Winter reading is often considered an escape, but for Davidson resident and former intelligence officer J.A. Walsh, nothing about his new novel Purpose of Evasion is escapist.
“This book is about threats many Americans are not aware of,” Walsh says. “It’s fast-paced and full of action, but from the tradecraft, to the plotlines drawn from real cases, I wanted this to be the most realistic spy novel out there.”
Walsh served in intelligence and counter-terrorism from 2001 – 2006 before embarking on a career advising the US military on energy security strategies. He graduated from the top of his Russian language class at the military’s elite Defense Language Institute and was trained as an interrogator.
Walsh’s first nod toward his real experience in intelligence is Sami Lakhani, the novel’s hero, a Muslim-American intelligence officer.
“Sami does not represent any one officer that I served with, but he is a composite of many intelligence professionals I served with: first or second-generation Americans with diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Sami represents the multi-cultural, polyglot community of professionals who do America’s intelligence work.”
In the book, Sami is assigned to stop a terrorist attack with ties to the Virginia mosque where he grew up. He soon discovers troubling evidence that the plot is tied to a White Nationalist group that has connections to the White House.
Walsh says that rising nationalism, particularly when championed by militant groups like Aryan Nations, is “America’s greatest domestic threat.” “The national security and civil rights communities were very focused on these groups in the late 1990s, but it is impossible to understate the impact of 9/11 on national security policy. For intel agencies, everything changed that day. But, as headlines are showing every day, these groups did not go away.”
You can read the book online or purchase a physical copy here.