Even casual readers and fans of the genre know that when it comes to political thrillers, an author’s success is often tied to their ability to read the tea leaves and predict where the world will be from a geopolitical standpoint a few years down the road.
Two of the best political thriller novelists working today, Brad Thor and Joel C. Rosenberg, are great examples of writers who’ve seen plotlines from their stories come to life in the real world. In fact, Brad Thor (who once opened a book with the president of the United States trading five high-ranking terrorists, long before President Obama made a similar swap for Bergdahl) has so often been right on the money that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck coined the term “faction” to describe Thor’s style. Likewise, Rosenberg was nicknamed “a modern-day Nostradamus” after several themes from his first few books (including terrorists using a plane to attack an American city) later came true — even if that was never the author’s intention to predict such an event.
Truth is, there are lots of these stories out there like that. Vince Flynn, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mitch Rapp series, once had a book flagged by the Pentagon because an attack scenario (which featured a terrorist driving a nuclear weapon by boat up the Potomac) hadn’t yet been accounted for by the U.S. government. Other writers, those who’ve transitioned from a special forces background or any career where they’ve held clearance to review classified information, typically have to submit their books to the government for approval. Just this year, many readers took note of the fact that former Navy SEAL turned author Jack Carr had parts of his debut novel, The Terminal List, redacted.
Beyond all of that, the Department of Homeland Security once realized, after 9/11, that they needed a game plan for out-of-the-box attacks on the homefront, and even compiled a group of authors, Hollywood producers, directors, and other civilians, as part of their Analytical Red Cell program to brainstorm for new ideas in an effort to better protect the country.
Knowing all of that, on top of being friends with a number of authors, I can tell you first-hand that writers absolutely do worry about their novels playing out in the real world. Often, they’ll even tone down anything that people with bad intentions might be able to exploit against America. For those very reasons, I was fascinated when I first heard about Lee Goldberg’s True Fiction, which came out earlier this year.
Essentially, Goldberg wrote about a fictional author named Ian Ludlow, who realizes that a number of concerning headlines seem to be ripped right out of one of his bestselling novels. Previously, Ludlow had helped the government dream up attack scenarios so that the government could plan against them, much like Brad Thor and others really did do for the Department of Homeland Security. While everyone else is trying to figure out the terrorists’ endgame, Ludlow knows exactly how things will end. . . because he wrote the playbook in story form that the bad guys are now following to a T.
While the book was written to be more of an action comedy (it’s not quite a parody, though I’ve seen other reviews call it that), it was still a lot of fun and a big hit with readers. I know I personally got dozens of emails asking if I’d please have Goldberg on for our Five Questions Q&A segment (FYI — I will do my best for 2019), and heard from a number of readers who absolutely loved the concept and Goldberg’s execution. I couldn’t agree with those sentiments more and was delighted when I heard that a sequel, titled Killer Thriller, will drop in February 2019.
Check out the cover art and plot details below!
In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg’s action-packed sequel to the Washington Post bestseller True Fiction, a hapless writer is pitted against an enemy nation mounting a treacherous plot lifted from one of his thrillers.
Everybody loves Ian Ludlow’s action novels—especially the CIA—because the spies know something the public doesn’t: his fictional plots have a frightening tendency to come true. Ian is in Hong Kong with his resourceful assistant Margo French to research his wildest story yet—a deadly global conspiracy by Chinese intelligence to topple the United States.
What Ian doesn’t know is that his horrifying scenario is happening and that the Chinese mistakenly believe he’s an undercover superspy assigned to foil their scheme. Now Ian is trapped in his own terrifying thriller, on the run from assassins, and racing against time to prevent an epic disaster. He’s written himself into a corner that could cost his life…and his country.
Killer Thriller comes out on February 12, 2019, and is currently available for pre-order here.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.