Books by David Hagberg

DAVID HAGBERG is a former Air Force cryptographer who has traveled extensively in Europe, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and has spoken at CIA functions. He has published more than twenty novels of suspense, including the bestselling High Flight, Assassin,


RETRIBUTION by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 6, 2015

"A believable story told in a clear and concise style."
A former CIA director battles German mercenaries to protect members of SEAL Team Six. Read full book review >
BLOWOUT by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 27, 2012

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A blistering thriller from Dorgan, a former congressman and senator for North Dakota, and Hagberg, a former U.S. Air Force cryptographer. Read full book review >
ABYSS by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2011

"Given the BP oil spill and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, this is a timely and frightening novel. Readers will be left thinking, This could really happen."
Ex-CIA chief Kirk McGarvey fends off charlatans and terrorists in this exciting and largely plausible eco-thriller. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 1, 2008

"A little-known slice of Cold War history, as experienced by an insider and vividly retold by an old pro."
Nonfiction thriller about the Soviet naval mutiny that inspired The Hunt for Red October. Read full book review >
ALLAH’S SCORPION by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 23, 2007

"Pretty tired stuff. Maybe it's time for McGarvey to try out that new career."
It's McGarvey vs. al-Qaeda when thrillermeister Hagberg cranks out the old formula for the 33rd time (Soldier of God, 2005, etc.). Read full book review >
SOLDIER OF GOD by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"Flat and stale but, given the tested loyalty of the Hagberg fan base, probably a hit."
A tireless thrillermeister evokes jihad again in his relentlessly formulaic 32nd (By Dawn's Early Light, 2003, etc.). Read full book review >
BY DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Certainly up-do-date and action-driven, but one very much for the men, especially those hungry for Hagberg's tons of techno-fact."
Having spent perhaps a week novelizing at mach-speed the script of Schwarzenegger's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, former Air Force cryptographer Hagberg abandons his long-running Kirk McGarvey series (The Kill Zone, 2002, etc.) and rests momentarily for a fresh attack on international technothrills while hatching plots for McGarvey's new role as director of the CIA. This outing features Lieutenant Scott Hanson, younger brother of US President Gerald and an ex-Navy SEAL, who now works special ops for the CIA and is checking up on bombs being developed by Pakistan, a country set on becoming a major world power. The story kicks off when a US spy drone is shot down by a Pakistani laser beam and a Pakistani submarine sinks a civilian research ship out studying sharks in the filth-ridden Bay of Bengal. Survivors of the sunken ship have knowledge vital to the US. The McGuffin is an easily transported small nuke that—for starters—threatens India with wide carnage. Read full book review >
THE KILL ZONE by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"Le Carré manqué, true enough, but spymeister Hagberg can percolate an action scene with the best of them."
With Kirk McGarvey's return to action after a one-book hiatus, old pro Hagberg (Joshua's Hammer, 2000, etc.) shows that his hand's still firm on the thriller. Read full book review >
EDEN’S GATE by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2001

"Smooth sailing. Have no fear, Hagberg fans, that any page might be dull."
Typing at mach-speed, ex-Air Force cryptographer Hagberg has published over 60 suspensers under various pen names (Sean Flannery, etc.). Read full book review >
JOSHUA’S HAMMER by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Still, McGarvey seems to have lost some edge. He has fantasies of becoming a Voltaire scholar, and anxieties about looming grandfatherhood. Somebody should give the guy a rest."
The bad guys have this secret weapon of mass destruction and want to vaporize the good guys with it. So what else is new? In Hagberg's 13th Kirk McGarvey thriller, not much. Read full book review >
WHITE HOUSE by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 24, 1999

A touch of Japan-bashing, a smidgen of nuke-scarifying, and a max of superheated swashbuckling—all in this formulaic Hagberg technothriller (Assassin, 1997, etc.). The Japanese are up to something inscrutable. On the surface, it's just an innocent satellite launch, a joint effort with the US, but the CIA doesn't buy that for a minute. In the first place, the launch is connected somehow to a mysterious nuclear explosion set off by North Korea. More importantly, it's connected to a certain Joseph Lee, an international businessman of the distinctly sinister variety. This Lee, rich, ruthless, at home in the corridors of power—White House corridors among them—regards series hero Kirk McGarvey with a jaundiced eye. Smart, incredibly tough, and endlessly resourceful, McGarvey stands in Lee's way. Rid himself of McGarvey—whose strength is as the strength of Rambo—and nothing can thwart his complex geopolitical ambitions, he reasons. Thugs in Lee's employ toss a bomb into a restaurant where McGarvey, his lover, and his daughter are dining. Bad mistake. Though the lover perishes and the daughter is hurt, the target escapes. And is enraged. Vowing vengeance, McGarvey goes after his enemies as unswervingly as a killer bee. He tracks them down, takes them on, and though they pit armies and arsenals against him, foils their plans. The ill-intentioned launching never happens. The nefarious Lee is null and voided. America's best-ever master spy saves the world. "Even if he's twice as good as his file suggests," says a gun-toting terrorist at one point, clearly whistling in the dark, "he cannot defeat four to one odds." Famous last words. The good news is that it moves fast. Since it's all comic-book stuff, it doesn't drag, but it doesn't grab either. Read full book review >
ASSASSIN by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 24, 1997

