Deep_Black1 Deep_Black2 Deep_Black9 Deep_Black3 Deep_Black6 Deep_Black4 Deep_Black7 Deep_Black5 Deep_Black8
Full Name: Charlie Dean and Lia DeFrancesca
Series Name: Deep Black
Nationality: American
Organization: NSA
Occupation Agency

Creator: Stephen Coonts
Time Span: 2003 - 2011


Deep Black is a highly secret NSA department.

The term is really a covername for the department whose real name is Desk Three, or NSA's Combined Service Direct Operations Division. This newly formed section was created under the premise that modern technology had progressed so far that it had remodeled the Intelligence world and no existing agency was fully equipped to take advantage of it. All the existing agencies fought for the right to put this group together, CIA, DIA, Defense Department, State Department, and others but the NSA won the battle.

In addition to access to all the technology, Deep Black had a small cadre of highly trained operatives who were able to head into the field when needed. These operatives do not enter the field with just a cloak and a dagger, however, but with the ultimate in modern surveillance equipment. Making constant use of a plethora of satellites able to monitor incredibly small events on the planet, much of the intel that the operatives need can be provided by people sitting in a room in Maryland.

Much, but not all. Satellites still have trouble with heavy cloud cover. They cannot see inside buildings, infrared detection notwithstanding, and they cannot interrogate people from a distance. For that, feet on the ground are vital. Deep Black does not employ a large number of operative but those they do have are quite good.

One of the first and best of these agents at the beginning of the series is Lia DeFrancesca. Caustic as she is beautiful, she loves the technology that she is given but isn't afraid to shut it off and take over herself when it calls for it. She can shimmy up a drainpipe, disarm a guard, plant a bug, and kick butt with the best of them and look great doing so. Don't tell her that, however, unless you are ready for one of her deflating glares.

The other star of the series is Charlie Dean, a decorated ex-Marine sniper, a veteran of Vietnam and other conflicts. Now retired, he is asked to provide an impartial viewpoint on the first recorded assignment and remains throughout the series. Dean doesn't like the technology as he feels it is far too unreliable. A product of his generation, Dean is far from a Luddite but has had equipment fail at the worst time too often to put any trust in it. Use it if it is there but don't depend on it is Dean's attitude.

The third agent of note is the young (23) agent Tommy Karr. Though he has not a lot of years under his belt, Karr has a maturity that is belied by his joking, frolicking manner. Despite his smiles and teasing, Karr is seasoned, smart, dangerous, and dependable.

These three make up the field side of things in the series. Back at headquarters are another set of characters headed by the stern spymaster Reubens who decides who goes where and sometimes who doesn't come back.


Number of Books:8
First Appearance:2003
Last Appearance:2011

1 Deep Black Deep Black
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2003

The team is sent to Russia when an American spy plane is shot down in their territory, the mission being to find out what might be left of the plane that could be studied. They find that one of the crew members is alive and must be rescued. They also learn of a plot to kill the Russian President.

2 Deep Black: Biowar Deep Black: Biowar
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2004

Dr. Keegan is a well respected germ warfare specialist and friend of Dean. When the doctor goes missing and in his home is found a man killed with a gun shot to the head. Dean and team are put on the job to capture or rescue the scientist.

3 Deep Black: Dark Zone Deep Black: Dark Zone
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2004

The terrorists call their mission "God's Revenge". It involves a stolen nuclear weapon that they plan to explode beneath the ocean floor to drastically disrupt the earth's crust and bring incredible destruction to their enemies. Dean and company are sent to stop them.
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4 Deep Black: Payback Deep Black: Payback
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2005

Deep Black is sent to the mountains of Peru to stop a renegade general who is planning to steal the upcoming Peruvian elections. While there, they discover his plans go a great deal farther.
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5 Deep Black: Jihad Deep Black: Jihad
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2005

Deep Black has managed to implant a tiny bug inside the skull of a member of Al-Qaeda and can use the device to monitor his movements. Even as they begin to eliminate other members he meets, they uncover a plot to stage another devastating attack in the US.
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6 Deep Black: Conspiracy Deep Black: Conspiracy
Written by Stephen Coonts, Jim DeFelice
Copyright: 2008

The connection between an apparent suicide of a Secret Service agent and an assassin's attempt on a Presidential candidate leads Dean and team to suspect something even more sinister is about to happen.
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7 Deep Black: Arctic Gold Deep Black: Arctic Gold
Written by Stephen Coonts, William H. Keith
Copyright: 2009

The disappearance of two US agents monitoring Russian activity under the Arctic ice leads to proof of Russian mafia plans to control the oil reserves. As Dean tries to rescue the agents, his partner, Lia, is inside Russia finding how the agents' abduction was just the start.
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8 Deep Black: Sea Of Terror Deep Black: Sea Of Terror
Written by Stephen Coonts, William H. Keith
Copyright: 2010

Dean and team must go against two different factions who have each taken over large ships with the aim of causing considerable destruction.
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9 Deep Black: Death Wave Deep Black: Death Wave
Written by Stephen Coonts, William H. Keith
Copyright: 2011

Twelve nuclear warheads have been stolen by an odd coupling of terrorist groups with a plan to use the destructive power to create a massive man-made tsunami.
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With so much written about the CIA, a lot of it very bad press, having a department like Deep Black attached to them would never work as a modern storyline. The NSA, about whom very little is said, works, especially with the ultra-sophisticated satellite activity they use. But almost countering that is the staid Charlie Dean, a man who doesn't really trust them, for good reason some times.

Mr. Coonts is a fantastic storyteller. I have loved every one of his Jake Grafton series and look forward to more. Mr. DeFelice has proven his writing skills before and continues to show he can write adventure thrillers with the best of them. Together, the series is a LOT of fun. Thank you, gentlemen!

I am concerned with the new writer, though. As of this time I have not read both of his novels but the feel from the first, Arctic Gold is different with the team split up and not acting as expected. I hope I am wrong.


My Grade: B


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