…ever wondered where fact and fiction merge in a novel?… Author Martin Roy Hill knows…

My friend and fellow thriller author, Seumas Gallacher, recently asked me to write a guest post for his blog on how I came up with the plot elements for The Last Refuge, which becomes available on March 1. With Seumas' permission, I am reposting it here in its entirety. To find out more about Seumas' wonderful Jack Calder series, visit his website.


…I recently read Martin Roy Hill’s new Peter Brandt novel, THE LAST REFUGE… it’s a cracking 5-star story, and due for launch on the Great God Amazon Kindle on February 29th… it seems so real… and here’s why… listen to Martin:


I’m often asked how I came up with the plot elements of The Last Refuge—the greed, corruption, and government secrets in the story line, as well as the friendly fire incident that launches the book. Easy. It all happened.

All of the plots in my books are based on some historical fact. True life events inspired the plot elements in both of my Peter Brandt mysteries, Empty Places and The Last Refuge, some of which I covered as a journalist.

For instance, the inspiration for the opening scene in The Last Refuge—the deadly friendly fire incident during Operation Desert Storm in 1991—were several actual incidents that occurred during that war. There were at least eleven blue-on-blue attacks during Desert Storm, two of which served as the models for the attack that opens The Last Refuge. No government likes to admit mistakes, and cover-ups of friendly fire incidents are not unknown. Just look at the attempted cover up of the death by friendly fire of former American football player Pat Tillman while serving with the U.S. Rangers in Afghanistan in 2004.

I was an investigative journalist in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and one story I covered was how the U.S. helped finance Iraq’s massive weapons program. Both the Reagan and Bush administrations covertly provided Hussein billions of dollars in funding which he used in his weapons of mass destruction programs. After Desert Storm, there was a scramble by the White House to cover up its involvement in Hussein’s weapons build up.

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration’s reckless defense spending fostered a corrupt environment in the U.S. defense industry, resulting in a three-year probe by the FBI called Operation Ill Wind.

Then, in the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War caught the U.S. defense industry flat-footed. Defense contractors struggled to win what few military contracts there were, and the industry underwent a dramatic downsizing, leaving thousands laid off. The U.S. economy went into a tailspin that took years to come out of.

I used these historic facts to create the environment The Last Refuge takes place in. Unfortunately, we saw similar scandals during the most recent war with Iraq. But you’ll have to wait for my next book to see how I handle that.


My thanks again to Seumas for the chance to talk to his readers. If you're looking for a fast-paced thriller, check out Seumas's latest Jack Calder novel KIller City here.