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Waterford was a liberal arts university affiliated with the Society of Jesus in the Roman Catholic Church. The school offered both day and evening programs, conferring Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees in several majors and providing continuing education courses in half a dozen career fields. This seminar (which Matt Dawson was attending) was one of the continuing education courses.
Matt listened politely as four of his classmates described two murder cases, an industrial espionage case and a domestic surveillance case. Then it was his turn. Self-consciously, he ran a hand over his strong chin. "When I first started in this business, I was hired by a lawyer to find the sister of a deceased client," he began. "I had no idea that within a few days I'd be up to my ears in the world of Richard Nixon, Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, and the House Un-American Activities Committee."
… (H)e described his search for a missing woman named Anna Lieber, whose brother had died leaving her a sum of money. (Matt) related that at the time of the brother's death, he had not heard from his sister in thirty-nine years, and no one knew where she was.
In the investigative business, missing persons (MP) cases are not at all unusual. What made this one unique, however, was the fact that Anna Lieber's husband, Maxim, had been a spy for the Communist Party. The Liebers had disappeared in 1951. During his investigation, Matt learned that Lieber and his family had defected. He tracked them to Mexico, Poland, and back to the United States before finally locating them.
… After Matt's two remaining classmates had described their most interesting cases, (Jeff) Singleton explained that the FBI lab had come into existence to satisfy a need created by numerous technological changes. "For example," he said, "at the lab facility we have both technicians and agents. They combine street-smart ways with cutting edge technology such as computerized videos, lasers, and DNA analysis. Computerized digital processing, or vidio enhancement, helps remove blurriness and heightens the contrast on videotape from bank surveillance cameras. Another computer process called microtopography enables us to create a three-dimensional digital map of the surface of a bullet. Laser beams can bring up the detail of fingerprints that are decades old. And lasers can restore altered prints for identification. DNA, the human genetic blueprint, can link body fluids to a specific person." … Half an hour later he had finished. It was nine o'clock. "That's it for the first class," he said. "See you next week."
Matt stepped to the coat rack and retrieved his coat. He noticed the instructor at his side. "I'd like to hear more about that Lieber case, Mr. Dawson," Singleton said. "I'm staying at the Sheraton in Towson overnight. Can you meet me at the bar there in twenty minutes for a drink? I'm buying."
That wasn't in Matt's plan for the evening. He wanted nothing more than his warm apartment and the bed that awaited him there. But this was the Deputy Director of the FBI, his instructor, and possibly an important future contact. He shrugged and decided to postpone his much-needed sleep for an hour or two.
"There's not much more to tell," he said. "But that hotel's on my way home. A drink sounds like a good idea."
Sacco did an excellent job compiling his facts into a very exciting novel. He combines all the elements of a true thriller — suspense, travel, sex, religious dogma, romance and adventure. All of it done in a style which keeps the reader absorbed and becomes one of those rare books one hates to put down once started.
The Epilogue is another great touch, enlarging on and explaining for the reader more about the events described.
For a first novel, Sacco really rang the bell.
Armin Jaeger, London, England
I liked this novel. It's a good read! The pace is fast, the transitions well-done, and the story exciting.
Sacco's descriptions of places are well-researched and interesting. I felt like I was right there with the characters on their travels. His character development is excellent. The Protagonist, Matt Dawson, is a complex person dealing with issues from his past while resolutely moving ahead with his mission; to find Johnny Chou and return him to the U.S. to testify before a Congressional Investigative Committee.
The minor characters are developed just enough to give weight and credibility to the major ones.
I heartily recommend this political thriller to anyone looking for a relaxing but informative novel, and I look forward to Sacco's next book, if there is to be one.
George Snyder, Towson, MD. A former State Police Investigator
Will the world of the 21st Century revel in peace and hope, or will it be . . . a quagmire of despair as world leaders are driven by the complexities of a fragile human nature?
Tony Sacco aptly raises this question in The China Connection and challenges Americans to a greater awareness of the political (and moral) views of candidates. He urges us to elect to public office only men and women with integrity, who set high standards for themselves and their constituents.
Pam Petrell, Baltimore, MD; A former school teacher
Sacco has pulled together an amazing assortment of facts showing how China learned many of our secrets in the world of missiles … His thrilling tale … tells the story of how the Clinton Administration relaxed [the rules against] technology transfers to the Chinese during his tenure.
Sacco has a real thriller in much the same style of Tom Clancy, which gives pertinent facts of a complicated and clandestine network of Chinese spies and the money they siphoned into the political arena. A book you'll always remember!
Henry C. Evans, Melbourne, Fl; A telecommunications engineer
Writer Anthony Sacco has effectively combined fictionalized events with chillingly parallel developments in U. S.—Chinese relations during the 1990s with a cast of fascinating but believable characters, to produce a first-rate novel of technological espionage and suspense.
Bent on acquiring U. S. satellite technology, the Chinese military utilizes every means at its disposal, included planted agents and political intrigue aimed directly at the highest office in the United States.
When Chinese–American Johnny Chou disappears after indictmen on campaign finance violations following a series of high-stakes political deals, private investigator Matt Dawson is hired by the FBI as a low-profile operative whose task is to locate Chou before Chinese agents can kill him to prevent disclosure of everything he knows.
Author Sacco takes the reader on a fascinating journey from the highest levels of the growing Chinese satellite program to the Oval Office, and in between to locations ranging from rural China to suburban Maryland.
Set against the backdrop of Chinese-American espionage, are an array of compelling individuals from main character Matt Dawson to U. S. President Warren Jenkins Carswell and Chan Chu-hua, a Chinese agent operating in the U. S., who ultimately discovers Christianity as she seeks to unravel the tangled web of her life.
Readers will enjoy the unmistakeable parallels with events in the Clinton White House concerning Chinese technological espionage.
Paul B. Cora, Author; Yellowjackets! The 361st Fighter Group in WWII
Sacco has skillfully combined the political situation of the nineties, dealing with China, national security and the like, with an awesome sub-plot of a true American hero who is true to life and moral, too. This author has proven that a man in these times can be herioc and real, and make moral choices given tough situations. The book is worth reading just for this.
Matt, recently divorced, feels compelled to express himself sexually with his new girlfriend, like any man would, but he chooses to respect her and himself, and abstain.
Matt uses a gun to protect himself and others, but feels a sense of loss when he kills someone, as he is very pro-life. He does not just travel the world shooting everyone just because he can. Matt Dawson is no "choir boy," he is not perfect, just a man who takes the high road when he can, and looks to God for guidance when he feels he can't.
Matt Dawson is a new American hero who would be great for our kids to look up to. I think it (the book) should be a movie or even a new (TV) drama series! Ladies, you are gonna love Matt Dawson!!! This is a MUST READ!! Anyone who liked 'Magnum, PI' will love Matt Dawson! Enjoy!
Diane Dupre, Greencastle, PA