The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2017 41 Night Watch Ann Gaylia O’Barr, Scribblings from Exile, 2017, $7.99/paperback, $2.99/Kindle, 270 pages. It is 1983, and Mark Pacer is a young U.S. diplomat assigned to the State Department’s Operations Center in Washington, D.C., as a watch officer. Late one evening, as Mark’s shift is about to begin, a senior FSO is attacked by an unknown assailant in an elevator at the Ops Center. Mark discovers the injured man, saves his life and then gets involved in the search for the attacker, who also stole classified documents. The victim is the father of one of Mark’s friends, a former classmate who entered the Foreign Service with Mark but later resigned and disappeared from sight. Mark is drawn into the mystery, trying to determine what he is hiding and what may have happened to his son. Mark also faces trouble at home with his wife, herself a Foreign Service officer who has taken a leave of absence to care for their children. All of this takes place against the backdrop of a newly discovered disease, AIDS, which has already affected two of Mark’s friends. Ann Gaylia O’Barr was a Foreign Service officer from 1990 to 2004, serving in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Canada and Washington, D.C. She is the author of eight other novels, includ- ing the first two books of the Mark Pacer series. Negative Side Effects Charles Ray, CreateSpace, 2017, $3.99/Kindle, 280 pages. When you get old, your memory starts to fade. What would you be willing to do to avoid that? When a pharmaceutical company offers a new “wonder drug” that it claims reverses memory loss, Ed Lazenby and his friend Ernesto Cardoza investigate. The two are concerned about the possible side effects of this new drug, but when people start dying after taking it the situation takes a dangerous and urgent turn. Can Ed and Ernesto figure out what is going on before more people die? Negative Side Effects , the fourth volume in the Ed Lazenby mystery series, is one of more than 60 books, both fiction and non-fiction, written by Ambassador Charles Ray, who retired in 2012 after a distinguished 30-year diplomatic career. See p. 31 for a write-up on his most recent nonfiction book, Ethical Dilemmas and the Practice of Diplomacy , and more detailed biographical information. Over My Dead Body Charles Ray, Uhuru Press, 2017, $5.99/Kindle, 295 pages. Al Pennyback will do anything for his friends and relatives. So when an outsider offers to buy his cousin Winston’s land, an offer that seems too good to be true, Al’s relatives ask him to come home and look into the deal. Al returns to East Texas, a place he left as a teen and swore never to return to, and finds that nothing is what it seems. Things smell bad, both literally and figuratively. When Al starts digging, he unearths secrets that someone will kill to keep buried. Over My Dead Body is the latest in the 27-volume Al Pen- nyback mystery series written by Ambassador Charles Ray. He started the Al Pennyback mystery series because he was interested in seeing more stories set in Washington, D.C., that focused on the ordinary people rather than spies, lobbyists or politicians. Wagons West: Daniel’s Journey Charles Ray, CreateSpace, 2017, $5.40/ paperback; $0.99/Kindle, 104 pages. Wagons West: Trinity Charles Ray, CreateSpace, 2017, $6.29/ paperback; $0.99/Kindle, 146 pages. These first two books in Ambassador Charles Ray’s Wagons West series are aimed at younger readers but will appeal to Western fans of all ages. Set in the 1800s, the story follows Daniel Waterford, a 10-year-old boy travelling by wagon with his pioneer parents. In the first volume, Daniel’s Journey , the family endures a treacherous journey from Iowa to their new home in the Oregon Territory’s Trinity Valley. The second volume, Trinity , picks up Daniel and his family two years later in the town of Trinity as they cope with the changes that face frontier towns as they grow. Amb. Ray launched the Wagons West series, centered on the experience of families, to correct the focus on lonesome cow- boys, outlaws and cavalry rescuing beleaguered settlers that is more commonly associated with Westerns.