The Spy’s Little Zonbi, by Cole Alpaugh
The Spy’s Little Zonbi (272 pages) is a work of espionage fiction by Cole Alpaugh about an idealistic secret agent who tries to protect his daughter from the evil his work has wrought.
Click here to read the article in the Wayne Independent Newspaper online.
The Spy’s Little Zonbi is Alpaugh’s third novel. His second novel, The Turtle-Girl from East Pukapuka, was a finalist in both the 2013 Next Generation Indie Awards and the 2013 Foreword Book of the Year Awards. Alpaugh’s first book, The Bear in a Muddy Tutu, set in a ragtag traveling circus, garnered eleven five-star reviews on WorldCat.
“Forget James Bond. I’d much rather spend my time with Chase Allen, the idealistic journalist-turned-government spook at the center of Cole Alpaugh’s outlandishly entertaining new novel.”
—Josh McAuliffe, The Scranton Times-Tribune
“Imaginative. Funny. 3D Characters that come to life on the page and leave you wanting more.”
—Michelle Hessling, Publisher, The Wayne Independent
“Part The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and part The World According to Garp, Alpaugh’s latest offering is an exhilarating read that I highly recommend.”
—Ann Schmidt, MLS, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
During a college sponsored aid program in Haiti, Chase Allen witnesses the slaughter of homeless boys. Unable to shake the haunting images with booze and bong hits, he decides to make something of his life by taking an unpaid newspaper internship. There he is recruited for a branch of the CIA whose agents pose as journalists in international hotspots.
Chase begins his espionage career in Nicaragua, where his job is to position the country’s president in the gun sights of a distant sharpshooter during a press dinner. In Panama, he hunts for a deposed rogue dictator last seen in high heels and a bad wig. Success lands him a mission in Northwest Thailand, where he helps a young American Peace Corps volunteer caught up in a jihadist scheme to use bomb-laden bats.
Back home in New Jersey, while monitoring a hapless band of wannabe Iranian terrorists, Chase meets a dark, intriguing woman. Marriage and fatherhood change his priorities, and he begins to worry about putting himself and his family in danger. With great reluctance he agrees to follow a former Austrian ski racer plotting a deadly strike on the Winter Olympics.
It was Chase’s idealism that led him to spying, and that same quality will be his undoing. Faced with deceit beyond his wildest imaginings, he clings to the one person in his life who is good and true, his daughter, his Little Zonbi.
Says Alpaugh, “There’s a period of reflection following news assignments. It happens after the final bullets are fired, or when your plane lifts into the sky on the way home. The receding adrenaline leaves a numbness, an emptiness. You’ve barged into the lives of strangers during traumatic times and then just left them behind. I was almost always in a better position than the people I covered, even though I never made much money in exchange for talking my way into gun battles. That included the soldiers in Nicaragua, or El Salvador, or Haiti, or wherever. I had the ability to leave, while they were hunkered down in muddy holes protecting or maybe overthrowing a government. Then there was the collateral damage—the very old and the very young who were caught in the middle. This story first came to me after some boys at the orphanage where I was staying led me to an old woman with leprosy. They had been throwing rocks at her, insisting that she “liked it.” I knelt beside the woman and touched her hand. Nothing I could say would make the boys stop throwing rocks. Nothing I could do would cure her illness. So I took a photograph. This story was my way of filling the emptiness after leaving so much pain behind.”
Cole Alpaugh is a former journalist, having worked at daily newspapers along the East Coast, as well as spending several years as a war correspondent in numerous hot-spots around the world for Manhattan-based news agencies. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines, as well as most newspapers in America. Cole is currently a freelance photographer and writer living in Northeast Pennsylvania, where he also coaches his daughter’s soccer kick-arounds. Click here to find him online.
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