After listening to a presentation by a Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent
at a meeting of our local chapter of Mystery Writers of America, I knew that was
the job for my protagonist, Raisa Jordan. Little did I know how much I had to learn.
First came the research.
A lot of people don't realize how difficult it is to earn the badge of a DSS
agent. The man who spoke to us made it sound interesting, sexy, exotic,
dangerous and exciting, but did you know that a DSS agent must have a four-year
degree from an accredited university? You could have a B.A. in Underwater
Basket-weaving for all they care, but the diploma is required. You must also
pass a physical, obtain a medical clearance, a Top Secret Security Clearance,
and be determined stable, resourceful, trustworthy, and capable of assuming
After clearing those hurdles, agents attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training
Center (FLETC), and prove proficiency in job-related subjects, including:
criminal law, federal court proceedings, use of firearms, personal defensive
tactics, driving skills, security techniques and criminal investigation. And it
doesn't hurt to speak multiple languages.
Then there was the job description.
Most people think all DSS Agents do is check for visa and passport violations,
and oversee the Marine details protecting our embassies. When, in fact, DSS
agents are the Department of State's security and law enforcement arm
abroad. The only law enforcement agency with representation in nearly every
country in the world, agents investigate the activities of foreign intelligence
agencies, assess terrorist incidents and threats, and assist in apprehending
fugitives who have fled the United States. They transport diplomatic documents,
arrange security for visiting dignitaries, and provide security support for U.S.
participants at major domestic and international events, such as the Olympics.
And there was the travel.
One thing is for certain, DSS agents go to some incredible places. There are 294
U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world. An agent's first postings are
assigned, but the assignments change every couple of years and soon you can
apply for the spot of your dreams. Of course, with every "cush" posting, there
are some where it's more difficult to live, so all posts come with a hardship
rating. The nicest spots are rated 0% hardship, the toughest spots 35% hardship.
London gets a 0%. Paris gets a 0%. Kabul gets a 35%.
Why? It's hard living in Kabul. It's isolated, the air quality is terrible,
there is a lack of infrastructures and medical care. To live there requires
specialized training in hostage awareness, surveillance detection, weapons,
combat first aid and counter-assault driving. Not to mention the scores of
people who would like nothing more than to kill you if you're ever caught out
walking the streets.
The perks of the job.
Aside from the travel, you're given free housing, offered great job security and
you get to rub elbows with presidents, sports figures, and celebrities around
Writing the books.
The idea for DARK WATERS
came to me in 1999, while I was living in Tel Aviv with one of my daughters for
a couple of months. It was before Raisa was born, and it took me a while to
write. I wanted to be sure my story did justice to the complex world of Israel,
the myriad of religious and political believes, the conflicts caused by the
setting and circumstances.
I drew from a number of our experiences, from sitting on the sea wall in front
of the Dolphinarium Discotheque listening to the music (the site of a suicide
bombing several months later that killed 21 teenagers) to taking a city bus too
far south and ending up in real danger of being stoned because of the way we
The end of book one dictated to me that RED SKY be set in Ukraine,
post the Russian invasion of Crimea. Naturally I felt I had to go there to
absorb the feel of the country. In Kiev the mood was somber. The economy had
suffered with the war, so I have to say, I wasn't completely surprised to
discover the Kievians newest tourist offering. For $50, a driver with a rifle
will give you a flak jacket and a hard hat, and load you into a Humvee for a
tour of the front lines. I was game, but saner heads prevailed. My daughter
said, "No. The answer is NO Mom."
When People's Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S.
diplomatic agent onboard, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is
sent to investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou,
China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the
plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard?
To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what the Americans knew
that was worth killing hundreds to cover up. With Russia deeply entangled in the
Ukraine and the possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring down its
own plane, tensions are high.
As international relations and even more lives hang in the balance, Jordan
races to stop a new Cold War. Red Sky, Chris Goff's pulse-pounding
follow-up to Dark Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans
of Gayle Lynds.
Mystery | Thriller [Crooked
Lane Books, On Sale: June 13, 2017, Hardcover /
e-Book, ISBN: 9781683311263 / eISBN: 9781683311270]
perfect storm for a thriller you just cannot put down!
Chris Goff is an award-winning author of six novels based on environmental
themes and two international thrillers. Her most recent book, RED SKY, (Crooked
Lane Books, June 2017) is set in Ukraine and Asia, where Agent Raisa Jordan
tests the boundaries of diplomacy as she races to prevent the start of a new
Cold War. Catherine Coulter had this to say: "Breathtaking suspense, do not miss
Red Sky." Goff's series debut, DARK WATERS, was dubbed “a sure bet for fans of
international thrillers" by Booklist, and was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado
Book Award and 2016 Anthony Award for Best Crime Fiction Audiobook.
the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' 2002 Writer of the year, Goff's bestselling
Birdwatcher's Mystery series was nominated for two WILLA Literary Awards, a
Colorado Author's League Award, and published in the UK and Japan. The backlist
was re-released in e-book by Astor+Blue Editions in November 2014. Her latest, A
Parliament of Owls, came out in May 2016.
Goff began her career writing
non-fiction, penning columns for several local newspapers in Summit County,
Colorado, as well as articles for regional and national publication. Later she
edited rock and ice-climbing guides for Chockstone Press, and worked in graphic
production for “Living the Good News,” a division of The Morehouse Publishing
Group. She has taught writing workshops at the Colorado Free University, the
University of Colorado. A long-standing member of multiple writing
organizations, Goff has served on several local, regional and national boards,
including Mystery Writers of America. She begins serving a four year term on the
Executive Council of International Crime Writers Association in October 2017,
and current serves on the Education Committee of Sisters in Crime.
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