Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

By S.D. Skye

Publisher : Frank V Books


S.D. Skye
Award-Winning Romantic Suspense-Spy Novelist. Former Senior Intelligence/Operations Analyst for FBI Counterintelligence and other members of the US Intelligence Community. Hollywood Outsider (way outside). Lover of Wit, Sarcasm, the little Darth Vader kid commercials, Grey Goose, and catch More...





On the lam from the FBI, the ICE PHANTOM continues with plans to defect to Moscow but not before seeking revenge on J.J. McCall. Meanwhile, the FBI commences Task Force PHANTOM HUNTER, a team ordered to track down suspected Russian illegals within the U.S. Intelligence Community—and not a moment too soon. An agent of the Russian Intelligence Services is targeting the nerve center of U.S. national security, taking the lie-detecting FBI Agent and her cohorts’ next mole hunt to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. 

J.J. and her co-case agent lead the motley crew of spy catchers while she struggles to deal with sobriety, conflicting feelings for Tony and Six, and an egotistical Secret Service agent whose jurisdictional stonewalling complicates her every effort to identify the culprit before he gets away—with murder. 

If you enjoy this book, you will love Book 1 in the FBI SpyCatcher Series-- The Bigot List (A J.J. McCall Novel) and Book 3 -- The Shadow Syndicate

Who Is Special Agent J.J. McCall? I love mystery/suspense/thriller novels. Probably considered a groupie in some circles. This is despite the fact that I’ve had a 20+ year analytical career in U.S. Intelligence (over 12 of them spent in the FBI) which too often colors my view in terms of plot believability. Despite my real-world experience, I’m a pretty big fan of authors like John Le Carre, Gayle Lynds, and Daniel Silva. What I find interesting about the genre, and somewhat disappointing, is there isn’t much diversity when it comes to the main characters in spy and espionage novels. Not one prominent African American, Asian, or Hispanic main character. Yet, from my own personal experience in working at or with the major three-letter agencies, I’ve met a number of highly capable, competent (and often exceptionally performing) agents and case officers from a range of ethnicities in the intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterespionage fields. After leaving the Bureau and pursing my dream of becoming a writer, I eventually decided that if no one else was going to tell their stories, perhaps I should. So a little more than two years ago, I sought to write a different kind of spy novel with a different kind of character. And because of my vast experience in the field and work with so many agencies supporting a range of missions, it’s a story told from a new perspective—one based largely on the realities of counterintelligence work inside the United States. The heroine of my series, J.J. McCall, is inspired by an African American agent with whom I periodically worked for several years. I remember first seeing her walking through the halls at FBI Headquarters. She was this short, stylish woman in a pin-sharp pant suit. She looked about 12 years of age (and I wish that was an exaggeration). I assumed she was a new case agent working a temporary duty assignment in the espionage unit. After weeks passed and I continued to see her, I said to myself, “She’s still here?” I later found out she’d been slotted as a supervisor in the counterespionage program. I was in disbelief, couldn’t find my jaw for days. After snapping out of the shock, I wondered what drew her to this field which was largely dominated by white males—but I never asked. I figured it was her job and she was doing it as I was doing mine. Eventually, we were assigned to an Intelligence Community working group together and I got the chance to see her in action. Whoa. She had an almost innate ability to walk into a room, command it, and wade through all the white noise to cut to the core of an issue. Surprisingly, she wasn’t at all arrogant or bossy, just no-nonsense and very just-the-facts, Jack. I had no inkling of writing a series about her at the time, but the memory of her professionalism and my admiration for her stuck with me. After writing my first two novels, the name J.J. McCall came to me one night in a random dream. I woke up and couldn’t forget it, couldn’t shake it. I knew it must be a character name but I had no idea in that moment which character or what the book would be about. I only had a name. Days later it hit me in a flash. “That’s J.J. McCall!” When creating the J.J. McCall character, I wanted her to be complex and layered so I had to create personal and professional issues that are in no way representative of the “real-life” J.J. The fact that she’s a highly functional kitchen drinker (a growing problem among women with high stress personal and professional lives) is her fictional personal issue. In terms of her professional life, I wanted to somehow infuse J.J. with the ability to cut through the BS. I wanted her to have a gift—not a superpower—but a gift. To me, the psychic thing had been done a number of times before and I didn’t want to walk that path. So that got me to thinking about a different route. Espionage, spying, and intelligence collection is all smoke and mirrors. One of the major challenges counterintelligence agents face, a significant problem, is attempting to discern the truth from lies. When an FBI Agent pitches an officer in a foreign intelligence service and he refuses to speak with the FBI, does he really mean it? Or is he putting up a front because he’s afraid of getting caught by his counterintelligence service? When a new Russian diplomat enters the United States and claims he’s legitimate, is he “clean” or is he a spy on a mission to steal U.S. secrets? From operational covers (or legends) to targeting and recruitment, to intelligence collection, the human intelligence world is built around layers of lies. So, just imagine a character who could detect a lie in this world? Pretty cool, right? So now J.J. detects lies…but then I immediately wondered if I had made her job too easy. As writers, we can’t make anything easy on our characters or it’s not fun for the reader. Readers like to see characters that face challenges, characters that suffer before they succeed. After some thought, I realized the gift was naturally self-limiting. First, J.J. couldn’t be everywhere at once or listen to every conversation. Her gift would only be useful if she was speaking to a bad guy at the time they were lying. Secondly, people lie for a multitude of reasons. In addition to attempting to deceive others, we tell lies to protect feelings. We may even lie to protect someone from harm. So, even though J.J. can tell whether someone is lying, she cannot answer the very important question of why without digging a little deeper. So this gives her an “edge” in this spooky world but limits her ability to leverage it. And there you have it. I sincerely hope you enjoy J.J. McCall and the first in this five-book series which lets you follow along on her quests to find American traitors working for Russian Intelligence