An espionage thriller in the classic tradition of Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and John Le Carré, Dynamite Fishermen follows junior CIA case officer Conrad Prosser through Civil War Beirut in pursuit of an agent recruitment to revive his sagging career, exploiting friends and colleagues heedlessly along the way. At the same time, Prosser directs his Arab agents to discover who is behind a recent eruption of car bombings, setting off a retaliatory outburst that threatens his life and those of others around him.
Beirut, 1981. Conrad Prosser is a skilled Arabist, expert agent handler, prolific intelligence reporter, and a connoisseur of Beirut’s underground nightlife. But, as his two-year tour at the U.S. Embassy nears its end, Prosser’s intelligence career is in jeopardy because he has not recruited an agent while in Lebanon, a sine qua non for promotion.
Surveying his many contacts, Prosser selects an attractive Lebanese doctoral student and her idealistic brother as candidates for development. At the same time, he holds clandestine meetings by day and night with his string of Lebanese and Palestinian agents, pressing them to discover who is behind the latest wave of car bombings that has terrorized Muslim West Beirut. But when one of his agents supplies information used to capture a Syrian-backed bombing team, Prosser sets off a cycle of retaliation that threatens more than his career and cherished way of life.
At first denying, then later concealing, apparent attempts on his life, Prosser sets out to save both his job and his skin, exploiting his agents, his best friend, a former lover, his new girlfriend and her enigmatic brother. In doing so, he puts their lives at risk and discovers too late the effect of his heedless actions.
Dynamite Fishermen offers complex characters, fast-paced action, a vivid portrayal of human intelligence operations and the pungent flavor of Beirut during its dark days of civil upheaval.
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Preston Fleming writes realist thrillers set in exceptional times and places, from Siberia during the Russian Civil War (MAID OF BAIKAL), to explosive 1980s Beirut (DYNAMITE FISHERMEN), to a near-future gulag-style labor camp in Utah (FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS). His experience as a diplomat, lawyer and corporate executive, combined with his ultra-lean writing style, lend rare authenticity to his stories. All of Preston’s six novels have received praise from KIRKUS REVIEWS and other publications. Preston is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but left home at fourteen for boarding school and has been on the move ever since. Today he and his wife live in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains with a Belgian Sheepdog they rescued after it bit too many humans on the East Coast.