Brad Thor is the perennial New York Times bestselling author of eleven thrillers. His extensive real-world knowledge of espionage, covert special operations and terrorism caught the attention of Homeland Security, who invited him to join their “Red Cell” Program of writers commissioned to brainstorm on terrorism scenarios.
The plot of Thor’s latest, Full Black, revolves around a planned wave of dramatic terrorist attacks designed to cripple America and pave the way for a socialist utopia. It’s an action-packed page-turner to literally the very last line of the book, pitting Thor’s hero Scot Harvath against Russian hitmen, Muslim suicide bombers, and a radical Left terror financier. But it’s more than just beach-read escapism; it’s also a forceful defense of capitalism, freedom, and American character.
Mark Tapson: Full Black is your tenth novel to feature your protagonist Scot Harvath, an ex-Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative. What is it about Harvath that you think resonates with so many readers?
Brad Thor: I think what resonates with so many readers about Harvath is that he is a good guy – a very good guy – but he realizes the only way to win against an enemy who refuses to fight by any rules is to take the gloves off. I think we’re all beyond tired of political correctness in this country and it’s refreshing to see somebody actually taking the battle directly to the bad guys.
MT: Harvath’s principal antagonist in the novel is described as a billionaire anti-capitalist, a Jewish anti-Semite, a master manipulator of our media, economy, and education – a “malignant, messianic narcissist” whose goal is the collapse of the United States. That no doubt rings a bell for readers of FrontPage Mag. Can you elaborate on your inspiration for this character?
BT: My number one job as a thriller writer is to entertain you. That’s why I strive to write fast moving, cinematic chapters. I love hearing from readers who say they sat down intending to read only a couple of pages and the next thing they knew it was three o’clock in the morning. If you’ve had that experience, if I have given you a terrific, white-knuckle, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride then I have done my job as an author. But that’s not enough for me. I want you to get even more out of my novels and I think that “something more” is one of the hallmarks of a Brad Thor thriller.
I want you to close the book a smarter, better-informed person who knows more about a range of topics than when you began. I want to take you inside the intelligence, political, and special operations arenas and show you things no other author can show you. I also want to present things to you that are happening at home and abroad that you probably had no idea about.
When you finish my books, I want you to be conversant in a host of very interesting, very consequential topics that are facing our nation and our way of life.
I realize, though, that his doesn’t really answer your question, does it? I have refused to mention publicly (or privately) who the main antagonist in Full Black “might” be based on. I know who everyone thinks he is, and all I can say is that readers will have to pick up the book and come to their own conclusions.
For me, the best part about this particular antagonist is that he allowed me to lay out some deeply disturbing and very real issues that I think all Americans should be concerned about. In fact, I’ve had scores of people claim that Full Black (in particular, Chapter 32) should be required reading not only in the White House, but in every school across the country. As a thriller author, that’s pretty powerful stuff.
MT: Harvath decries the media figures and politicians who “try to put a happy face on Muslim extremism and Sharia law under the banner of cultural diversity,” the ones who use “the false moral equivalency card [to] paint Christian fundamentalists as equally dangerous and prolific in their violence.” How significant are the barriers of political correctness and multiculturalism to combating the threat of fundamentalist Islam?
BT: I have long held that our Achilles heel – the greatest chink in our national security armor – is political correctness. It will be the death of this nation (if government spending doesn’t do us in first).
Nothing hinders the reformists within the Islamic faith more than the politically correct apologists outside it. When they make excuses for Islamic terrorism, when they refuse to even call it Islamic terrorism, they prop up the terrorists and blunt the voices of the good Muslim men and women who are trying to root out the evil within the ranks of their faith.
As per multiculturalism – don’t even get me started. All you need to know is that Western Europe is the canary in the coalmine. France, Germany… they all realize now what an utter failure their leftist social policies have been.
It’s not our differences that make us stronger – it’s what we have in common. We need a shared sense of identity and shared sense of purpose to be successful in a nation-state. The leftists, though, do not want nation-states to be successful.
This is a big reason why you see the hard left working so hard to compartmentalize everyone into victim groups. If you can isolate people into smaller and smaller cells and then blame the right for all of their woes, you can garner more votes – at least that’s their hope. It is “Balkanization” and it’s despicable. There is only one minority group that makes a whit of difference in this world and it’s the smallest minority group there is – the individual.
MT: In the book, you pull no punches in your criticisms of the CIA. You describe it as a top-heavy, inefficient, risk-averse, hidebound bureaucracy that, ten years after 9/11, is still more obsessed with protecting its own turf than correcting the intelligence mistakes that led up to the attacks of that morning. If you were made CIA Director, how would you transform the agency?
BT: In Full Black I also state that the CIA is filled with many absolutely remarkable, patriotic men and women who are being stymied by the bureaucracy and lack of leadership. Not one single head rolled at Langley after 9/11 and I think that says a lot about the problems there.
If I was made DCI – the first thing I would do is have a meeting with former DCI, Porter Goss. Mr. Goss had been sent in with a mandate to clean up the CIA and clear out all of the “deadwood.” Mr. Goss’s tenure at the Agency was short-lived. I have to imagine he could probably offer a lot of suggestions on how he might go at things differently today if he was given another crack at the broken culture at Langley.
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