The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 57

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2014
57
FSOMark Atkisson has been in the government for more than
40 years, serving in the U.S. Navy and as a civilian in federal and
local agencies. He lives with his wife, Kathleen, and two teen-
age children in Canada, where he is the management officer at
Consulate General Montreal. J. David Kay has more than 34 years
of U.S. Army and federal government experience. He and his wife,
Irene, are currently posted to Embassy Baghdad.
Under Chad’s Spell
Michael Varga, CreateSpace,
2014, $16.99/paperback,
$9.99/Kindle, 369 pages.
This novel follows the lives of two young
people, Charlene and Madison, who travel
to Chad as Peace Corps Volunteers during
the turbulent 1970s. Former lovers, they are
assigned to two different parts of the coun-
try. In a city, Charlene immerses herself in teaching English. She
struggles to communicate in French and African languages and
adjust to the strikingly different customs of the country, and feels
isolated from both Chadians and the other volunteers. Madison,
by contrast, finds himself in a remote village, where he comes to
know the country and its people intimately, engaging in tribal
rituals and eventually living with a Chadian wife.
When civil war breaks out, the ambassador orders all Ameri-
cans to evacuate. Charlene begins to worry when Madison fails
to show up for departure via truck to neighboring Cameroon. She
faces a difficult decision: leave Madison behind and return to the
safety of the United States, or stay and try to save him.
Retired FSOMichael Varga is a playwright, actor and author
who served in Chad as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After that experi-
ence, he joined the Foreign Service, serving in the United Arab
Emirates, Syria, Morocco and Canada. Settled now in Georgia, he
is working on a new novel that focuses on the Foreign Service.
The Great Game Murders
William S. Shepard, Seth B. Cutler
Press, 2013, $2.99, Kindle, 230 pages.
In this latest volume (Book 5) of the “Rob-
bie Cutler DiplomaticMystery” series,
the president of the United States has
decided that, in view of Chinese threats
over the region, American forces should
be reconfigured from theMiddle East in a
strategic “tilt toward Asia.”
Secretary of State Ronald Adams flies off in Air Force Two on
amission to reassure allies throughout Southeast Asia. His staff
assistant, Robbie Cutler, helps plan the trip to Australia, Singapore,
Hanoi, Manila, Bangkok and NewDelhi. Along the way, al-Qaida
hatches several assassination plots against the Secretary—with the
help of Chinese covert operatives in the region.
The rivalry between China and the United States calls tomind
the Great Game of the 19th century, as Britain and Russia struggled
over the approaches to India.The new version concerns much of
the same region, but with far higher stakes in the nuclear era. But is
official China aware of the working alliance with al-Qaida?
FSOWilliamS. Shepard created the diplomaticmystery series
and its protagonist Robbie Cutler after retiring froma Foreign Ser-
vice career that took him to five overseas missions and numerous
assignments inWashington, D.C. “Career diplomats see somany
sources of information, that the connection of diplomacy and crime
solving seemed natural,” says Shepard. He has since produced four
books in the series, in addition to a guide to French wines and other
works (see
/).
Multiple Exposure:
A Sophie Medina Mystery
Ellen Crosby, Scribner, 2013, $16/
paperback, $16.99/Kindle, 320 pages.
“This assured tale of love, loss and secret
agendas offers a complex portrait of our
nation’s capital, with its historic beauty
and roiling underbelly of deceit and
danger,” says
Publisher’s Weekly
of
Multiple
Exposure
, the first installment in a new series by veteran mystery
writer Ellen Crosby.
SophieMedina is a photojournalist living in London. She returns
froman overseas assignment to find that her husband, Nick, a
geologist and covert CIA operative, has been abducted. Several
months later, a friend in the British government tells her Nick has
been spotted inMoscow. He is not only a suspect in his boss’s
murder, but may also be involved in illicit Russian oil deals, she
is told. When Sophiemoves back toWashington, D.C., to be near
family and friends, she is drawn into a high-stakes game of Russian
roulette as she tries to find Nick and prove his innocence.
Ellen Crosby, the wife of FSOAndré de Nesnera of the Voice of
America, began writing mysteries under her maiden name when
her husband was posted to Geneva. She has since published
eight books—six in the Virginia wine country mystery series
featuring winemaker Lucie Montgomery and
Moscow Nights,
a
standalone based loosely on her time as Moscow correspondent
for ABC Radio News in the late 1980s. Her ninth book,
Ghost
Fiction and Poetry continued from page 51
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