The author Dale Brown explores a fictional coup in Iran, and the U.S. reaction to it, in his latest book called Strike Force. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, the writer of techno-thrillers combines high-tech gadgetry with international intrigue.
Brown's 19th novel, Strike Force, looks at a coup attempt in Iran and resulting events in the Middle East and Washington. The author says the action is seen through the eyes of a rebellious Iranian general and U.S. security and military officials who debate how to respond to the unfolding drama.
"That's what I really wanted to explore, try to get into the head of a major leader in the Iranian military and in the U.S. military, and then give them a big road obstacle, give them a big conflict to deal with, and then see how they do it," said Dale Brown.
The story concerns a former Iranian military chief of staff who is dissatisfied with his country's religious leadership, and starts an insurgency.
Brown's books are inspired by real-world events and technology that is in its development stages. He extends that reality a few years down the road, and says his books are futuristic but plausible.
Many have become best-sellers. He wrote his first 20 years ago, while he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force.
"And while I was in the Air Force flying B-52s, I realized very quickly that very few people knew what we did," he said.
He says his knowledge of hardware and procedures makes his stories believable.
His first was inspired indirectly by former President Ronald Reagan, who called for development of a space-based missile shield, dubbed by the press "Star Wars." The concept intrigued Brown.
"Several articles came out shortly after that, talking about how the Soviet Union and how China had used lasers to blind American reconnaissance satellites," said Brown. "So I wrote a novel about a lone B-52 crew and a heroic navigator flying halfway around the world to blow up this ground-based laser site that was blinding American satellites. And that was my first novel, published almost exactly 20 years ago."
It was called Flight of the Old Dog, and it was the first of his annual releases.
Brown says his high tech thrillers appeal mostly to male readers, and those in the military. His latest book features a longstanding character from some of his previous novels, a B-52 pilot - now a Lieutenant-General - named Patrick McLanahan. Strike Force also introduces a new protagonist, an adventurous young pilot named Captain Hunter Noble. The writer says, besides writing about high-tech gadgetry, his books also devote a lot of attention to personal conflicts.
"I enjoy the hardware," he admitted. "I enjoy all the bombs and rockets and airplanes and things like that. I deal with space technology in this book. But I think what people really buy novels for is to read about the personalities and read about the emotional conflicts, as well as the real-world military conflicts. So that's what I try to do in all my books."
Brown urges his readers, especially those in the military, to follow his example and put their experiences on paper. He says they may be surprised at the stories they have to tell.
"They have experiences that maybe they're a little bit afraid, or it's too personal, or perhaps too horrifying to themselves or to their families or to others, but those are the stories, I think, that really need to be told," he said.
Brown is working on his 20th book, a sequel to Strike Force. He adds, with a touch of intrigue, that its title is classified - a closely guarded secret - to keep it out of the hands of rival publishers and writers.