The security services of several nations want to stop retired CIA hit man Kirk McGarvey before he can complete a lone-wolf mission to Moscow that could upset any number of geopolitical applecarts. Russia's economic woes and foreign policy setbacks are making the country's electorate restive enough to give the presidency to Yevgenni Tarankov, a charismatic Stalinist who campaigns throughout the motherland in an armored train. Gravely concerned that the ultranationalist could reverse the halting progress the troubled country has made toward creating an open, democratic society, Kremlin moderates recruit McGarvey to liquidate him. Now living in Paris with Jacqueline Belleau, an intelligence operative detailed to keep an eye on his movements, the hired gun reluctantly accepts the assignment. With valuable assistance from an expatriate computer whiz, he finds a way to slip in and out of Russia via the Baltic republics. Meanwhile, McGarvey's erstwhile masters learn what he's about and make a determined effort to stop him to preclude the disclosure that Tarankov earned a small fortune as a CIA informant during the 1970s. The CIA callously brings McGarvey's young daughter Liz into the game. A low-level translator at the agency, she jumps at the chance to do fieldwork and help locate her father. Liz soon tracks down Jacqueline (who has been outsmarted by her lover), and the two women head East. They remain several steps behind McGarvey (who's deduced that his target intends staging a May Day coup), and, on their way to Moscow, Liz is abducted by Tarankov's minions. In the nick, however, the quiet American foils the would-be usurper's plot and pulls Liz off the private railcar moments before government planes blast it to kingdom come. Another twisty thriller from the reliable Hagberg (High Flight, 1995, etc.)—and a welcome return for Cold War hardcase McGarvey, who's still a cunning devil when it comes to organizing solo operations across forbidden frontiers. Read full book review >
HIGH FLIGHT by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 2, 1995

Japan baiting and bashing become fine arts in this complex but effective and fast-paced technothriller from old pro Hagberg (Desert Fire, 1993, etc.) It's 1997, and Guerin Airplane Co. has called on retired CIA hard-case Kirk McGarvey to check the stop-at-nothing methods employed by a Japanese zaibatsu to take the corporation over. With a little help from tricks-of-the-trade friends in the Kremlin, McGarvey soon discovers that well-organized disciples of Yukio Mishima operating under the Rising Sun banner indeed have designs upon Guerin, albeit as part of a larger plot to give Dai Nihon renewed dominion in what was once called the Greater East Asia Co- Prosperity Sphere. Willing to go to any lengths, Rising Sun has devised a fiendish way to knock Guerin's workhorse jetliners out of the sky upon command. Meanwhile, stateside outlaws with ideological, as well as monetary, agendas stumble on the Rising Sun scheme and appropriate it. Stealing a march on the Japanese renegades (who boast considerable influence in Tokyo), the Americans bring down 14 commercial flights in a 12-hour span. The carnage induces the US to make a military move against Japan that (thanks to the belligerent actions of a rogue sub captain) is already involved in a shooting match with Russia. At the 11th hour, however, McGarvey saves the day, sorting the good guys from the bad, dispatching two archvillains, persuading the president to pull back from the brink, and making the world safe for Guerin to unveil its hypersonic transport with Mach 5 speed. Still, none of the sadder but wiser survivors believes that the US can avoid an armed conflict with the treacherous, dangerously assertive Japanese within 15 to 25 years. Geopolitical escapism of a very high if deeply disturbing order. Read full book review >
DESERT FIRE by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 1993

