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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

I'm excited to welcome MATTHEW DUNN back to B&N's Mystery Forum! He was a featured author last year when his first book came out. We had a lot of fun visiting with Matthew and picking his brain about his books and about the spy business. Check it out:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Please-Welcome-Author-MATTHEW-DUNN/m-p/1138250/highli...

 

When I heard about Matthew's new release, SENTINEL, I invited him to write a guest blog for us. (I've read - and highly recommend - both of his books.) He will be checking in with us on Thursday to respond to questions and comments.

 

Please welcome MATTHEW DUNN!

 

Matthew Dunn

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becke_davis
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Biography

 

 

Matthew Dunn spent 5 years in the British Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, as a field operative. His role required him to recruit and run agents, coordinate and participate in special operations, and to operate in deep-cover roles throughout the world in order to collect secret intelligence to support the West’s ongoing fight against hostile and unpredictable regimes, state-sponsored terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. His missions required him to travel extensively and typically he operated in highly hostile environments where, if compromised and captured, he would have been executed.  
 

Matthew was trained in all aspects of intelligence collection and direct action including agent running and debriefing, deep-cover deployments, small-arms, explosives, military unarmed combat, surveillance, anti-surveillance, counter-surveillance, advanced driving, infiltration and exfiltration techniques, and covert communications. His skills were widely deployed by him in the field. Matthew typically worked alone but he also had significant experience of working with highly-specialized units of the British SAS and SBS as well as joint-operations with MI5, GCHQ, the CIA, and BND.
 

Matthew was security cleared to the very highest level in Britain.  Because of the nature of his work in MI6, Matthew is bound by a life-long pledge of secrecy regarding his methods of work, agents, missions and overall knowledge of the British Intelligence community and its allies.  He remains in close contact with MI6 and will never breach its trust in him.  

Medals are never awarded to modern MI6 officers, but Matthew was the recipient of a very rare personal commendation from the Secretary of State For Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs for work he did on one mission which was deemed so significant that it directly influenced the successful conclusion of a major international incident.

During his time in MI6, Matthew conducted approximately seventy missions. All of them were successful.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Matthew wrote an interesting blog for Fresh Fiction when his first book came out:

 

http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=3559

 

Fun Stuff about Matthew:

 

THE FICTIONAL CHARACTER I MOST ADMIRE IS...
Nemo's dad in Finding Nemo.
MY BEST HABIT IS...
staying alive.
MY WORST HABIT IS...
enjoyable...
MY FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES IS...
a pair of leather mountain boots.
MY FIRST CRUSH WAS...
pointless.
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Spycatcher  

 

Spycatcher

 

Overview

 

Matthew Dunn spent years as an MI6 field operative working on some of the West’s most clandestine missions. In Spycatcher he draws on this fascinating experience to breathe urgent, dynamic new life into the contemporary spy novel.

 

Will Cochrane, the CIA’s and MI6’s most prized asset and deadliest weapon, has known little outside this world. And he’s never been outplayed. So far . . .

 

Will’s controllers task him with finding and neutralizing one of today’s most wanted terrorist masterminds, a man believed to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. Will believes he has the perfect plan, but soon discovers, in a frantic chase from Europe to New York, that his adversary is much more treacherous than anyone he has ever faced—and survived—up to now.

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becke_davis
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The Sentinel  

 

The Sentinel: A Spycatcher Novel

 

Overview

 

The United States and Russia are on the brink of war and only Will Cochrane—the master spy introduced in the critically acclaimed Spycatcher—can find and unmask the diabolical double agent responsible for it all in this enthralling espionage thriller, written by a real-life former field officer.

 

Fourteen days ago, CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, received a cryptic message from an agent operating deep undercover in Russia: "He has betrayed us and wants to go to war."Unable to make contact, the director of operations is forced to turn to one of his most deadly field officers—Will Cochrane. His mission is simple: infiltrate the remote submarine base in eastern Russia's Avacha Bay, locate the MI6 agent operating under the code name Svelte, and decode his message—or die trying.

 

It's a near-impossible task-even for a man who carries the code name Spartan, a title given to the most effective and deadliest Western intelligence officers. Will successfully locates the base but finds Svelte near death, his last words a final clue: Only Sentinel can stop him.

 

Meanwhile, political and economic tensions between the United States and Russia are rising by the day, with both sides rounding up known enemy sleeper agents within their borders for interrogation. Now it's up to Will—with the help of the top-secret joint CIA-MI6 Spartan Section—to uncover the true meaning of Svelte's message . . . and discover the identity of the legendary operative known only as Sentinel.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Here's another video about SPYCATCHER - I couldn't find one for SENTINEL:

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

 

BEHIND THE BOOK: SENTINEL, MATTHEW DUNN

 

In my Spycatcher series, I want to show all of the different aspects of the work of Western Intelligence – ranging from the flash bang paramilitary direct actions required to combat terrorists and assassins, to the delicate art of collecting secrets from assets in smoky hotel rooms.

