“Complicated problems don’t often have simple solutions,” says New York Times best selling author Brad Thor whose latest novel, Foreign Agent (Simon & Schuster 2016; $27.99), is very timely considering the recent events such as the massacre in Orlando, Florida. “My novels let people peer into the worlds of espionage and counterterrorism. What I’m trying to do with my thrillers is beat the headlines. Often times, you can’t tell where the facts end and the fiction begins.
With a growing interest in how, for certain people, the Quran is used to justify violence, Thor, whose other thrillers include Code of Conduct and Blowback (which NPR listed as one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time”), immersed himself in the life of Mohammed, the seventh century Islamic leader. Thor traces Mohammad’s early peaceful beginnings in Mecca to his later years when he led 10,000 Muslim converts on Medina in a bloody confrontation. Using what he learned as part of the fabric of his book, Foreign Agent is the latest in the Scott Harvath series.
Harvath, a former Navy SEAL and the kind of guy you definitely want on your side in a fight, is on the hunt across Europe and the Middle East for those responsible for an ambush of American operatives near Syria and a man he considers capable of the greatest evil ever known.
In Foreign Agent, Thor has created a thriller that is not only riveting but also offers a historic and personal perspective on events that we read about in today’s news.
What: Brad Thor book signing
When: June 25 at 1 p.m.
Where: COSTCO, 2746 N. Clybourne Ave., Chicago, IL
FYI: 773-360-2053; http://www.costco.com/author-signings.html
When six-year-old Gonker, a much loved family pet decided to do some typical canine spontaneous off-site exploring when navigating the Appalachian Trail with his owner Fielding Marshall, he was expected to shortly return. But after a while, while calling the six-year old Golden Retriever’s name, Marshall began to worry that his dog was lost. To make it even more serious, Gonker suffered from Addison’s—a serious disease that effects dogs and is characterized by a deficient production of glucocorticoids and/or mineralocorticoids. If Gonker doesn’t get the necessary hormone medication needed to control the disease, he will die within 23 days.
The story of the search for Gonker is told by Marshall’s brother-in-law, journalist Pauls Toutonghi is his latest book, Dog Gone: A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home (Knopf 2016; $25). It’s a tale of a family’s search to find their dog in time and also of how, after Fielding’s mother, Virginia, sets up a command center, the community and ultimately the country. Indefatigable—she long had mourned the loss of her own dog decades ago, Virginia uses a map and phone book to jumpstart what will become a nationwide network of those wanting to help find and save Gonker. Relentlessly contacting radio stations, park rangers, animal shelters, the police and local retail stores, Gonker’s disappearance and the family’s search gets a write-up in a local newspaper where it is picked up by AP. Before long the nation is offering their help in finding the missing dog.
What: Pauls Toutonghi conversation and book signing
When: Saturday, June 11 at 11:45 am
Where: Printers Row Lit Festival, South Loop Stage, Dearborn Street, Chicago