The Old Spook is a spy/detective novel about a burned out CIA operative (Tom Miller) that morphs Richard Burton (Alec Leamus) into Humprey Bogart (Sam Spade)—and back again! A tale of espionage and sleuthing that engages the reader in the culture and tradecraft of the CIA and the dilemma of government secrecy in a democratic society.
The story begins with a flashback of the old spook’s career that reveals the stress of shady dealings with sinister characters and transports the reader to such places as Mexico and encounters with the Russian agent who recruited Lee Harvey Oswald or to Miami and meetings with Mafia figures to plot the assassination of Fidel Castro. The stage is thus set for Miller’s forced retirement in the wake of the Watergate scandals and Jimmy Carter’s purging of the clandestine services.
Not ready to call it quits, he goes home to Milwaukee where he opens his own detective agency and takes on a missing-person case that unwittingly puts him on the trail of a Mafia hit-man. Only after Milwaukee and Detroit crime bosses and the CIA itself try to persuade him to drop the case, and there’s an attempt on his life, does he discover through cryptanalysis that the man he’s tracking is involved in the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa and the murders of Mafia chieftains Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli. In a bizarre twist, these crimes lead to an involvement in the Iran-Contra affair.
In the style of Upton Sinclair and Herman Wouk, the fictional Tom Miller interacts with actual events and personalities to provide an entertaining and intriguing read.