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The Author

Haggai Carmon

The Story Behind My Stories: What Inspired My Intelligence Thrillers

By Haggai Carmon

My intelligence thrillers were inspired by my professional Israeli background, as well as by twenty years of service for the United States Government. During those years, I had a publicly known “daytime” job as well as a covert “nighttime” job. Since 1985, I have represented the United States Government in its Israeli civil litigation, appearing in Israeli courts in lawsuits to which the U.S. is a party. However, away from the public eye, I was also engaged by the U.S. government to perform intelligence gathering that required sensitive undercover work in more than thirty countries. Obviously, while working for U.S. federal agencies, I could not share the hair-raising aspects of my assignments with anyone but my supervisors, and some adventures not even with them. Sadly, many of these events, which are sometimes more fascinating and breathtaking than the best fiction I have ever read, will never see the light of day. The story of Dan Gordon and his battle against the invisible, but very real FOE – forces of evil – is my idea of the next-best thing. I also joined the U.S Association of Former Intelligence Officers to keep in touch.

A globetrotting legal practice has left little time in my life for hobbies. However, one night in a small hotel in a faraway country, I finally had the time to fulfill my urge to write. I was on U.S. Government assignment collecting intelligence on a particularly vile and violent organization. Earlier that evening, I’d received a phone call from my local INTERPOL contact. “You’ve been exposed. I suggest you stay in your hotel. We’ll arrange for your safe departure tomorrow morning.” Is it any wonder I couldn’t sleep that night, between jet lag and the rage that came from being unarmed and unable to leave the hotel without my hosts’ protection? I poured it all into the writing, and the result was my first novel, Triple Identity.

That book turned out not to be a fluke; I wrote the sequels because I realized I still had adventures to recount, including the events surrounding the long and sleepless night that started it all.

Readers of my books often ask if the events recounted therein really happened. One newspaper reviewer even accused me of writing “too authentic” a novel, while another reviewer praised me for it. How can you argue with that? My next thrillers may elicit a similar reaction. As to how much of the novels is “true,” I leave it to my readers to decide. All my thrillers were inspired by my work for the U.S. Government, but they are works of fiction rather than autobiography.

During my twenty years of undercover work for the U.S government, I experienced adventure, fear, and most of the time, a great sense of achievement. I was assigned the demanding, sometimes-dangerous task of collecting intelligence. That explains why sometimes, waking up in yet another nondescript hotel in yet another foreign country, I had trouble remembering where I was. Walking down the long corridors of foreign airports, it was hard to remember whether I was arriving or departing.

The events that inspired the writing of The Chameleon Conspiracy brought me to Australia and to my first encounter with the Chameleon. During our real-life meeting, he claimed he wasn’t the Chameleon but that he happened to know of him: He was in Panama manufacturing women’s underwear. I still remember how amused I was to hear that, because I knew I was facing the genuine Chameleon and his attempt to divert me was pathetic. Read the opening pages of The Chameleon Conspiracy for more details.

More thrillers in the series are to follow. In my professional life, I have had enough adventures, frequently life-threatening, to fill at least ten books, and those are just the ones I can talk about.