Thursday, September 6, 2012

Talanov! Read James Houston Turner!

Department Thirteen

By James Houston Turner

Department Thirteen, the USA Book News "Best Thriller of 2011" and book #1 in the Talanov thriller series, wins a gold medal the 2012 Independent Publisher ("IPPY") Book Awards (thriller/suspense), AND a gold medal in the 2012 Indie Book Awards (action/adventure), with author JAMES HOUSTON TURNER flying to New York to attend the award ceremonies. 

Wow! Talanov is "something else!" For the men, he's a role model, maybe even of what you should not become... For women, he is so cool that we want to "break through" the hard shell that he seems to have surrounding him--we know, or hope, that there's something more deep inside...

But his wife, Andrea, had given up on really having true intimacy with him. Still she loved him and stayed...

Talanov realized that he didn't know how to love his wife. In fact, he didn't know how to love anybody--he had been "taught" not to! Aleksandr Talanov was now retired as a KGB colonel, living in Australia. He had been a greatly respected member who held the trust of many. But there were also those who had hated him...

The Cold War had ended and the United States had won. Most of the power of the former Soviet Union was gone, but a former hidden group was still operating and they had a reason for wanting Talanov dead...

And a team of assassins had been sent to do just that...

The Talanovs were hosting a large party at their home. Andrea had a fine reputation through her catering business and it was usual to host events there. At this one, there were many former KGB members as well as local friends. It was toward the end of the event and Alex and Andrea had escaped outside to walk along the shore.

It was at that time that the assassins struck, killing everybody that remained in their house...

Of course, Talanov knew that they had come for him... Andrea was shocked, but followed him as Alex entered a small hidden room that she had never known existed, continuing to ask questions, while he, using equipment there, listened in on a call to the police from an unidentified informant that claimed that Talanov had just killed all of the guests at his home!

There was no choice--Talanov went on the run, knowing that he had to find out who was behind this...

"Andropov glanced up at Talanov. "General
Timoshkin does not appreciate your precautions,
Aleksandr. Would you care to tell him why?"
"Talanov looked directly at Timoshkin. "Because
General, you have allowed your office to be
"Electronic intercepts have been discovered
on your telephones, thanks to a fondness your
Senior Lieutenant Gagarin has for a woman
with a drug addiction cultivated
by Western agents..."
"To those in this room," the blond stranger
began..."Perestroika refers to a deeper, more
comprehensive restructuring than has been
even to the President.
"Our vision is not merely one of reform, but
of acquisition and control on a global scale...

Through the Prologue, readers learn that Talanov had arranged an important meeting in 1983 for Yuri Andropov. One man entered late that was not known by Alex. He wondered if he was Department Thirteen, a small group of agents who were so deep that few knew who they were. Talanov wondered who was going to be assassinated. Then later watched it happen! But the stranger had more to do, and it was then that Talanov was excused from participating in that meeting... He never learned what had happened or had been planned...

Now, Talanov found himself backtracking through years, trying to catch up with what had happened at that meeting so long ago. But, first, he had to find some place safe for he and Andrea!

Because he had just learned that General Timoshkin had been assassinated and with his dying breath, he had called Talanov and managed to say, "Second from--."

Turner takes his readers directly into the Cold War, but seeing it from the side of those most intimately involved, the KGB. He does this not just from research, but as a smuggler behind the Iron Curtain! Inspired by the actual KGB informant who leaked word out of Moscow that James was on a KGB watchlist, former KGB informant Aleksandr Talanov has become James Houston Turner's signature protagonist in the Talanov Thriller Series.

You know, I get excited just reading the background of how James got started writing. Check out his web site to read his "too ugly" story...

That type of story, though heartwarming, does not necessarily guarantee that somebody can write... But, Turner's words actually bristled with excitement for me. Not only is he an excellent writer, but he is a gifted thriller writer who produces an action-packed novel that readers can grab with their teeth and hold on for the ride he gives! I love when I can't stop reading because of the suspenseful tension, but also learn more about historical events! James Houston Turner has the background to give us both in a literary manner that leaves you breathlessly wanting more...

And, it's already available! Watch for my review of Greco's Game!


A Native of Kansas, James turned to writing fiction as a result of his years as a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. He has been on a KGB watchlist, organized secret midnight meetings with informants, located hidden mountain bunkers, and investigated legends of forgotten tunnels beneath the cobblestones and bricks of some of Central Europe's most venerated cathedrals.

A former journalist in Los Angeles, he holds a Bachelor's Degree from Baker University and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. He and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Adelaide, South Australia.

You may visit him at
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