counter create hit The Coldest Warrior - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Coldest Warrior

Availability: Ready to download

In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s dea In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn’t get out. Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous as he finds a continuing cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk. Following in the footsteps of spy fiction greats such as Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale—based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix’s Wormwood—that doesn’t shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.


Compare
Ads Banner

In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s dea In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn’t get out. Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous as he finds a continuing cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk. Following in the footsteps of spy fiction greats such as Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale—based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix’s Wormwood—that doesn’t shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.

30 review for The Coldest Warrior

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Paul Vidich's historical cold war espionage drama is a compulsive and tense thriller that is based on a true story to which he has personal family connections. In the midst of the height of the paranoia of the cold war in 1953, Dr Charles Wilson either falls or jumps off the ninth floor to his death at the Harrington Hotel in Washington, leaving behind a grieving wife and family. The truth is buried until 22 years later, the Rockefeller Commission are reporting on and holding hearings on illegal Paul Vidich's historical cold war espionage drama is a compulsive and tense thriller that is based on a true story to which he has personal family connections. In the midst of the height of the paranoia of the cold war in 1953, Dr Charles Wilson either falls or jumps off the ninth floor to his death at the Harrington Hotel in Washington, leaving behind a grieving wife and family. The truth is buried until 22 years later, the Rockefeller Commission are reporting on and holding hearings on illegal CIA activities, under pressure from the Wilson family who want to know the truth and a Agency that is being excoriated by the media. CIA agent Jack Gabriel is on the cusp of retiring, a friend of the Wilson family, when he is asked to find out what happened back then by the current CIA director. As Jack begins to investigate, he has no idea just how much danger he and his family will face. It doesn't take long for it to become obvious that there was CIA involvement in Wilson's death, but identifying the culprits and securing evidence seems beyond the realms of possibility with the lack of records. Additionally, there are ruthless and powerful individuals and agents within the CIA, FBI and the White House that have no intention or interest in allowing the truth to emerge. Further obstacles come with the all too convenient deaths of those associated with Wilson's demise. Apparent help comes in the form of a person who has no wish to be identified. The disinterment and examination of Wilson's body all but confirms that he was definitely murdered, contradicting the official reports of his death back in 1953. Indeed, evidence suggests that Wilson's death follows the advice laid out in a CIA Assassination Manual of the time. Gabriel finds himself frustrated by blocks coming from every direction as he searches for the coldest warrior in a thrilling narrative that culminates in a finale on a dark night with Hurricane Eloise raging. Vidich makes good use of the actual real life death of Frank Olsen, a bio-warfare scientist, falling or jumping from the thirteenth floor of the Statler Hotel in New York City in 1953. He weaves a riveting espionage tale of a CIA willing to do what ever was thought necessary to keep American secrets in an intensely fought cold war, including the killing of their own citizens. This is a brilliant, fast paced and entertaining read, made all the more engaging given it is based on true life espionage history. Highly recommended. Many thanks to No Exit Press and Oldcastle Books for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Truman32

    Who exactly is the Coldest Warrior in Paul Vidich’s historical spy thriller? Is it CIA agent Jack Gabriel who is tasked with investigating the death of his colleague and friend, bio-weapons scientist Charles Wilson? An investigation that may reveal that his own agency killed one of their own?!! Is it the agents who may have crossed the line into murder and now decades later need to cover their tracks or risk Congressional exposure? Or perhaps the Coldest Warrior is career army napper Beetle Bail Who exactly is the Coldest Warrior in Paul Vidich’s historical spy thriller? Is it CIA agent Jack Gabriel who is tasked with investigating the death of his colleague and friend, bio-weapons scientist Charles Wilson? An investigation that may reveal that his own agency killed one of their own?!! Is it the agents who may have crossed the line into murder and now decades later need to cover their tracks or risk Congressional exposure? Or perhaps the Coldest Warrior is career army napper Beetle Baily who ducked into one of mess sergeant Cookie’s refrigerators to catch a few winks away from angry Sgt. Snorkel and his strangely anthropomorphic pet, Otto, and now finds himself trapped in a frigid and confined space? Like a date with General Halftrack’s beautiful blonde secretary Miss Buxley, The Coldest Warrior contains multitudes of secrets and hidden pleasures that the reader must discover on their own. In fact, the less said about this book the better the experience will be for the reader. Not wanting to ruin anything, I can only share with you that the book is rectangular, red, and told using the English language. If this appeals to you, than my friends you are in for a treat! Full of moral complexity, the writing in The Coldest Warrior is as sharp as the ironed creases in Private “Killer” Diller’s uniform before he heads out on a weekend leave. The twists and turns the story takes will have the reader as befuddled as poor bucktoothed Private Zero, that naïve farm boy who misunderstands everything. Just by looking at the back jacket author photograph, you can see that Vidich has the unhinged quality in his expression one normally only finds in truly talented writers or serial killers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gram

