Release Date: 06/20/2107
For decades since the collapse of communism, the so-called “hermit kingdom” has survived by making international crime a state enterprise.
CIA operative Frank Mitchum’s area of specialty is Bureau 39 – the top-secret government unit responsible for financing the rogue state’s weapons of mass destruction. Mitchum uncovers the involvement of Jimmy Wu, a Hong Kong methamphetamine mogul, whose cross-border smuggling routes are vital to Bureau 39’s supply of WMD components.
An explosion at a container terminal in Hong Kong, an arms dealer and smuggler arrested in Thailand, and the disappearance of a CIA asset plague the investigation.
Even as the bodies pile up, Mitchum races to cut off Bureau 39’s resources before it is too late; because the threat of the world’s first nuclear holocaust depends on it.
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“There’s this businessman in Hong Kong, Jimmy Wu, who has some close ties to North Korea. He has a laundry detergent factory in the North which we believe is a front for a crystal methamphetamine lab.”
“Jesus, are you serious? Breaking Bad in North Korea, huh? Who does Kim Jong-un think he is, Walter White?”
Frank grinned. “We know he’s been smuggling drugs into China as well as Southeast Asia, but we also suspect he might be using the same distribution networks to smuggle missile and rocket components back into the North. It’s just a theory that I have, but given how desperate the North is, it is a viable one.
One of the Agency’s biggest fears was the North’s ability to continue its weapons of mass destruction programs despite continued sanctions. It was possible, given satellite imagery of known missile sites, that the North had stepped up its missile program which suggested that the same networks used for smuggling drugs had also been supplying the North with key missile components as Frank prophesied with his theory. The key was Macau. Frank believed that Pyongyang had been using it to funnel money into the country and also using it as a distribution and logistics center for the material it needed from countries in North Africa and the Middle East, the only places other than China that still had business connections with the North. To test the theory, there was only one way Frank could be certain: they needed to have someone deep cover.
Song deliberated what his friend had said and finished his hot dog. He crumpled up the wrapper and tossed it into a nearby trashcan. “That doesn’t sound good.”
“Tell me about it,” Frank said. “And I don’t need to tell you what could happen if the North has the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead.”
About the Author:
Jeffrey Miller has spent nearly three decades in Asia as a university lecturer, writer, and journalist. Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, he relocated to South Korea in 1990 where he nurtured a love for spicy Korean food, Buddhist temples, and East Asian History.
His work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including A-Minor Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Eunoia Review and the Toasted Cheese Literary Journal.
He is the author of ten books including War Remains a Korean War Novel, Ice Cream Headache, The Panama Affair, and Bureau 39.
He currently resides in Daejeon with his wife and four children. If he’s not working, writing, or reading, he’s usually chasing little kids around his home.
Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? You’re welcome. I am very happy to take part in this interview and would also like to thank Fire & Ice Book Promos for giving this opportunity to talk about their books.
How many books do you currently have published? Ten
What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? Wow, that’s a tough question because all my books are very near and dear to me (grins). Each one is my favorite for each reason that I wrote it. For example, War Remains, my first one, a novel about the Korean War was based on some interviews I had done with returning Korean War veterans in 2000 when I was writing for the Korea Times, the oldest English language newspaper in Korea. I learned so much about the so-called “forgotten war” through these interviews, and my first novel explored this feeling I had when I interviewed these veterans to tell their story. In another book, Ice Cream Headache, I travel back in time to 1968 to write about a small town in Illinois and how this small town and the people who lived in it were a microcosm of the nation during that seminal and tragic year.
Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? Yes, I am. I’ve already finished my eleventh book which is a dark comedy about America and fracking. I have three more books in the works, including my first foray into horror writing. I’m really excited about that one.
What do you enjoy most about writing? The discovery that takes place. Every time I begin a new project, I never know where the journey will take me. And in the process, I learn something about myself in the stories that I tell.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? Every day! Actually, I believe there is no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just a part of the writing process where you are thinking through an idea. And when I am stuck, I move to another project. I never miss a beat or an opportunity when it comes to writing.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? This happened with the character Gordon Fletcher in Bureau 39. He was much different in earlier versions in terms of his evilness. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the plot, but he will surprise readers at the end of the story!
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? My favorite character would have to be Bobby in War Remains. He’s the only character who made me cry. And my least favorite would be Nicky Jones in When a Hard Rain Falls. The man is pure evil.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? Because I see all my books as a movie (I started out as a film major before I changed my major to English) so many scenes have stood out because of their visualization. The river scene at the end of When a Hard Rain Falls, the street battle in Panama City during Operation Just Cause in The Panama Affair, and the cabin scene at the end of I’ll Be Home for Christmas were not only my favorite scenes to write but also my hardest. Maybe that’s why they stand out more than others because I really had to get them right.
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? The importance of revision and putting aside your manuscript for a while—something that Stephen King suggests, to come back to your manuscript after a period of time with a fresh set of eyes.
If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? War Remains. That’s where it all started. It’s no surprise that this novel is my best seller and one that has resonated the most with readers.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character? It would have to be Yoo-ri in Bureau 39. She didn’t play a big part in earlier versions of the manuscript, but she does now! I think readers are going to like her.
Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? Anything by James Lee Burke, Robert Olen Butler, Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, Stephen King, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Ray Bradbury.
What about television shows? Movies? Fargo, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Bosch, Twin Peaks, Man in the High Castle.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? Fahrenheit 451. I teach this book in one of my composition classes, so I re-read it about three times a year. I like it for a number of reasons, but it’s really all about the importance of books and the impact they have in our lives.
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? I came. I saw. I wrote. Okay, that was six words. Sorry. (grins).
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? I have spent the past 28 years living in Asia, and one thing that comes through a lot of my fiction is the importance of home—the roots that we have that tie us to one place. In many of my stories “I am going home” either in the stories or the memories that the characters share or in the case of Ice Cream Headache, physically traveling back in time to 1968. I think readers will get to know me more as a writer and a person when they accompany me on one of my literary journeys.
Thank you again so much for allowing me the chance to talk about my books and myself.