Tag Archives: CIA

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal

(Talia Inger, Book One)
Genre: Contemporary Christian / Thriller / Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 3, 2019
Number of Pages: 400

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Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them.

With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where criminal minds and unlikely strategies compete for access to the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault that hovers in the mesosphere. But is Tyler actually helping her? Or is he using her for his own dark purposes?

“A movie-worthy tale of espionage and intrigue. Hannibal has done it again.”–Steven James, national bestselling author of Every Wicked Man

“James Hannibal has crafted a story slam full of mystery, danger, twists, and turns. I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough–or bother to stop to breathe. You don’t want to miss this one!”–Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice series

The Gryphon Heist plunges readers into a world where no one can be trusted, nothing is as it seems, and choosing the wrong side could be catastrophic.”–Lynn H. Blackburn, award-winning and bestselling author of the Dive Team Investigations series

“Leap on board The Gryphon Heist and ride the whirlwind of suspense. Don’t let go!”–DiAnn Mills, bestselling author of Burden of Proof

Author Interview


As a former tactical deception officer and stealth pilot, you bring a wealth of knowledge to your high-action suspense stories. Can you relay how your knowledge helped you write The Gryphon Heist?

In the intelligence world, we have a saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” That means an operative or analyst must work not only to find specific answers but also to discover what information or questions he or she didn’t even know to look for. Experience gives me an advantage in writing spy thrillers, because I know to look for information where others may not. I still do heavy research, but I have a head start. Additionally, you can’t truly know that world unless you’ve lived as a part of it. I’d like to caveat that statement by adding that fiction, in my opinion, should be escapist and enjoyable. So I expand on certain realities and create new ones over what real intelligence work is like in order to take the adventure to the next level for the reader.

What was your inspiration behind your book?

I had two inspirations: thieves and millennials, not necessarily in that order. I wanted to start a series of spy thrillers for the up-and-coming generation. So many thrillers these days are based on the older guy who has been around for a while. Instead, I wanted to see this world fresh, through the eyes of a rookie— and I wanted to make that today’s rookie, not me as a rookie. By the way, that took as much research as the technical stuff. While mulling my rookie over, I also got into thievery—not in any illegal sense. In a section of my last kids’ mystery series, I went deep into the pickpockets and thieves of a London thieves’ guild. That got me thinking about an elite team of thieves working for the CIA. From there, the story ran away with me.

You have several key characters in your new series. Among the thieves, spies, and assassins, do you have any favorites?

I love all my characters the same. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to say? Honestly, Tyler is at the top. No spoilers, but this guy has a shady past with layer after layer I can peel back through the story. Exploring this world with him at my side is a lot of fun. Finn, the daredevil cat burglar, and Darcy, the chemist-slash-explosives expert come up as close seconds. Darcy’s a bit off, so I never know what she’ll do next. Finn has a subconscious death wish combined with great skillsets, both aerial and criminal, so he is fun as well. I also liked playing him off our hero Talia, although he’ll have to get over himself if there’s going to be any real romance there.

In addition to offering a gripping tale, you also include an underlying theme of forgiveness in The Gryphon Heist. Can you elaborate on that?

Forgiveness emerged as a natural theme in this story amid the overall exploration of morality. God, as creator, is the author of morality, and he calls us to forgive. Most people don’t realize that a directive to forgive immediately follows the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible. As a former foster child who has endured a hard youth, Talia must overcome a great deal of anger if she is to grow as the hero and return to her faith. She must even learn to forgive the man responsible for her father’s death.

Former stealth pilot James R. Hannibal is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his Section 13 mysteries for kids and a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series for adults. James is a rare multi-sense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells and hears flashes of light. He lives in Houston, Texas.

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GRAND PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist 
+ Gryphon Ornament + Clip Bookmarks + $10 Starbucks Gift Card; 
SECOND PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist + $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card;
THIRD PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist  + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
September 26-October 6, 2019


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North Beach by Miles Arceneaux

It’s 1962 on the Texas Gulf Coast, and 15-year-old Charlie Sweetwater and his brother, Johnny, are happily oblivious to the world’s problems. Charlie’s main concerns are qualifying for an upcoming Golden Gloves boxing tournament, ducking a local bully and, with any luck, stealing a kiss from Carmen Delfín, the prettiest girl he’s ever laid eyes on.
Charlie’s last innocent summer ends abruptly when his boxing coach is murdered and his friend, a black Cuban boxer named Jesse Martel, is accused of the crime.
Their problems are compounded when Jesse becomes a political pawn in a high-stakes contest between Cuba and the CIA—a contest that intensifies when the Cuban Missile Crises begins, and the world’s two superpowers come within an eye blink of mutual destruction.
Through it all, Charlie and his brother are convinced that Jesse is innocent, and they are determined to find the real murderer—a remorseless killer who is stalking more victims—and clear Jesse’s name before time runs out. Suddenly the Sweetwater boys find themselves navigating through a world that is much bigger, more complicated, and scarier than they ever imagined.

