The Story behind ‘False Flag in Autumn,’ by Michael Bowen

  Thank you in advance for giving False Flag in Autumn a shot.  I am a reader as well as a writer, and my shelf of books waiting to be read is always daunting.  Time is the most precious thing a reader has, so it will mean a lot to me if you’re willing to invest half-an-hour or so in reading FFA’s first few chapters to see if the story will work for you.


         I could be wrong – there’s a first time for everything – but I think it will.  FFA is a Washington crime story with a heroine, Josie Kendall, who will never be mistaken for Nancy Drew.  She’s a particularly charming (and wryly humorous) version of the kind of D.C. apparatchiks who actually populate not the halls of power, exactly, but the side streets and back alleys of power in these head-spinning political times.  She is cheerfully manipulative, pragmatic, unapologetically ambitious, and relentlessly unsentimental (except about her devoted husband, Rafe).  She says frankly that, “You don’t do politics with choir girls.”  In the story’s first paragraph she tells the reader, “I have no objection to the truth, but I don’t let it push me around.”

         I’m sure some readers would prefer an earnest, idealistic policy wonk with an untarnished halo – but I don’t write science fiction.  In today’s Washington, earnest policy wonks don’t get to the bottom of nefarious schemes hatched by rogue White House aides.   Instead, they either keep their heads down and stay on the sidelines, or end up as D.C. road-kill.  By contrast, Josie compares her methods to a spikes-high slide into second base:  “It ain’t pretty, but that’s the way the game is played.”

         In FFA, Josie uncovers planned campaign season surprises intended to manipulate the media and control headlines.  (“Welcome to Washington,” as Josie would say.)  These plots, however, go beyond standard confected news efforts.  They involve loud noises and body counts that will end with flags at half-staff if they succeed.  Josie will have to decide whether to step out of the Beltway cocoon, where the weapons are spin, winks, and leaks, into a darker world where the weapons are actual weapons.  As she puts it, the choice she makes “made me feel good – but it didn’t make me feel smart.”

         I think that reading FFA will make you feel both good and smart – and I promise you’ll have plenty of fun along the way.



Michael Bowen is a retired trial lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School who has published nineteen mysteries, ranging from Washington crime stories to plucky couple puzzle mysteries (and sometimes  both at the same time).

About your book and purchase link:   False Flag in Autumn is available as both an ebook and in hard cover from amazon.  Fine bookstores can also order it through Ingram – and who knows, maybe some of them already have.

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