 

The premise in Sentinel is to imagine a situation where tensions between the United States and Russia have escalated to such an extent that time’s running out for the case officer sitting in that smoky hotel room.  The slow burn of intelligence collection is about to be replaced by all out conflict.  As seen in the First and Second World War and more recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere, MI6 needs to go on a war footing and must deploy its very best agents.  One of them is my recurring protagonist, Will Cochrane.  The other is a man twenty years his senior, a mysterious and powerful deep cover MI6 officer who carries the codename Sentinel.

 

Based in Eastern Europe and Russia, Sentinel has spent decades combating the Soviet Union and subsequently the Former Soviet Union states.  Together with the foreign agents he runs, Sentinel holds the key to preventing war.

 

I’ve known men and women like Sentinel.  Though their characters varied enormously, they shared common traits and circumstances – huge intellects, total dedication to their work, complex personalities, an isolated existence, a paternal bond to the foreign spies they ran, and bravery that was second to none.  Sometimes, they would deliberately mask their prowess and experiences. 

 

Shortly after joining MI6, I remember being in one of the organization’s training establishments.  I’d just finished a shooting exercise and was walking away from the range carrying a customized machinegun.  I was used to seeing strangers come and go from the establishment, some of them elderly – former Cold War warriors, Soviet defectors, and others who came here to tell us their stories – so was not particularly surprised to see an old man cross my path.  But it amused me when the man turned toward me, looked at my gun, threw up his hands in horror, and said in a near-effeminate voice, “Guns terrify me.  Please keep that thing away from me!”.  Over a beer later that evening, I laughed as I recounted the incident to a couple of instructors.  They didn’t laugh, and advised me that the man I was referring to was a former Special Operations Executive officer who’d parachuted numerous times into Nazi-occupied France, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia to blow up supply lines, marshal local resistance, attack German army units, and ultimately follow to the letter Winston Churchill’s order to set Europe ablaze.   Some people in British Intelligence are not who they appear to be.  I show that in Sentinel.

 

We have an ongoing debate in the United Kingdom about whether there is space for secret organizations like MI6 within a democratic and free society.  Philosophically, one might be able to draw conclusions on this, but practically I believe that freedom of information and secrecy must co-exist.  When the media clamors for details about MI6 and its work, many defenses are made as to why it’s in the public interest that the organization remains in the shadows.  One defense that is rarely used, but should be, is that the foreign spies who work for us risk their lives.  If anything about them became public – their identities, locations, employment –they would be arrested in their native country and possibly executed. 

 

In MI6, we call these men and women “agents”, in the US they are known as “assets”.  We need shorthand terms of reference, but of course when applying them to people there is always a danger that we depersonalize them.  A recurring theme in my novels is to show that the work of espionage is largely about the work of human beings – men, women, old, young, people with families, foibles, characters, likes, dislikes, human beings who have names.  In Sentinel, you’ll meet Polina, Kryštof, Shaska, Borzaya, Barkov, and Korina.  Yes, they’re agents, but more than that they are people.       

 

I wanted to instill urgency into the pace of Sentinel, to reflect what life can be like for an operative working in the field.  Most of the book is seen through the eyes of MI6 officer Will Cochrane.  The reader is shoulder to shoulder with him as he tries to make sense of what’s happening, has to make decisions on his own, conduct actions without necessarily being privy to all of the information, faces moral dilemmas, and make sacrifices.  Sentinel is a fictional story; but I wrote it with the memories of what I and others in MI6 had seen and done.  I hope you enjoy the read.

 

Matthew Dunn

August 2012

 

     

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

I think I have one of these books languishing on my shelves.  I'm going to have to double check to make sure and if I do, I'm going to have to read it soon if I do.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!


Ryan_G wrote:

I think I have one of these books languishing on my shelves.  I'm going to have to double check to make sure and if I do, I'm going to have to read it soon if I do.


I know what you mean, Ryan. Right now I'm feeling almost overwhelmed at all the books I want and need to read!

Plus, I can't believe time has passed so quickly since Matthew visited here last time!

Those set of answers given to the questions on that post that becke shared sure look like the answers of someone who's used to being a spy and guarding personal information very closely! Especially that last answer, to the question about who his first crush was, and the answer was "pointless." Huh. Well, in a way, most first crushes are kind of pointless, but we all remember who the person was! I'd sure hate to be the person who had to do small talk with Matthew at a social setting, ha ha.

Anyway, welcome back Matthew, and good luck with your book sales!

 

P.S. Since we are kind of supposed to ask you questions here, I will ask if you've had any nibbles from film companies about adapting your books.

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Welcome back, Matthew!

