JEFF SAUNDERS

 
Full Name: Jeff Saunders
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Michael Bar-Zohar
Time Span: 1973 - 1975
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Jeff Saunders is an agent with the CIA.
       When the two-book series, first written in Hebrew and later translated to English, starts, Saunders is on the outs, banished from the Agency though not actually fired. He is considered almost an untouchable and while he was still to valuable an asset to get rid of, no one wanted to be seen near him for he had that faint odor of failure about him that everyone feared might taint them as well.
       He was not always such a pariah. When he joined the CIA in the very late 50's, he was one of the up-and-comers. In 1960 he proposed and helped get underway renewed U-2 flights over China and the Soviet Union and later over the Middle East. It was one such flight he personally ordered that came up with the pictures of the "textile mill" out in the desert that was later shown to be a nuclear reactor and gave unofficial proof that Israel had the bomb. He was a golden-boy after that one and promotion came swiftly.
       Because his mother had been French and he was bilingual from childhood, he was given the positon of bureau chief in Paris, a truly plum assignment from which better things would surely come. Unfortunately, he met and fell for a beautiful young woman named Martine and through her met a group of young protestors who convinced him that the American conflict in Vietnam was a huge mistake. Since the French knew even better than America did at that time how badly things could go in Southeast Asia, he listened. When he was pulled from Paris back to Langley, his views did not mesh at all with the policies of the current government and he started his fall from grace.
       Still, his friends helped him make an involuntary move to the German desk. He had started to make amends with the Powers in the Agency when a chance to rescue a Czech dissident came. He pushed for it and the station chief went along. Unfortunately, it was a set-up by the Soviets to ferret out the network being used to smuggle people from the Iron Curtain and not only did the dissident die and the network shut down, Saunders was left with such a stink that no one wanted to go near.
       At the start of the first book, Saunders is given a chance to redeem himself and he is determined to not fail. Amusingly, he has been sitting around his apartment just waiting for a call to come back, having worked out how nonchalant he would treat the call but when it comes, he is immediately "yes, sir" and "right away, sir". He was almost disgusted with himself at his behavior but then, he was being given another chance and he was ready for it.
       Saunders is a very good agent who had made two mistakes, the first was knowing the truth about Vietnam before it was politically correct to do so and the second was not sensing the trap that the Soviets had laid. He was determined he would not make a third. In the two recorded adventures, he keeps that promise to himself.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1973
Last Appearance:1975

1 The Third Truth The Third Truth
Written by Michael Bar-Zohar, June P. Wilson (translator), Walter B. Michaels (translator)
Copyright: 1973

The Soviets, on the days before a major summit, are talking war when a Soviet diplomat is murdered while in the U.S. Jeff Saunders is brought in to find the truth. He is given carte blanche to do so but that does not keep him that safe.

2 The Spy Who Died Twice The Spy Who Died Twice
Written by Michael Bar-Zohar, June P. Wilson (translator), Walter B. Michaels (translator)
Copyright: 1975

The burned corpse found in Haiti did have one hand good enough for fingerprints but they matched that of a double agent who had died a year before. Jeff Saunders had attended the funeral and he is now tasked with finding out how the man could die twice.

MY COMMENTS

       Mr. Bar-Zohar is a very, very accomplised man who wrote several prestigious non-fiction books which presented factual accounts of fantastic actions during war, espcially dealing with the birth of the state of Israel. His knowledge and experiences are an obvious aid in his fiction as the locales feel right, the situations are plausible, and the background behind the plots and mechanisms of the players is totally solid.
       Besides being published under his own name, the first book, The Third Truth, also was released under a pseudonym which he used for other espionage books, Michael Hastings. The second book may have been as well but so far I have not verified that.
       I enjoyed the character of Saunders quite a bit but I really appreciated the other characters that the author has in the stories. Just as many actors have expressed fun in playing bad guys because they can really open up so well, the same is true for the people that Saunders works with or against. You get to know them perhaps better than you know the protagonist.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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