Red Sky by Chris Goff is a fast-paced thriller that has action, intrigue, sprinkled with some technology. In this second installment of the series, the featured character, Raisa Jordan, a U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent, heads
to Ukraine to investigate her father’s death. While there she is side-tracked when People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes, killing everyone on board. Notably, among the two-hundred dead passengers and flight crew, is George McClasky, a veteran
DSS agent who was escorting a Chinese-American prisoner, accused of treason, home from China. She is assigned to investigate the cause of the crash, and quickly realizes that the downing was no accident. The technology used to down the plane was part of a
top-secret weapon being developed by several countries, including the United States. The Russians successfully tested the “railgun” on the plane and intend to use it against others in an attempt to take over the Ukraine. Her investigation draws
the attention of Nye Davis of Reuters news agency, who agrees to help her uncover who is behind the crash and what are their motives.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story? A Diplomatic Security
Agent is not very well known.
Chris Goff: I got the idea when I was in Israel with my daughter for two months. She needed medical treatment.
EC: What did you think of Israel?
CG: I loved my time there. I found it to be a very interesting and dynamic place. We stayed in Tel Aviv but traveled to Bethlehem, Tiberius, Masada, and the Dead Sea.
EC: The plot of your
first book, Dark Waters, has the setting in Israel?
CG: I decided while in Israel that my main character Raisa Jordan is asked to investigate the assassination of her predecessor, and ends up protecting an eleven-year-old daughter of an American
federal judge who has brought the girl to Israel for medical treatment.
EC: The setting for this book is the Ukraine?
CG: Yes. At the end of Dark Waters, I had Raisa decide to travel to
the Ukraine to investigate the death of her father. This book, Red Sky, is a continuation on the backstory of Raisa.
EC: Did you ever travel to the Ukraine?
CG: I went there to get a feel
for the setting with my youngest daughter who is a school teacher. As soon as we got off the plane someone asked if we want to go to the front lines? We could do it For $50 and the driver will have a gun, as well as a flak jacket and helmet for us. I said
‘ok,’ but my daughter put her foot down so we did not go.
EC: What were your impressions?
CG: In Kiev, at least half of the people are tied to Russia and are pro-Russian. Whereas,
in Lviv, on the western side of the country, they identify with the Polish people. They would not acknowledge anyone who spoke Russian. They actually had in the markets Putin toilet paper.
EC: How did you
come up with a DSS Agent?
CG: My daughter had a really close friend whose father is a DSS Agent. The stories he told, about what he did, fascinated me. I found out that this Agency is the law enforcement arm of the US Government
overseas. They are not a spy agency like the CIA, nor are they military. They handle those who deal drugs, commit murders, and track down fugitives. They have to figure out where the bad guys are, many times through visas, and then they arrest them.
Interestingly, they are not allowed to carry a gun unless the country they are in approves.
EC: How would you describe a DSS Agent?
CG: I found them to be cowboys. They are trained
at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy (FLECT). A true story was told to me about one agent who went to a Sheik’s palace, banged on the door, and even though he and the two Marines he brought with him were extremely outnumbered, demanded that the person
he sought after come with him. Another time, one decided to spy on terrorists in the middle of the night.
EC: How would you describe Raisa?
CG: Smart, loyal, a by the book person who
believes in rules and order. She is dedicated and has been impacted by the loss of her father.
EC: Nye Davis does not seem to fit into Raisa’s views of journalists?
CG: I guess
you are referring to her quote, ‘She viewed journalists like hyenas-offensive and sneaky predators feasting on the sensationalism of a moment…Too many times the real story was lost or ignored, usurped by moments taken out of context and distorted
by the reporter’s own bias.’ Today you would call it fake news. Since Raisa is a law enforcement agent I wanted to have her with the feeling of a lot of others who shy away from the media. They feel journalists always put them under a microscope
and they never worry about who gets hurt in the process. I think she falls for Nye because he is not just a journalist, but also a reserve in the Special Forces.
EC: Is the railgun true?
is being tested by the US Navy. Although in my book I had it working off a small battery which is only in the testing phase. The University of Texas is trying to get it to work off a truck battery. What I wanted to show is how it works. I
explained in the book, that it has three parts. The gun is a measure of energy that can put out a force of a one-ton truck going at 160 mph hitting a brick wall. The electromagnetic pulse travels around the rails creating a magnetic field that launches
the projectile. I think with thrillers things do not have to be real, just believable.
EC: What do you want readers to get out of the story?
CG: In both books I want them to understand that
all the characters have to step outside of their comfort zone and need to trust each other. They need to rely on each other to solve the problem.