As we drove over the tall hump of the Harbor Bridge, I gazed down at the North Beach neighborhood below. It looked gloomy and pitiful and dark. . . . Once it had been a popular tourist destination, full of boisterous crowds of vacationers, stevedores, and sailors, along with local well-to-do families. Billboards promoted it as Texas’s own Coney Island, “the Playground of the South.” I had vivid childhood memories of the long fishing pier, the saltwater swimming pool with its high-diving board, and next to it, the Surf Bath House, where you could rinse off in a fresh-water shower after swimming, and then order an ice cream float from the soda fountain. . . . You could see clear to Mustang Island from the top of the Ferris wheel. . . .
But North Beach had changed since then. The carnival and amusement park went broke after the causeway was constructed, and a few years later, when the pivoting Bascule Bridge was replaced by the high-arch Harbor Bridge, people and cars began to hurry past the area as if it were a drunk passed out on the street. You could stare as you went by, but you sure didn’t want to stop. . . . Now only a few greasy spoons, pawn shops, dollar-a-day-flophouses, and a handful of windowless bars remained—bars off the beaten path, bars that people went to when they didn’t want to be seen, or found.
“What, brother man?”
“Do you think Rachel would’ve been crazy enough to duck into one of those North Beach joints?”
He eased his foot off the accelerator, thinking about it, and then zipped over to catch the last North Beach exit before the Nueces Bay Causeway. “It’s worth a shot,” he answered. “And, yeah, I think she’s crazy enough.”
Praise for Miles Arceneaux:
“Miles Arceneaux named among the top five Texas authors of 2014.”
Mystery People, Top Five Texas Authors of 2014, December 23, 2014
Praise for Ransom Island:
“A seamless, atmospheric and sardonic comic thriller.”
The Dallas Morning News, Book review: Four mysteries with Texas ties, December 26, 2014
Praise for La Salle’s Ghost:
“Arceneaux keeps the story moving and the suspense building, working in plenty of
humor along the way.”
Glenn Dromgoole, Texas Reads, September 7, 2013
Praise for Thin Slice of Life:
“An engaging crime caper. This book hits the mark.”
    — Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2012
Blurbs for Ransom Island:
“Like Carl Hiaasen and John D. MacDonald, Miles Arceneaux sets his dark doings by blue water, and has a ball doing it. He makes me want to run away to the islands—Galveston, Mustang or Padre—and sip a tall, cold glass of gin-and-something while I read his latest tale. RANSOM ISLAND may be his best one yet.”
Sarah Bird, Best Selling Author of Above the East Sea China, September 2014
Blurbs for La Salle’s Ghost:
“The story would make a good film . . . Seamlessly plotted and beautifully told.”
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
Blurbs for Thin Slice of Life:
“Miles Arceneaux has written a classic . . . steeped in salt-air atmosphere that just can’t be faked . . . It’s as if Dashiell Hammett had grown up on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Stephen Harrigan, Best Selling Author of The Gates of the Alamo
“The best suspense novel I’ve read since Cormac What’s-His-Name.
Kinky Friedman, Governor of the Heart of Texas
So this is book 4 of the Charlie Sweetwater series, but Arceneaux makes it feel like you’re not missing out on anything (although I do kinda want to read the other 3 books now). The beginning is a little rough to me – too much description or something – but you can tell the author (or rather, authors) know boxing and fishing, because that’s where the story starts to flow great. I got a little squirmy at the teenage hormonal parts for some reason, but the murder and assault mystery kept me on my toes. I was impressed that Arceneaux took the time to learn his ballet terminology for a few scenes too. However, if you’ve ever seen the movie Million Dollar Baby, I’m sure you will find some pretty big similarities: gruff old boxing gym owner who doesn’t want to push his fighters along too quickly (arguably holding them back some), mentally disabled teenager who bothers everyone, black fighter who’s being courted by promoters who promise big money. Overall, great read and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.
The author of four funny, fast-paced novels of intrigue set on the Texas Gulf Coast, Miles Arceneaux is a one-of-a-kind writer. Or, to be precise, he is three-of-a-kind. The irreverent persona of “Miles” is the product of three friends, lifelong Texans, and Gulf Coast aficionados.


Brent Douglass’ inspiration for Miles’ tales stems from his family’s deep Texas coastal roots, and the iconoclastic characters he crossed paths with growing up there. James R. Dennis’ intimate knowledge of both sides of the law (he’s one of the good guys, it should be mentioned) and his deep appreciation for Texas Rangers lore helps keep Miles’ protagonists on the side of the angels. As a longtime journalist covering Texas and Texans, John T. Davis has sometimes been accused of writing fiction, but this is the first time he has set out to do it on purpose. Together, Douglass, Dennis and Davis make “Miles Arceneaux” truly more than the sum of his parts.
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