    A fascinating blend of historical fact and fiction which documents the cover up of the death of a US Army scientist working for the CIA. In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson was alleged to have committed suicide, jumping or falling from the window of a Washington D.C. hotel, but the exact details of his death are unknown. Fast forward to 1975 and the Rockefeller Commission report on on illegal CIA activities reveals that, prior to his death, Wilson had - unknown to him - been given a dose of LSD. Wilson h A fascinating blend of historical fact and fiction which documents the cover up of the death of a US Army scientist working for the CIA. In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson was alleged to have committed suicide, jumping or falling from the window of a Washington D.C. hotel, but the exact details of his death are unknown. Fast forward to 1975 and the Rockefeller Commission report on on illegal CIA activities reveals that, prior to his death, Wilson had - unknown to him - been given a dose of LSD. Wilson had been involved in germ warfare experiments, one of which was actually carried out on civilians during the Korean War. He'd also taken part in interrogations of Soviet double agents and ex-Nazis working for the CIA in which torture and mind altering drugs were used. It seems that, just before his death, Wilson was having doubts about his work. As the Senate hearings continue, the Director of the CIA tasks one of his longest serving and respected agents, Jack Gabriel, with finding out what really happened. Gabriel knew the dead man and his family who - 22 years later - along with the US media, are demanding answers . After 25 years with the Agency, Gabriel had just tendered his resignation but reluctantly agrees to carry out the Director's wishes. Gradually, aided by a Deep Throat type source, he discovers what seems to be the truth, but there are men within the CIA who are desperate to ensure that truth stays buried. Slowly but surely, Gabriel begins to unravel the various threads of this mystery. Misplaced documents he uncovers in Government archives, include a CIA assassination manual from 1953, which instructs agents, "The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface." The story's action picks up speed as people involved in the case die in suspicious circumstances and suddenly, he and his family are in danger. Gabriel knows he must risk everything to keep his wife and teenage daughter safe. This is a fictional story based on real life events. In 1953, Frank Olson, an American biological warfare scientist and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, was secretly dosed with LSD by his CIA supervisor as part of Project MK-Ultra and later plunged to his death from the window of a New York City hotel room. Official reports said Olson had been depressed and committed suicide, but subsequent investigations indicated the cover-up of an alleged murder. In a forward to this book, the author reveals that Frank Olson was his uncle. In this fictional tale, Jack Gabriel realises he's not certain who he can trust. Even if he does find out the real cause of Wilson's death, will he end up another victim of a conspiracy which reaches all the way to the White House? The CIA's unofficial motto: "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." but judging by this story, it should be "The end justifies the means." The view of the CIA's Cold Warriors is that morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes and some deaths are merely collateral damage. The Coldest Warrior deals with the grey areas of America's intelligence wars and how far some will go to cover up crimes from the past. It's an absolutely gripping read by a writer whose spy fiction ranks alongside the best. Highly recommended. My thanks to the publishers Oldcastle Books and to NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Greville Waterman

    This is the third thriller I have read by this underrated author and it is an excellent cold war thriller partially based on true events. I won't provide any spoilers but simply say that Vidich is a master of time and place and he brilliantly evokes America in the 1950s as a cold case from that period is re-examined and a cover up exposed. The characters are well drawn and credible and the plot engrossing. Vidich is a gifted writer and his talent shines through. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rowena Hoseason