 

I actually have SPYCATCHER  in my TBR pile. I was hoping to read it before your visit but I am behind on my reading (too much olympics!). But I am packing for my trip to San Diego and I think it's the perfect choice to read on the plane!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Matthew_DunnMD
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!


Fricka wrote:

Ryan_G wrote:

I think I have one of these books languishing on my shelves.  I'm going to have to double check to make sure and if I do, I'm going to have to read it soon if I do.


I know what you mean, Ryan. Right now I'm feeling almost overwhelmed at all the books I want and need to read!

Plus, I can't believe time has passed so quickly since Matthew visited here last time!

Those set of answers given to the questions on that post that becke shared sure look like the answers of someone who's used to being a spy and guarding personal information very closely! Especially that last answer, to the question about who his first crush was, and the answer was "pointless." Huh. Well, in a way, most first crushes are kind of pointless, but we all remember who the person was! I'd sure hate to be the person who had to do small talk with Matthew at a social setting, ha ha.

Anyway, welcome back Matthew, and good luck with your book sales!

 

P.S. Since we are kind of supposed to ask you questions here, I will ask if you've had any nibbles from film companies about adapting your books.


Hi, this is Matthew Dunn.

 

Many thanks for your best wishes on book sales.  No nibbles yet on potential movies, though there are preliminary discussions taking place.

 

Your comment about being a spy and small talk made me smile.  I can do small talk, I promise!  But yes, I can also be a bit to the point at times and rather careful with what I tell people.  Old habits...

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

I've read both of Matthew's books - I agree, they'd make great movies! If you could choose the cast, Matthew, who would be your first choices for the lead roles?

 

FYI - Matthew has been having trouble signing in. Hopefully he can get past the BN gremlins before long! We're working on it.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!


eadieburke wrote:

Welcome back, Matthew!

 

I actually have SPYCATCHER  in my TBR pile. I was hoping to read it before your visit but I am behind on my reading (too much olympics!). But I am packing for my trip to San Diego and I think it's the perfect choice to read on the plane!

 

Hope you enjoy your visit with us!


Hi, many thanks for welcoming me back.  I hope you enjoy Spycatcher and if so also get to read Sentinel.

 

Matthew Dunn

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Matthew_DunnMD
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!


becke_davis wrote:

I've read both of Matthew's books - I agree, they'd make great movies! If you could choose the cast, Matthew, who would be your first choices for the lead roles?

 

FYI - Matthew has been having trouble signing in. Hopefully he can get past the BN gremlins before long! We're working on it.


Hi Becke

Thanks for inviting me back onto your site.  It only seems like yesterday that we were chatting on here about Spycatcher, not a year ago!

I always struggle to think which actor would play Will Cochrane, no obvious or famous ones spring to mind.  perhaps it would be a lesser known actor.  Either way, certainly not Tom Cruise!

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becke_davis
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Matthew_DunnMD wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I've read both of Matthew's books - I agree, they'd make great movies! If you could choose the cast, Matthew, who would be your first choices for the lead roles?

 

FYI - Matthew has been having trouble signing in. Hopefully he can get past the BN gremlins before long! We're working on it.


Hi Becke

Thanks for inviting me back onto your site.  It only seems like yesterday that we were chatting on here about Spycatcher, not a year ago!

I always struggle to think which actor would play Will Cochrane, no obvious or famous ones spring to mind.  perhaps it would be a lesser known actor.  Either way, certainly not Tom Cruise!


I think it should be a British actor, preferably someone who is not terribly well known over here. I do get tired of seeing the same actors (*cough* Tom Cruise *cough*) over and over again.

 

Thanks for joining us again - your last visit was a lot of fun!

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Matthew - I seem to remember that SPYCATCHER had to be vetted by your department before publication. Was it the same with SENTINEL? What do your former co-workers think of your books?

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Matthew_DunnMD
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

MI6 has to read all of my books (and any structured interviews I give or articles I write).  Thankfully, the organization's been very supportive.  I do have to be very careful.  Britain has a culture of secrecy that derives from our experiences in the First and Second World Wars (having spies in our country and on our doorstop) so it has been an unusual process.  MI6 and I are feeling our way a bit in terms of this as I'm the first of my generation from MI6 to write and be in the public eye..

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!


Matthew_DunnMD wrote:

MI6 has to read all of my books (and any structured interviews I give or articles I write).  Thankfully, the organization's been very supportive.  I do have to be very careful.  Britain has a culture of secrecy that derives from our experiences in the First and Second World Wars (having spies in our country and on our doorstop) so it has been an unusual process.  MI6 and I are feeling our way a bit in terms of this as I'm the first of my generation from MI6 to write and be in the public eye..


Have others attempted to get published and been turned down by MI6, that you know of? Did your books have to meet specific criteria before you could submit them to publishers?

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author MATTHEW DUNN!

Welcome, Matthew, to the Forum. Your blog was very informative. I hope to read one of your books in the near future.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost