Sunday, December 23, 2012

Offbeat, fast-moving and a world class thriller

Offbeat and fast-moving, BEWARE THE JABBERWOCK is the first book in a trilogy of espionage thrillers inspired by the real-life adventures of an FBI agent.

Author Chester D. Campbell knows the intelligence community first hand. He was an Air Force intelligence officer in the Korean War and afterward in the Air National Guard, retiring from the Air Force Reserve as a lieutenant colonel.
He also had a long career as a reporter and editor. As editor of
Nashville Magazine he interviewed a former FBI agent with a fascinating
story to tell. They talked about putting his adventures into a
non-fiction book but the agent had second thoughts. The statute of
limitations was still running on some of the things he had done.

Campbell writes: “I lost contact with the ex-agent before we got to the point of putting anything on paper. I learned he died several years ago. It makes for quite a story.” He based his character Burke Hill on the agent, and tells the story on his blog, Mystery Mania, at


Time and place: Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv, May 1992

“Burke got out of the taxi near the Franciscan Monastery of St. Peter,
which stood above the blue waters of the Mediterranean, commanding a
magnificent view of Israel's largest city. Modern hotels rose above a
sprawling hodgepodge of architecture as diverse as the origins of its
people, all accented by the curving Mediterranean coastline.

“He looked up from paying the fare just as a slow moving car crept
past. He had only a quick glimpse of a face on the passenger side, but
it gave him a hard jolt. Hooked nose and heavy brows, short black
beard. The man from the flea market. The realization that he was being
followed hit him like a slap in the face.”

The protagonist, Burke Hill, is an ex-FBI agent currently working as a
professional photographer. As a favor to Cameron Quinn, an old CIA
friend, he lets himself be drawn into a Byzantine scheme that will
shock the world.

It has begun in October in Vienna when two Russian and American
intelligence agents plot a power grab by assassination. Disgruntled by
liberal-leaning leaders in their respective countries, the agents look
ahead to an American-Russian summit in June, scheduled to take place
in Washington, D.C. and Toronto, Canada. They sketch out Operation
Jabberwock, named after a Lewis Carroll story.

The plot is bizarre but apparently possible. The team they assemble
will pose as employees of a Texas TV network providing live coverage
of the American-Soviet visit to Toronto. They will purport to provide
live feeds by satellite transmission, the uplink to be generated from
a transmitter truck parked near the Toronto City Hall.

Establishing a base on an island off the coast of Florida, the two
plotters pull in spies from several countries and begin to procure,
modify and test equipment they will need.  When Cameron Quinn gets an inkling that something suspicious is underway, he enlists Burke Hill
to ferret out the details.

BEWARE THE JABBERWOCK delivers step-by-step excitement in a thriller marked by cross and double-cross. Burke Hill and three close friends defy death to stop the operation before it’s too late.


Chester Campbell says:
(Quote) I got hooked on mysteries back in 1947 after I went to work as a reporter for The Knoxville Journal (I was also a journalism student at the University of Tennessee at the time). At the library I picked up a copy of Horacy McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and then his No Pockets in a Shroud. The latter involved a newspaper reporter researching corruption that involved murder. I found it so fascinating that I soon parked behind my portable typewriter and hammered out a murder mystery about a reporter solving a murder. It didn't get published, but I knew some day I would make it as a novelist. About fifty years later, I did. (End Quote)

Chester won the 2012 Magnolia Award given to a SEMWA member who has shown exemplary service to the Mystery Writers of America, Southeast Chapter, which covers the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. SEMWA’S purpose is to further the writing, publishing, and marketing goals of our chapter’s members by organizing, sponsoring, and promoting activities to that end.
Chester is the author of two mystery series featuring private investigators. The Sid Chance series includes THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE MURDEROUS (2011) and THE SUREST POISON (2009). Chester has also written five Greg McKenzie novels featuring a retired Air Force investigator and his wife: A SPORTING MURDER (2010), THE MARATHON MURDERS (2008), DEADLY ILLUSIONS (2005), DESIGNED TO KILL (2004) and SECRET OF THE SCROLL (2002).

THE POKSU CONSPIRACY, Book No. 2 in the Burke Hill thrillers, takes place mostly in South Korea, and is now available on Kindle. The third book will be titled OVERTURE TO DISASTER.
Chester Campbell lives in Nashville. For more about him and his books, see
Mystery Mania Blog:
and his web site at

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