    ‘The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface.’ That’s how a CIA manual from the early 1950s instructed its agents in the ultimate sanction. And that’s what happened in 1953 to a scientist who may have been involved in MK-ULTRA, the American bio-warfare project which attempted mind control through psychoactive drugs. The Coldest Warrior picks up the thread of this story a quarter-century later in the mid-1970s. This skeleton is rattling so ‘The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface.’ That’s how a CIA manual from the early 1950s instructed its agents in the ultimate sanction. And that’s what happened in 1953 to a scientist who may have been involved in MK-ULTRA, the American bio-warfare project which attempted mind control through psychoactive drugs. The Coldest Warrior picks up the thread of this story a quarter-century later in the mid-1970s. This skeleton is rattling so loud that it threatens to come crashing out of the cupboard and ruin the careers of agency operatives – now at director level – and the politicians who quietly sponsor them. The subsequent cover up requires the involvement of a deniable black-ops unit, in conflict with an ‘honest spy’ whose sources and even his family are at risk as he gets nearer to the truth. This book sits slightly uncomfortably in that space between the real world – where an American government employee being shoved out of a hotel window by CIA agents is indeed shocking – and the fictional world of espionage adventure where such events are small beer indeed. This is a low-key investigation into the murky territory of inter-agency rivalry. A quiet menace pervades the narrative but it’s not a rip-roaring page-turning action-packed thriller by any means. I struggled to make a connection with any of the characters, or to believe that the protagonist was genuinely at risk. Nor were there any particularly shocking revelations; perhaps because we’ve become desensitised to the murderous behaviour of intelligence agencies towards their own citizens. So this was an intellectually engaging read, but not an intense or involving one. It’s well researched and easy enough to read, but offers few of the poetic moments of grit or gravitas which bring real emotional impact to the espionage genre. 7/10 There are more reviews of spy stories and crime-thrillers over http://www.murdermayhemandmore.net

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen Cole

    Espionage thrillers probably work best when they feel grounded in the truth and The Coldest Warrior is most definitely that; Paul Vidich has fictionalised and expanded upon a family tragedy and explains in the preface that his uncle, Frank Olsen died in 1953 when he "jumped or fell" to his death from his room on the thirteenth floor of the Statler Hotel in New York City. The prologue describes how CIA scientist. Dr Charles Wilson comes to be in a Washington hotel room, viewed via a two-way mirro Espionage thrillers probably work best when they feel grounded in the truth and The Coldest Warrior is most definitely that; Paul Vidich has fictionalised and expanded upon a family tragedy and explains in the preface that his uncle, Frank Olsen died in 1953 when he "jumped or fell" to his death from his room on the thirteenth floor of the Statler Hotel in New York City. The prologue describes how CIA scientist. Dr Charles Wilson comes to be in a Washington hotel room, viewed via a two-way mirror, with his fate already sealed. Like his real-life counterpart, his death is explained away as an unfortunate accident or the choice of a depressed man. His murder is inevitable but still chilling - this is a ruthless insider hit and though not described in graphic detail, it certainly sets the scene for what proves to be a tense and disturbing read. Twenty-two years later, the CIA is under scrutiny, with public support for the agency suffering after a number of distressing allegations and revelations. When Charles Wilson's name is mentioned during the Rockefeller Commission, the White House summons the director of Central Intelligence, nervous that more dark secrets are going to be aired. With an election looming, the Presidency will seek to distance itself from the scandals of the CIA and in an effort to protect the Agency, the director asks Jack Gabriel to look into Wilson's death. Gabriel is a seasoned agent who is ready to leave the CIA but persuaded to stay on in the short term; his friendship with Wilson and the debt he feels he owes the man and his family meaning he cannot refuse the director's request, despite knowing that his decision will affect his own family. The impact on family life that comes from working in intelligence is explored throughout the book, most notably through Gabriel's interactions with his wife, Claire and teenage daughter, Sara. His marriage has endured difficult periods and extended separations due to his job but this latest development threatens all that they have worked for. Gabriel and Claire have faced danger before, especially during his posting in Vietnam but now it is his strained relationship with Sara which becomes particularly painful; the usual strains of a father coming to terms with his daughter being on the cusp of adulthood and finding her own way in the world is further complicated by his role and the secrets he has kept from her. The ultimate consequence of working within intelligence is felt, of course, by the Wilson family who have lived under the shadow of Charles' death for decades. The novel asks the troubling questions as to whether knowing the truth as to what really happened in that hotel room would allow them to feel some sort of closure or would just serve to open up new wounds. Throughout The Coldest Warrior, the sense of time and place is vividly realised and the secretive world of intelligence work during the paranoid Cold War years becomes especially unsettling when the adversaries come from within the same organisation. The moral ambiguities of the actions of many of the characters - Gabriel included - is a stark reminder that atrocities are perpetrated by those who protect a nation's interests and secrets. Whether those acts are defensible will be determined by each person's own beliefs but I found this quote to be particularly powerful, 'Our current history is written with our official denials, and with each denial comes a truth, which defeats the truth. Of course, you'd never get anyone to admit that, but there it is. We've used language cleverly and systematically to make it hard for anyone to say there it is, there's the truth.' This tautly paced, intricately plotted novel is thoroughly engaging throughout but becomes utterly irresistible during the final chapters when the sinister sense of tension which steadily escalates during the course of the novel reaches its heart-stopping climax. The nail-biting drama that plays out in the final third of The Coldest Warrior is the icing on the cake of this first-rate thriller. Suspenseful, exciting and authentic, I loved it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    This was an absolutely brilliant work of espionage fiction. I was riveted by the story, right from the very beginning when we witness the events that set of a chain of events that reverberated through the decades. Dr. Charles Wilson is deemed to be 'a threat to national security' and so he must be stopped, silenced before he causes irreversible damage to security of the United Stated of America. Men who are trained to take and follow orders without question do so but then have to live with the co This was an absolutely brilliant work of espionage fiction. I was riveted by the story, right from the very beginning when we witness the events that set of a chain of events that reverberated through the decades. Dr. Charles Wilson is deemed to be 'a threat to national security' and so he must be stopped, silenced before he causes irreversible damage to security of the United Stated of America. Men who are trained to take and follow orders without question do so but then have to live with the consequences. They are professionals though so the threat is dealt with and any trace is cleverly cleared away. Dr. Wilson's death is considered a suicide. However, years later the files are reopened after the release of the Rockerfeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975. The current director wants answers, as do the family and so agent Jack Gabriel starts digging. There is someone who wants the facts of the case to remain hidden, in fact they'll stop at nothing to keep the truth from surfacing. Chillingly based on a true story, this is an absolutely brilliant thriller and one that I enjoyed very much. I can imagine this adapted for the screen. It has so much suspense and intrigue and I could not put it down. Thoroughly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey

    I have always been interested in this era of history - perhaps more from the USSR side but then I did do a MA in Russian History! However, what really intrigued me about this book was the fact that it was based on true life events and even more so when I found out that it was the authors Uncle that was thrown out of that hotel window. It must have taken great strength to be able to write this book and I applaud them. The book opens with the incident in question where a scientist is thrown out a I have always been interested in this era of history - perhaps more from the USSR side but then I did do a MA in Russian History! However, what really intrigued me about this book was the fact that it was based on true life events and even more so when I found out that it was the authors Uncle that was thrown out of that hotel window. It must have taken great strength to be able to write this book and I applaud them. The book opens with the incident in question where a scientist is thrown out a hotel window whilst residing in a CIA safe house / room. It then quickly moves to the Senate trial on the events which took place 20 years ago. What follows is an organisation looking to protect itself, a group of people scrambling to pass the buck with only one out of them really wanting to get to the truth. This is a fast paced novel which keep your attention right to the end! It’s very engaging and the knowledge that this can and did happen in the world makes the narrative all that more realistic. The characters are captivating, especially Gabriel and his daughter. This is definitely a book I would recommend without question.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Martz

    "The Coldest Warrior", the latest thriller from Paul Vidich, is fiction based on the true story of a CIA episode back in the 50's where one of their scientists who 'knew too much' was dosed up on LSD and 'later committed suicide' by jumping from a 9th floor window in a hotel. That was the original official story, which stayed official until an investigation a couple decades later opened a giant can of worms. Jack Gabriel, a friend of the dead scientist and on his way out of the CIA, is kept on t "The Coldest Warrior", the latest thriller from Paul Vidich, is fiction based on the true story of a CIA episode back in the 50's where one of their scientists who 'knew too much' was dosed up on LSD and 'later committed suicide' by jumping from a 9th floor window in a hotel. That was the original official story, which stayed official until an investigation a couple decades later opened a giant can of worms. Jack Gabriel, a friend of the dead scientist and on his way out of the CIA, is kept on to re-investigate the death, supported by the family of the deceased who never believed the original story. As with any story, real or fictional, involving the CIA, there are huge doses of treachery, backstabbing, and deceit (and worse) involved, and as Gabriel gets closer and closer to the truth the people who actually know the truth begin dropping like flies. Gabriel does his job well, but isn't necessarily rewarded for it. Paul Vidich's "The Coldest Warrior" starts a bit slowly but quickly picks up steam and finishes near the top of my 'Best of the Year' list. It's a fine piece of writing by one of my favorite practitioners in the spy thriller genre. Vidich deserves a much larger audience for his work and I highly recommend all of his novels.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alaknanda Agarwal

