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Full Name: Samantha Vagus
Series Name: Scratcher
Nationality: American
Organization: NSA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Henry Bennett
Time Span: 2019 - 2020


Samantha Vagus is an agent with the NSA.

Well, was, actually, but more about that in a moment.

The author gave the series the name "Scratcher" and explains in the first page of the first adventure that Vagus is a "scratcher. For me, scratching is a lot like sex, sometimes better, which I suppose says volumes about my love life lately. I will scratch any itch I have until I bleed. I find this kind of pain, though fleeting, a blessing, much more pleasurable than the discomfort of the itch itself, which is nearly unbearable, especially if I can't reach the itch." What is interesting about this "affliction" is that I cannot be sure if she is physically scratching herself or it is a metaphor. Certainly she

Back to the "was an agent" part. Vagus, and her best friend, Kelly, "used to work for a subset of the National Security Agency, the NSA. Our branch was, well, is, it's still there, called the DSA. We left the kind and benevolent good graces of our overseers with something less than a chest full of medals. We got sick and tired of the increasingly fascist bent of the U.S. government and its unworried approach to the destruction of American rights on behalf of American business welfare and so-called national security concerns. Corporations are people? No thank you."

That sort of explains why she and Kelly are no longer with the goverment. What they were once with the government is a bit more complicated.

Vagus was in operations though actually what I could not get a handle on except that she is very, very good out in the field and when it comes to eliminating opponents, temporarily or permanently, she is not only very good at it, she is good without any hesitation.

Kelly is easier to pigeon-hole. He is an IT geeks. A very, very, very intelligent and talented and inventive geek. He is as far from field-ready as you can get. His idea of being in the field would be a stroll through a park but even then he would be thinking of something he was building or programming.

How the two of them got to be friends is fun to read because Vagus is no techie. She is "a year off a divorce, a Sacramento girl with a high school education, a high IQ, a ferocious temper, high expectations of myself, a kick that would stop a rhino, and not one clue about what I should be doing with my life. I usually wore moderate clothes to deflect attention, then took them off to get attention. I thought long and hard before speaking in those early days, because I was afraid I would launch into a topic I shouldn't. ... I got drunk most weekends whether I wanted to or not. ... My self-hate was matched by hate of everything around me. I was, in short, a genius for a job I despised. I never found any instructions for that."

So we know they are friends and they have left their jobs with the NSA. What was not yet said is that "when we left, Kelly took a little invention of his with him, something that would make privacy in the United States a thing of the past, an unbreakable security algorithm. The government wants it. We're not going to give it to Them, or anyone else, for that matter."

And therein lies the basis for the adventures.

Good Lines:
- Regarding a beefy bodyguard, "Dumber than manure, as my mother used to say, yet not as useful."
- "Social graces have never been my strong suit. Breaking people's noses has always served me better."
- About her best friend and computer expert, "Kelly sits and thinks about how he thinks about things." In contrast, she says of herself, "I no more want to think about me than I want to catch bullets with my teeth."


Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2019
Last Appearance:2020

1 Scratcher Scratcher
Written by Henry Bennett
Copyright: 2019

Subtitled: Samantha Vagus Kills Too Many People
When Sam decides, along with her tech guru friend, Kelly, that it was time for the two of them to leave the employ of the US governmental agency they were with, they knew there would be trouble. They possibly didn't know there would be this much hassle - and animosity.
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2 Scratcher, Being Kind Scratcher, Being Kind
Written by Henry Bennett
Copyright: 2020

Subtitled: Samantha Vagus Tries Not To Kill Anyone
Three years of hiding has gotten very old but still Sam and Kelly have not made it out of the country. Their old employers wants the 'toys' that Kelly has devised and is not ready to give up getting them. Sam, trying to protect Kelly, is finding not killing people to be very, um, limiting.
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3 Scratcher, Ruthless Scratcher, Ruthless
Written by Henry Bennett
Copyright: 2020

Subtitled: Samantha Vagus Kills Them All
It has to make a person feel special when a hit team is formed just to hunt that person down. In this case, two people; Sam and Kelly. The group is called the Honey Badgers and they have definitely annoyed Sam enough to do something about it. Something very violent.
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I absolutely loved the subtitles for these books and I appreciated the fact that they pretty much recap what happened in a very few words. Vagus has to wipe out a bunch of people. Then she really tries to not do that any more. Then she finds she has to so goes all out.

I also liked the name of an assassination team out to remove Vagus - the Honey Badgers. I've had quite a few badgers in my back yard (and on my second story deck) and they do not take being interfered with at all well. The assassins in this book fit that very well.


My Grade: B


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