A lone German detective battles Iraqis and PLO mercenaries seeking to secure Saddam Hussein a powerful atomic reactor that would guarantee him bomb-grade plutonium—in an effectively moody chiller from old pro Hagberg (Critical Mass, etc.). Called in by the BND when a dishy engineer who'd been spying for Deutschland's CIA is brutally murdered and raped in her Bonn flat, Walther Roemer of the Federal Bureau of Criminal investigation finds himself caught up in a baffling, violent case with geopolitical implications. Unbeknownst to Tel Aviv or EC and NATO allies, the Germans have been committed since 1982 (under terms of an ultrasecret deal worth billions) to sell Baghdad advanced nuclear technology. In the wake of his Desert Storm defeat, Saddam deems delivery vital, and he dispatches trusted paladins to ensure the contract's fulfillment. Palestinian Josef Assad Sherif, Saddam's lead negotiator (and enforcer), is soon revealed as the sexual psychopath who killed the BND's undercover agent and, shortly thereafter, a TV newswoman who knew enough to expose the reactor sale. Every bit as alienated as any Dick Francis hero, Roemer stalks and quickly identifies his man. But diplomatic immunity, national-security (plus economic) considerations, and the guilty knowledge that his father (an ex-SS officer wanted for WW II offenses) is living in Switzerland prevent him from arresting Sherif. He also has to contend with Leila Kahled, Sherif's lovely but lethal daughter who's in country as an Iraqi security operative. Roemer eventually precipitates a slam-bang climax, cornering the terrorist chieftain and his hired guns in Germany's largest nuclear complex, which they threaten to detonate after killing the hostages in their custody. An absorbing if wintry tale—especially notable for its broody atmosphere and its driven, world-weary protagonist. Read full book review >
CRITICAL MASS by David Hagberg
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 1992

Vengeful Japanese cowboy/industrialist seeks to build A-bomb; vengeful American cowboy/agent seeks to thwart same—in this expert rouser from dependable Hagberg (Countdown, 1990; Crossfire, 1991). After losing his parents in Hiroshima and his wife and daughter in Nagasaki, Isawa Nakamura resurfaces decades later as a self-made computer kingpin with the clout to take out three inconvenient CIA men on a Swissair jetliner with a surface-to-air missile. Also aboard is Marta Fredericks, girlfriend of retired Company op Kirk McGarvey, who goes on a cold-killing rampage. Nakamura's goons kill American agents by the carload, kidnap McGarvey's estranged wife Kathleen and adoring daughter Elizabeth, and use them as bait in a killing trap—since they naturally know who's on their trail and how fearsome he is. There must be a hundred killers, armed with the latest high-tech weaponry, arrayed against McGarvey, but they haven't got a prayer. (As Elizabeth ``confidently'' tells a kidnaper: ``My father is going to tear you a new asshole, sweety.'') Nothing can stop McGarvey: certainly not the French and American spooks set on his trail (he thumbs his nose at them, then signs on under his own terms), or a CIA info blackout (a Twinkie-loving hacker lets him in the back door), or the trap set by chief henchmen Ernst Spranger and icy lesbian temptress Liese Egk (McGarvey shrugs off the Navy SEALS dispatched to the Greek islands to help him—they naturally blunder into the trap in his place—and takes out the last thug with his last bullet), or the resulting wounds, which are supposed to keep him bedridden—and the bomb assembly thereby on track—for six weeks (he's en route to Japan two days later for the equally predictable showdown). Japan-bashing at its most cartoon-heroic, written with an eye for the fast clichÇ. Not really good for you, or for international relations, but there's no point in fighting Hagberg's crudely effective force. Read full book review >
CROSSFIRE by David Hagberg
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 18, 1991

Russians, Iranians, Americans, Nazis, Israelis, and Argentines go for each others' throats in the search for real, fake, old, and new gold in at least two hemispheres. Hagberg (Countdown, Cross Fire) also writes as Sean Flannery (Counterstrike, Crossed Swords). The mystery guest enters the American Embassy in Paris and signs in as Kirk McGarvey. He conducts a bit of fake business about a lapsed passport and then wanders off on his own to plant enough plastic explosive to demolish the building and then slips outside to push the button. The real Kirk McGarvey, an out-of- favor CIA assassin, recognizes the professional signature of Arkady Kurshin, the Russian superagent that McGarvey himself had shot and thrown overboard in the middle of the Mediterranean. Could Kurshin have survived? And is he carrying out a personal vendetta? He could and he is. McGarvey, who hadn't been doing much of anything, suddenly has his hands full searching for Kurshin—whose Paris job is just the first in a series planned for all the major European capitals—and also searching with a very tense, very sexy brunette for a missing Nazi submarine, last seen off Argentina. The U-boat's captain was the brunette's father, and there was a very valuable cargo—possibly a load of ill-gotten gold the size of a shipment from the US to Iran that McGarvey must keep from disappearing into the Soviet Disunion. Sounds terribly confusing, but it's not. After 18 journeyman thrillers, Hagberg knows what he's doing. McGarvey wears very well indeed. Read full book review >