    Read full review here. We always see in movies that the CIA controls everything. They are the eyes and ears of the eyes and ears! So when I saw this book for review, I grabbed the chance to read and review it. It also seemed like a fiction based on a true story, on which a TV series had already been made. It was too good an opportunity to miss. The Coldest Warrior is the story of a highly respected scientist, Mr. Olson, who worked in the highest levels in the CIA. He died under mysterious circumst Read full review here. We always see in movies that the CIA controls everything. They are the eyes and ears of the eyes and ears! So when I saw this book for review, I grabbed the chance to read and review it. It also seemed like a fiction based on a true story, on which a TV series had already been made. It was too good an opportunity to miss. The Coldest Warrior is the story of a highly respected scientist, Mr. Olson, who worked in the highest levels in the CIA. He died under mysterious circumstances, and his family was torn apart by his death and the ensuing legal battle to gather the truth. This respected scientist was the author’s uncle. He saw his aunt and cousin go through the pain of having to lose their husband and father, and how the agency refused to give them the truth. This book is a fictional account, it is not what transpired in reality, but it is very intriguing, and also very believable. The story starts off with the death of the eminent scientist. The case had been closed, but is reopened for investigation now. Retired CIA officials are called in for questioning, and nobody knows the truth except the actual truth behind what happened. The current CIA director puts his man Gabriel on the job to find out the reality of Mr. Olson’s death. It helps that Gabriel also has a personal connect with the family. At huge personal risk and huge risk to his family, Gabriel keeps to his task doggedly, until he discovers the whole truth. Obviously, nothing is as it seems, as it was told to the family. I loved this book! It’s based on a true incident, it’s also a thriller. For a non-fiction and thriller junkies like me, it was the perfect read. The characters and settings were very realistic. Majority of the people involved belonged to the CIA, and they and they had layers upon layers of personality, which I expect CIA people to have. There was one point in the story that was poignant- when Gabriel went to the Olson’s house to discuss something with the son, and the mother hobbled in, it really reflected the extent to which this single incident and the search for truth had broken them. The book is fast-paced, not lagging at any point, and I finished it within a day. Highly recommend this book- especially to all thriller and non-fiction lovers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    miss.mesmerized mesmerized

