a little dated. I mean, who really remembers Motorola beepers, $17 watches, or Don Knotts?Read More
The coolest spy show on television is CNN Declassified, which rips stories straight from the headlines about spies, terrorists, and traitors.
Now in its second season, Declassified takes viewers deep inside some of the darkest moments in national security, introducing true-crime villains in one-hour recreations. The shows feature interviews with the real investigators who brought the villains to justice.
CNN is saving the best of Season Two for last: On Saturday, September 30, 2017, Declassified airs “Spy & Son,” a TV docudrama based on The Spy’s Son. I helped talk some of the coolest characters in the book to go on camera.Read More
I turn off Rimrock Road past the sign reading “Whites Only” and steer my rental up a driveway to a group of wood-frame buildings, a guard tower, and a chapel. It looks as if someone has tried to rebuild the set of the old Hogan’s Heroes TV sit-com. I half expect to be greeted by Sergeant Schultz, the portly guard of the fictional Nazi prisoner-of-war camp Stalag 13.
But the Aryan Nations compound is real. And, as I will learn in the coming hours, surreal.Read More
On Saturday, August 5, 2017, my girlfriend Kristin and I drove to Selma, Oregon, on our way to a remote spot called Briggs Creek, on the eastern side of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Our plan was to park there and hike from the Illinois River Trail to a remote campsite six miles into the wilderness, where we would pitch camp, swim, read books, decompress, and hike out Monday morning.
But a wildfire, one of several burning in southern Oregon, would interrupt our plans.Read More
As former FBI Director Jim Comey prepares for today's grilling in the Hart Senate Office Building, here are three limericks to get you ready. Fortunately for me, Comey rhymes with testimony, baloney, and at least one off-color expression used by third-grade boys.Read More
The Hollywood Reporter broke the story Thursday that Cross Creek Pictures has purchased rights to turn The Spy’s Son into a movie, a thrilling development that was more than eight years in the making.Read More
The forthcoming edition of The Spy's Son, in Japanese, pushed me into new waters last Saturday, when I found myself entertaining an exceedingly polite film crew. I thought I could wear a sweater and jeans and sit for the interview in the library of the stately Portland University Club. But I thought wrong.Read More
I didn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, the steamy trilogy written by British author E.L. James, which has been described as an erotic Cinderella story of sexting, spanking, and bondage.
My girlfriend and most of her middle-aged contemporaries read the series, and I recall her once dropping used copies in paper grocery sack, unmarked, which she left at her doorstep for a clandestine pickup by one of her friends. Yes, a dead drop . . . just among friends.
So what does this have to do with real espionage and The Spy’s Son?Read More
Former Russian spy Alexy Yurievich Artamonov, who defected to the U.S. in 2008, has served Moscow and Washington -- and he's also found himself at odds with both governments.
For that reason, the Soviet-born Artamonov, who legally changed his name to Jan Neumann, might just be the perfect person to ask about Trump, Putin, and "Kremlingate."
In this exclusive Q&A, Neumann answers five pressing questions about the ongoing Cold War.Read More
The First Amendment is on shaky ground, m’friends.
President Trump recently declared journalists the “enemy of the American people.” A Gallup poll last September found that only 32 percent of Americans trust mass media, an all-time low dating back to the Nixon era. Meanwhile, financially crippled news organizations are taking it in the pants.
Now the government is getting in the act, suing reporters who file open-records requests for public documents. You know, doing their jobs.Read More
From a distance of nearly 5,000 miles, I commissioned a pair of twenty-somethings to pop into a bookstore in Amsterdam to see how the good people of The Netherlands were treating the brand-new Dutch version of The Spy’s Son.
My two-person reconnaissance team – siblings Andrew and Austin Quinlan – found the table where De Verrader en Zijn Zoon was displayed in Scheltema booksellers, a shop that’s been around since 1853. They propped up a few of the books for grander display. Then they cracked copies themselves and stood around looking utterly mesmerized.
Their theatrics remind me of something the author-humorist H. Allen Smith wrote years ago: “I think there ought to be a law barring all authors and all relatives of authors from bookstores.”Read More
Thanks to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the CIA and it’s Russian counterpart, the SVR (not to mention the FBI, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange), the spy wars between the United States and Russia roar daily into headline news.
Sweet! Keep it up, kids.Read More
My dad went to Texas A&M University, which by family decree (especially during football season) has long forbidden me from saying anything nice about the other school – you know, the University of Texas.
That ends today.
The alumni group for UT’s Daily Texan newspaper and the group Texas Student Media have smartly and bravely conspired to create a T-shirt that should be worn proudly by every journalist in America -- hell, every human in America -- regardless of their politics. Here’s how it reads:Read More
A pair of former Russian spies gave me eight months of exclusive interviews, a riveting and heartbreaking tale of defection to the USA and betrayals by the American intelligence agencies that promised to protect them.
Want to know about the corrupt state of affairs in Vladimir Putin's Russia? The ongoing turf wars between the CIA and FBI? What happens when the U.S. recruits a pair of defecting spies?
Then you'll want to read my piece in Newsweek: The Almost Americans.Read More
The Spy’s Son will be published in a dozen nations, a gratifying turn for a new author and a testament to thehard work of my splendid literary agent, Tamar Rydzinski, and her co-agents around the world.
While I’m aware you really can’t judge a book by its cover (public law by virtue of adage), I do find myself wondering what image that foreign publishing houses will put on the cover of my book and what bearing those covers have on readers willing to shell out money to buy the thing.Read More
Six years ago this month, the United States expelled sexy Russian spy Anna Chapman and a team of her deep-cover pals.
Chapman and company spent a decade posing as ordinary Americans on U.S. soil as they spied on U.S. policymakers and inveigled their way into such companies as Microsoft.
You remember Chapman. She was the sexy redhead who returned to Moscow as a hero, turning her fame into TV shows, lingerie ads, and a famous cover shot on Russian editions of Maxim.
But did you know that Chapman and company, a group of foreign intelligence officers known to the FBI as “the illegals,” make a surprise appearance in The Spy’s Son?Read More
My girlfriend and I drank too much wine at a charity auction in early 2015 and won a guided trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
I was 60 pounds overweight and knew I’d have to diet like a fiend and start, you know, getting the hell out of my writing room and moving my fat ass around if I didn’t want to die on the tallest free-standing mountain on the planet.
On Thursday, I took a twelve-mile training trek in Portland, Oregon. It was sunny and 77 degrees and relatively dry. But I failed to eat anything before jogging down to the Willamette River and hiking to the highest point in the city, Council Crest. When I got to the top, I thought perhaps I was hallucinating.
Because there, right in front of me, was a sight so surreal I began to doubt my own eyes and ears.Read More