Note: Here’s an excerpt from my fact-based fiction mystery thriller, The China Connection. Its plot revolves around efforts by the Chinese military to gain information from the United States about dual use technology – information they could use to perfect their military and civilian missile programs – by illegally contributing to the re-election campaigns of the U. S. president and vice-president in exchange for relaxation of restrictions we had in place against trading these items to them.
“Warren Jenkins Carswell, an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth, was pacing the Oval Office. Seated around his desk were Bruxton Linley, Donald Fallon, Chairman of the National Committee, Vice-President Alston Gordon, and John Stanley, Gordon’s Chief of Staff.
“The money’s flowing to them from all sectors, Mr. President,” Fallon was saying. “From individuals, and from both small and large businesses. They’ve raised almost twenty mil already, and the election’s still eleven months off. They’ve even been making inroads among the rank-and-file members of the Teamster’s Union.”
“What have we raised so far?” Carswell returned to his desk and sat.
“We’re still paying off our debt from the ’94 elections. Six million to go before we break even,” Fallon responded bleakly.
“Carswell’s eyes darted from Fallon to Linley and back.”If they keep goin’ like this, they’ll make big gains in the House.”
“Might even take over the Senate,” Gordon observed dryly.
“Carswell noted that the blood had drained from Gordon’s face. Al’s worried, He’s been a politician for over thirty years and he expects to be president after I finish my second term. But for that to happen, I have to first win a second term.”
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HERE ARE A FEW REVIEWS OF MY NOVEL, TAKEN FROM AMAZON.com:
A Novel of Suspense and Intrigue,July 8, 2003. By: Paul B. Cora, Baltimore, MD.
Writer Anthony Sacco has effectively combined factualized events which chillingly parallel developments in US-Chinese relations during the 1990s with a cast of fascinating but believable characters to produce a first-rate novel of technological espionage and suspense. Bent on acquiring US satellite technology, the Chinese military utilizes every means at its disposal, including planted agents and political intrigue aimed directly at the highest office in the United States. When Chinese-American Johnny Chou disappears after indictment on campaign finance violations following a series of high-stakes political deals, private investigator Matt Dawson is hired by the FBI as a low-profile operative whose task is to locate Chou before Chinese agents can kill him to prevent disclosure of everything he knows. Author Sacco takes the reader on a fasinating journey from the highest levels of the growing Chinese satellite program to the Oval Office, and in between to locations ranging from rural China to suburban Maryland. Set against the backdrop of Chinese-American espionage are an array of compelling individuals from main character Dawson, to US President Warren Jenkins Carswell, and Chan Chu-hua, a Chinese agent operating in the US, who ultimately discovers Christianity as she seeks to unravel the tangled web of her life. Readers will enjoy the unmistakeable parallels with events in the Clinton White House concerning Chinese technological espionage.
I like the fact that Dawson has a past, that he’s trying to be a good ex-husband, father, and boyfriend despite some past failures. Sacco isn’t afraid to create a protagonist with religious conviction (all-too easy to dismiss in modern literature). This protagonist actually goes to church and contemplates the moral justification for his actions, both personally and professionally, as an investigator. Sacco cleverly connects Dawson’s personal experiences with the larger political problem of relativism. He accuses the moral climate of a thinly veiled version of the Clinton administration, for allowing and even instigating political scandals that-if the truth ever came out-would shock us all.
Sacco’s fictitious president is a thin disguise for Clinton, providing a convenient hedonistic antagonist who personifies all that Dawson is trying not to be: self-serving, focused on immediate-gratification, and morally bankrupt. The novel revolves around the administration’s failure to restrict powerful weapons technology from getting into the hands of Chinese leaders in exchange for money and political influence. The fictional account closely parallels the true events of Clinton’s administration and policies with regard to China, weaving it within a fictional main plot that takes the reader through the contrastingly principled Dawson’s personal struggles with past mistakes and a budding romantic interest.
Sacco is able to fictionalize and clarify an extremely complex series of backdoor political shenanigans. I was impressed with his ability to string together so many and disparate events and show how they were all effects of a misguided political agenda. Although he takes some artistic liberties with dates, events and people, his account is remarkably accurate and comprehensible. Many characters are composites, and other extenuating circumstances are conveniently omitted (that’s the privilege of fiction, it allows us to focus on only what is of consequence and ignore all the tangential daily clutter that may or may not be relevant). He comes down hard on the administration and exposes it for what it was: a lot of self-indulgent, shortsighted opportunists who raided the system for their political, monetary gain. The book is scathing in its rebuke of what Sacco sees as the moral relativism of the administration, and he inists that character does count when you are at the helm of the world’s greatest super power.
Really, it’s one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read in the past couple years. There’s just enough action to keep you intrigued and just enough political subtext to keep you outraged. One warning: you’ll need to think-about the character of those who we elect to high office, about self-serving political agendas, about moral relativism-but not so much that it ruins the adventure along the way.