    1953 – the Korean War has ended, but the Cold War emerges and the intelligence services’ nerves are frayed. When CIA officer Dr Charles Wilson dies under blurry circumstances, all information is closed down immediately. It will take twenty-two years until his death gets the attention it deserves. He “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel and his family is now demanding answers. Jack Gabriel, an old friend of Wilson’s, also an agent himself, starts digging and the deeper he g 1953 – the Korean War has ended, but the Cold War emerges and the intelligence services’ nerves are frayed. When CIA officer Dr Charles Wilson dies under blurry circumstances, all information is closed down immediately. It will take twenty-two years until his death gets the attention it deserves. He “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel and his family is now demanding answers. Jack Gabriel, an old friend of Wilson’s, also an agent himself, starts digging and the deeper he gets, the more coincidental deaths among key witnesses this cases produces. Somebody tries to hide something and Gabriel soon has to ask himself how much he is willing to risk for the truth. Paul Vidich narrates a fictional story based on the real events of the mysterious death of Frank Olson, CIA employee and biological warfare expert. The author has seen himself what the agency’s policy of secretiveness can do to a family: Olson was his uncle and he could witness the family’s grief at close range. “That was the story of the Agency then. We could do whatever we wanted because we were fighting the Soviet Union.” The CIA killed its own men if need be. What sounds like the plot of a superb spy novel today, was a reality back then. As Vidich recalls, raising the subject at family reunions was a taboo, even though somebody suffered a terrible injustice, everybody remained silent and thus approved of the methods. Reading about the disclosure of Wilson’s/ Olson’s murder makes you oscillate between fascination and abhorrence. A lot has been revealed about the dark sides of espionage and spying, nevertheless, I am still stunned each time I read about how ruthless the business can be and how little a human life counts. It is remarkable how Vidich manages to transport the story in an entertaining way even though he is that close to the case. A fast paced read that gives much more insight than you could ever wish for.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    On November 28, 1953, an American scientist named Frank Olson who had been working on biological weapons for the US Army “fell or jumped” to his death from the thirteenth floor of a New York City hotel. Paul Vidich, the author of two superb previous historical spy novels, imagines what might really have happened that day in The Coldest Warrior. The story unfolds twenty-two years later as both the US Senate and the CIA undertake investigations into the Agency’s notorious Project MK-Ultra on “huma On November 28, 1953, an American scientist named Frank Olson who had been working on biological weapons for the US Army “fell or jumped” to his death from the thirteenth floor of a New York City hotel. Paul Vidich, the author of two superb previous historical spy novels, imagines what might really have happened that day in The Coldest Warrior. The story unfolds twenty-two years later as both the US Senate and the CIA undertake investigations into the Agency’s notorious Project MK-Ultra on “human behavior modification,” which administered LSD to Olson and others without their knowledge or consent. The historical setting After an introductory chapter set in 1953 in the hotel where “Dr. Charles Wilson” (Frank Olson) dies, the scene shifts to 1975 at a hearing in the United States Senate exploring that death. During that period, all the chickens were coming home to roost for the CIA. Its many crimes — assassinating foreign leaders, overthrowing governments, corrupting labor and student groups, and Project MK-Ultra — were coming to light in an orgy of recriminations. William Colby directed the CIA, one of the last of the old Cold Warriors who had graduated from the OSS into the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency following World War II. Under Allen Dulles in the 1950s, the CIA was unhinged, engaging in often blatantly illegal operations not just around the world but within the US as well. And the long-time Director of Counterintelligence James Jesus Angleton (“James Coffin” in the novel), nearly sank the Agency in an orgy of paranoia about a “mole” in its ranks. Morale was the lowest it had ever been, and the American public had come to distrust anything the Agency touched. Gerald Ford was in the White House. And Ford, who had been roundly criticized for pardoning ex-President Nixon, was anything but eager for a new scandal to emerge on his watch. The 1976 election was on the horizon, and Ford’s prospects were by no means secure. A long-forgotten incident In The Coldest Warrior, Dr. Wilson’s death, presumed a suicide, might have been but a footnote to the Agency’s history. But “an inadvertent mention in the Rockefeller Commission Report on CIA misdeeds had stirred up the forgotten incident” and stimulated interest in Project MK-Ultra. Which quickly became one of the questions that most concerned the members of the Senate subcommittee probing the Agency’s misbehavior. An investigation into Project MK-Ultra fraught with great danger Jack Gabriel is an old CIA hand who had known Dr. Wilson and his family. As the Agency’s moves to cover up the circumstances of Wilson’s death become increasingly clear, he finds himself drawn into an investigation out of concern for the family as well as anger toward his colleagues — and the Agency’s Director supports him. “‘There is more to Wilson’s death,’ he tells Gabriel. ‘I need to know if the men responsible are still inside. If they are, they need to go.'” And that investigation will subject Gabriel, and his own wife and daughter, to great danger, as those who were responsible for Wilson’s death strike out in desperation over the threat to their careers and their reputation. The character who “made the poisoned cigar to kill Fidel Castro” One of the more compelling characters in The Coldest Warrior is “Dr. Herb Weisenthal,” the Director of the CIA’s Technical Services division. (In reality, the man was Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.) Vidich describes him as “the spy whose Technical Services staff had made the poisoned cigar intended to kill Fidel Castro” and who traveled to the Congo with poisoned toothpaste to assassinate Congolese President Patrice Lumumba. (Someone, possibly involving the CIA, actually managed to kill Lumumba another way.) With subject matter like this, it’s tough for a novelist to outdo reality. About the author The Frank Olson story is personal for Paul Vidich. As he writes in his acknowledgments, his aunt Alice was Frank’s widow, and she personally testified to the lies she was told by the US Government that he describes in The Coldest Warrior. (One of Olson’s sons, Eric Olson, built a website for the Frank Olson Project. You can access it and learn more at https://frankolsonproject.org/.) Yet Vidich’s personal connection to the facts behind this tale come as a surprise. There’s no hint in this top-flight espionage thriller that the author has an ax to grind.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Jones

    Thanks to No Exit Press and Random things tours for my ARC of ‘The Coldest Warrior’ by Paul Vidich. Based at the height of the Cold War, this story, which is in fact Based on the true events of a Frank Olson, personally known by the author and his family. A story about Dr Charles Wilson, a scientist who dies when he ‘jumped or fell’ from his 9th floor hotel room in Washington. When the Rockefeller commission is realised in 1975 it again brings to light this death and with a fresh investigation by Thanks to No Exit Press and Random things tours for my ARC of ‘The Coldest Warrior’ by Paul Vidich. Based at the height of the Cold War, this story, which is in fact Based on the true events of a Frank Olson, personally known by the author and his family. A story about Dr Charles Wilson, a scientist who dies when he ‘jumped or fell’ from his 9th floor hotel room in Washington. When the Rockefeller commission is realised in 1975 it again brings to light this death and with a fresh investigation by Jack Gabriel, an agent with links to Wilson and his family. An intriguing, serious and compelling story takes shape as the CIA, the FBI and top White House officials do all they can to cover up any involvement in this Darkly sinister espionage thriller ripe with murder, lies and government corruption and cover ups A deeply far reaching and intense novel. It’s gently paced high quality taut spy thriller and it’s also quite a timely reminder of the past and of also of alleged recent day events in politics. A historic thriller full of conspiracy and intrigue. This is an expertly written top notch addition to the spy genre. 4🔥🔥🔥🔥

