Vigilantes with Steven W. Kohlhagen

America is experiencing a dramatic increase in terrorist attacks—by jihadists, white supremacists, and Mexican cartels. In the face of these failures by the U.S. Government, intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracies, a group of ad hoc vigilantes has exploded onto the scene. And, surprisingly, this shadowy and deadly vigilante group appears to be led by at least one of the U.S. Government's most senior and trusted Counterterrorism insiders. Is it the FBI's Counterterrorism head? The Army's Senior Special Ops' head? The CIA's? As the story careens full throttle in parallel between the thrilling action of the vigilantes' frequent murders of terrorists in the act and the attempts by investigators to discover the mystery of the rogues' identities, neither the reader, the President, nor the President's own investigators know the real identities of the vigilante leaders.

As they close in on the vigilantes, the murders—both terrorist and vigilante—ratchet up. The questions then become: what are the risks to America if the public gets wind of the vigilante murders? And what does the president intend to do with the senior Counterterrorism vigilante officials if, in fact, they are found alive?

My Review

This is the first book I have read from this author. It will not be my last one. Wow. This book is strong.

Even with all of the different agencies and many voices, it was easy to keep them all clear and separate from one another. There is nothing worse then having too many characters that after a while start to sound the same. Plus, everyone in the story had a purpose.

You know a book is going to be good when within the first couple of pages there is a body. It will not be the last one as the body count rises. My vote is for the vigilantes and I am not talking Batman. Good or bad, they were juror and judge. I like strong female characters like Samms. Oh and I have to mention that there is a character named "Cheese". Yes, please.

This book has so much action. You combine this with a great storyline and characters and you get a winning combination with an outcome called "The Point of a Gun."

How much research went into the history of vigilantism in the U.S. for this book? Can you share anything intriguing in your research of this topic?  
My research into this topic began when I ran across the famous (infamous?) vigilante action in 6-month old Laramie, Wyoming on October 28, 1868 at the Bucket of Blood Saloon during my research for my novel, Chief of Thieves. It became an important scene in the book. That was nearly three years ago. It, of course, years later, became the inspiration for Samms. I then spent months researching the history of vigilantism in America and was very surprised at its prevalence. And not only in the old West, but in modern times. I found it very intriguing how much there still is. The old West is a very important part of our foundation and heritage---for better or for worse. And now, of our culture and character---again, for better or for worse. Those of us of a certain age were, at least partly, formed by Paladin. The desire to do good, to help people. But, as Bernard Cornwell noted when he read the book, it takes us into the very grey area of "moral ambiguity."

This book has many different location settings, have you visited all of the locations?
Yes, even the nuclear site at Richland, Washington, where "Abdul" was headed. Well, yes in a sense, anyway. I've been to Ohio State University, but not to the actual site of Cheese's demolition. I've been south of Phoenix generally, but maybe not to the specific site of Cheese and May's attack. And I spent seven years in El Paso as a kid, hunting snakes and tarantulas, but the specific sites of the attacks in this book? Only in passing

You talk about your love for your characters. Are there any famous faces that come to mind for the main characters?
Ouch! What a great question! I never thought about this---they're just who I know them to be in my in my head. Forced to think about this, Samms has to be Susan Sarandon. Tom (both Tom's, actually!), a younger, fortyish Robert Duvall or Kevin Costner. Cheese? Not really. Any tough Marine, Navy SEAL type! May Kung? Well, as I say in the acknowledgements, I used the name of a former colleague for this character, so that's who I see her as. But she's not famous, and I can't emphasize enough that she's not an actual killer! Nancy would have to be a young Helen Mirren. Licht? Peter Falk! Has to be. Moose has to be Martin Sheen.

If you had to choice a side to join...FBI, Special Ops, CIA, and Vigilante; which side would you join and why?
Special Ops, undoubtedly. They are a force in the U.S. security community that gets little or no recognition. And I see them as less bureaucratic than the FBI and the CIA. I think in this war of terrorism we face of hidden enemies among us, JSOC, if given the opportunity could be a great force for good. I don't think I have the stomach to be a vigilante.

Why should readers check out this book?
It has two virtues: fast pace, and dealing with important, timely issues in our country. It is a thriller that raises the fictitious possibility of a really inappropriate, but possibly effective, solution to how to protect citizens in a free society. 

What are you currently working on?
Two books: 1) a sequel to The Point of a Gun; and 2) with Glenn Guzzo, Baseball's Greatest Minds: How They Changed the Game, and How They are Changing it Today. And, oh yes, Grandparenting!



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