In Their Character’s Words: Jess Money’s Public Enemies

I’m participating in a virtual blog tour for Jess Money’s new novel Public Enemies, and he was kind enough to write a guest post from the point of view of one of his characters. Enjoy! (And don’t forget to buy the book!)

Going Out With A Bang

by Kenneth Johnson, FBI Sr. Special Agent (Ret.)

Public Enemies banner

Everyone who becomes an FBI agent harbors the dream of helping break a big case, the kind that gets taught to future recruits at the FBI Academy. Fortunately, working under Supervisory Sr. Special Agent Darren “Doc” Medlin in Special Assignments Section Bravo, my very last case turned out to be the biggest in FBI history. Given how it ended, whether or not it gets taught at the Academy is still in question.

To a casual observer, Doc and I probably seemed like an unusual team; he was in his mid-30’s and I was approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, yet he was my superior. This happened largely because Doc was willing to deal with the bureaucracy and political nature of leading an SAS team while I wasn’t. (Okay, the fact that he was a born leader and maybe the best FBI agent ever had a little something to do with it.)

The age difference never mattered to us. We were completely simpatico, Butch and Sundance, Batman and Robin. And like those fictional characters we had our own special woman, our Etta Place, our Bat Woman. Her name was Kelli Randleman and aside from Doc, she was the best agent I ever worked with.

To the public, it was known as the Manifesto case; inside the bureau it was the Crusader file. At its core, the case was simple: a guy using the alias Tom Paine, after the famous Founding Father, set out to force the country to reform through the adoption of a set of Constitutional amendments. As laudable as his goals were, unfortunately he set out to accomplish them using vigilante violence.

Doc’s team was assigned to spearhead the manhunt for Mr. Paine, which proved to be no simple chore. Paine was exceedingly smart, some might even say he was a genius, and during the course of living a normal productive life he had accidentally gained a skill set that later served his terrorist goals quite well. His understanding and command of technology let him evade some of our best investigative tools and even turn some of those tools against us. The more he eluded us and the more his movement grew, the higher the tension among the public rose. Our concern wasn’t just fact that we just couldn’t allow self-appointed vigilantes to whack politicians and business leaders they disagreed with. Doc and I both knew that domestic political terrorism and civil unrest are milestones on the road to civil war.

Our efforts were further complicated by the fact that Paine chose to communicate his messages and demands by calling a young, previously obscure female talk show host named Crystal Dickerson. Doc carried around this vision of his mythical ideal perfect woman and she was it. In all my life I never saw any man fight so hard against inevitable natural attraction, but he refused to let it compromise the case. Of course, for professional reasons she did a pretty good job of holding her ground, too. In the end you could say that we all won, but only because the country also won.

And I got to end my thirty-seven year FBI career with a bang.

* * * * *

About the Book, Public Enemies:

Public Enemies

The only thing the elite fear, an uprising of the people, is about to be realized.
After bankruptcy took away his dying wife’s medical care, Thomas Paine is on a crusade for a Second Bill of Rights using violence against politicians, banksters, and CEO’s.

How far will FBI Agent Darren Medlin go to stop the public from joining Paine’s insurgency? Forced to publicize Paine’s demands, what decisions will talk show host Crystal Dickerson have to make? And which way will the country turn?

Buy a copy at AMAZON

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 In Their Character’s Words: Jess Money’s Public Enemies by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.