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Rothwell

    Brilliant thriller based on a true story of the author's uncle.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patrick SG

    Based on a true story, this novel will appeal to those interested in the nuts and bolts of espionage at the highest level, I.e. inside the bureaucracy of the CIA. It will have particular appeal to those who can relate to the Cold War atmosphere of the 1950s and the later revelations of the post-a Watergate era where many secrets were revealed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vidich

    This novel holds a special place among literary spy novels for me, but then I am biased.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve Carter

    This is a CIA spy genre novel which steals its plot from the Frank Olson “fell or jumped” story. The reader coming to this because of interest in the Olson story might be better off just reading some other account of it. But if they want a heavy dosage of a hero's journey spy story along with pieces of Olson, then maybe read this. The Coldest Warrior doesn’t really work for me because I’m no longer interested in spy novels. And that is the book’s main function. The conclusion was quite dramatic This is a CIA spy genre novel which steals its plot from the Frank Olson “fell or jumped” story. The reader coming to this because of interest in the Olson story might be better off just reading some other account of it. But if they want a heavy dosage of a hero's journey spy story along with pieces of Olson, then maybe read this. The Coldest Warrior doesn’t really work for me because I’m no longer interested in spy novels. And that is the book’s main function. The conclusion was quite dramatic in a cinema spy story sort of way. Maybe someone filmmaker has already grabbed this one. It has a nice heroic male lead. Righteous story. This is a story people like to exploit or at least hope to profit from. It’s the same story as the Netflix Errol Morris documentary series Wormwood. Wormwood was frustrating because it took 6 hours to tell a story. The story ends up getting lost in the details and the reenactments. Six episodes!?! Errol Morris probably wanted to get the word out, but probably didn’t mind the hefty paycheck for a production on that level. Fell or jumped? Tossed. It’s not a spoiler of this novel. Murdered and tossed out the window. Then covered up for decades. But the story is about one spy guy trying to find out what other spies were involved with this. That’s the story, the mystery plot not to be revealed here. It doesn’t really matter that the Olson character was murdered because he was upset with the USA using biological and chemical weapons in Korea. Perhaps having this as a minor detail that is overshadowed by the main plot of the novel trivializes it as just part of the set for this play story. It might have even helped if it had spelled out exactly why using these things in Korea was so bad. LSD is sort of a missed opportunity. It is not explored at all. At least it is not to blame for anything. Maybe it makes one more empathetic for a time. Maybe that is part of what happened with Olson. He tripped and saw the error of the path he was following. Some people have that reaction to LSD, don’t thiey? Well, this is not the novel to discuss all that. At any rate the book was not my cup of cheap entertainment brewed from something once living into a rather standard manly adventure saga.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    A well-crafted conspiracy style political thriller, which has an additional poignancy because it is inspired by a true tragedy that happened in 1953, to a family member of the author. The story begins with the tragic event, seen from the tragedy instigator's point of view. Its execution is the substance of many spy stories, but this one resonates because of the real-life personal connection. A subsequent investigation in the mid-seventies provokes an internal investigation by the CIA, headed by A well-crafted conspiracy style political thriller, which has an additional poignancy because it is inspired by a true tragedy that happened in 1953, to a family member of the author. The story begins with the tragic event, seen from the tragedy instigator's point of view. Its execution is the substance of many spy stories, but this one resonates because of the real-life personal connection. A subsequent investigation in the mid-seventies provokes an internal investigation by the CIA, headed by an operative close to retirement, who is friendly with the victim's family. The investigation throws up more questions than answers in the beginning, as those involved push-back. A turning-point is an unnamed source, who has the requisite information but won't be identified. There is a building intensity and menace, as the investigation progresses, implied rather than overt, but there. As the story gains momentum, the threat is implicit and Gabriel, the investigator realises his family is in danger because of his actions. The ending reinforces everything that has come before. This thriller is written in a detailed, character-driven style that works well with conspiracy thrillers. The pacing is geared more to the absorption of events, rather than action. It is atmospheric and intense and portrays the paranoia in the intelligence world of 1950s USA believably. It is immersive and disturbing reading, I received a copy of this book from No Exit Press- Oldcastle Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Becky Motew

    3.8 stars Quite a decent read if rather grim and clunky in places. CIA agent Jack Gabriel is charged by the Director to get to the bottom of a death back in the 1950s, a time when anthrax, various poisons, and bacterial weapons were being explored and experimented with by the US Army. It is now 1975 and America has developed a conscience and is against all of those things. The rules have changed. The old cold warriors of former times are trapped if they are found out. And of course they don't want 3.8 stars Quite a decent read if rather grim and clunky in places. CIA agent Jack Gabriel is charged by the Director to get to the bottom of a death back in the 1950s, a time when anthrax, various poisons, and bacterial weapons were being explored and experimented with by the US Army. It is now 1975 and America has developed a conscience and is against all of those things. The rules have changed. The old cold warriors of former times are trapped if they are found out. And of course they don't want to be. And of course they have all the resources of the agency to help them hide and destroy old records. Jack becomes a very bad thorn in their side and measures are taken. He knows he will be killed if he continues the hunt. Rather LeCarre-esque in its angsty introspection about spies doing bad things and what good does it all do anyway. "Secrets are restless. Secrets come out." How true. I also learned that during a search, burglars and agents always start with the bottom drawer of a bureau and work their way up. Good to know, I guess.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Johnstone

    A CIA story based on a true story of cover up. When ever the CIA is mentioned you always picture the worst. Spying missions and assassinations immediately spring to mind with a liberal dose of foreign despots. The despots are not in this story however something equally despicable is, the US Government is conducting drug experiments on their own, but who? Jack Gabriel is suspicious and starts to investigate and build a case. I guess as this is based on true events the author has given himself a v A CIA story based on a true story of cover up. When ever the CIA is mentioned you always picture the worst. Spying missions and assassinations immediately spring to mind with a liberal dose of foreign despots. The despots are not in this story however something equally despicable is, the US Government is conducting drug experiments on their own, but who? Jack Gabriel is suspicious and starts to investigate and build a case. I guess as this is based on true events the author has given himself a very narrow window to work in and as a consequence it has made not as exciting as you would expect. I found it dragged a little whilst the back story was told,which made it more predictable. It was not billed as thriller so I was not disappointed on that score, but a little more action would have helped.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    I'm not sure why I'm out of step with the other reviewers but I found the writing lacking--I kept putting it down and had to force myself to pick it up and finish. The true story could be told as an in-depth journalistic article which would be effective and more fascinating than this garbled tale advancing extraneous murderous plots that create an overblown tragedy which would be more powerful standing on its own. Example of poor writing: "He saw jeopardy in everything he had worked for. No word I'm not sure why I'm out of step with the other reviewers but I found the writing lacking--I kept putting it down and had to force myself to pick it up and finish. The true story could be told as an in-depth journalistic article which would be effective and more fascinating than this garbled tale advancing extraneous murderous plots that create an overblown tragedy which would be more powerful standing on its own. Example of poor writing: "He saw jeopardy in everything he had worked for. No words fully expressed his contempt for human frailty. Terror's drumbeat filled his head, and old resentments came alive with fury."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Solid spy procedural with an interesting real-life historical grounding, if a bit flat in terms of narrative arc. A reminiscent detour into the times when violence was masked by civility and dressed in suits (and ha, only men).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Larry Barnes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Vidich is no lecarre. Climax is based on a plot point that isn't possible because of a plot point made earlier. Hardware invented in 1980 is used in a story based on 1975. Then he describes the hardware incorrectly. Modern concepts are transferred to 1975 without regard for the period.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    CIA + LSD = 1953 Dastardly DC deeds discovered twenty years too late. 'Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.'

  25. 5 out of 5

    juno

    currently reading

  26. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    It's cold in more than one way.

  27. 5 out of 5

    June

    maybe 4.25

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danilo DiPietro

    Good concept but dramatic tension waxed and waned.

  29. 4 out of 5

    ralph gillies

    I find Vidich a seriously great story teller. I'm into the story from the first paragraph and stay immersed till it ends, but wish it didn't. Those are my reasons for the 5th star. I anxiously await his next novel. I'll gladly share these sentiments with fellow readers. There is nothing to dislike and equally enjoyed his 2 previous novels. If you love reading, you will be trapped by Vidich's prose and honest approach to a great story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Well written. A bit slow moving except for the last few chapters. Captured a little bit of Smileys cold war melancholy. recommend it

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.