Author: Brinn Colenda
Publisher: XLIBRIS (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 248 pages
Cochabamba Conspiracy is one of those rare books that compel the reader to keep turning pages to see what happens next in the exciting intrigue taking place in South America’s towering Andes Mountains or on a plane carrying biological agents to spray a holiday crowd in Baltimore.
Fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Tom Callahan was not happy leaving his fast jets for assignment to the U.S. embassy in Bolivia where he faced bureaucratic frustrations and sinister intrigue from his own colleagues.Tom’s flying skills are tested to the limits in the difficult flying conditions not only through rough Andes weather, but also in coping with devastating sabotage.
A rogue Army Colonel takes over as Tom’s boss and begins conspiring with a power-hungry deputy chief of mission against Tom and the ambassador. Colonel Steele amasses a fortune in drug money after importing several disreputable sergeants to create havoc at the embassy and with the anti-narcotic efforts by the combined U.S.-Bolivian military.Steele plots to destroy Tom’s career, or have him killed, while Steele’s embassy mistress forces Tom’s wife to leave the country.
Meanwhile, halfway around the world, drug money from Bolivia goes via Cuba to fund an international terrorist group headed by a former East German Stasi agent who is implementing a plan for a devastating biological attack on the east coast of America. Back in the states, Tom finds himself in a race to thwart the attack.
As a former Air Force Section Chief in the U.S. Military Group in La Paz, author Brinn Colenda uses his intimate knowledge of Bolivia, flying, and U.S. embassy operations to create this believable action-packed yarn of drug cartels, rogue military and diplomats, global terrorism, and harrowing flights in the high Andes.
Cochabamba Conspiracy also has its tender moments interspersed with the horrific incidents.It’s a great novel and recommended for those who love thrillers.
Reviewed by: Joe Epley (2014)
The Cochabamba Conspiracy takes place during closing years of the 20th century in and around Cochabamba, Bolivia, and involves international terrorism, political intrigue, and personal betrayal.
Kurt Wallerein, an aging communist revolutionary considered the world’s most dangerous terrorist, is in danger of becoming irrelevant due to the collapse of worldwide socialism. He conspires with Fidel Castro to undermine and overthrow legitimate governments in Latin America and replace them with communist regimes. Castro, himself a leader with dwindling international status, commits his extensive network of dedicated supporters throughout the region to the cause. Wallerein’s own group consists of dozens of ex-KGB and East German Stasi professionals. The network also includes “moles” or sleeper cells planted within the US government by the KGB and the East German Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA), considered the most effective foreign intelligence service during the Cold War. Due to current and historical Cuban-Bolivian ties, the men decide to target the Chapare region, near the city of Cochabamba.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Callahan, a highly decorated USAF fighter pilot, is assigned to the U.S. Military Group (MILGROUP) in the embassy in La Paz. He makes an immediate impression by planning and flying a rescue mission with the Bolivian Air Force (FAB). He breathes new life into embassy relations and nation-building programs with the Bolivian government, gaining unprecedented access to Bolivian government officials. Immensely popular with the ambassador, Tom’s successes earn him dangerous enemies within the embassy.
Simultaneously, a different kind of terrorist plot is hatched within the U.S. Embassy itself. Led by Tom’s boss, U.S. Army Colonel Billie D. Steele, and aided by the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Patricia Pointer, a Wallerein mole, this group intends to take over Bolivian drug production using U.S. Army methods of operation. Aided by a corrupt Bolivian Army general, Steele raises the level of violence in the country, killing hundreds, including bombing the embassy Marine Security Detail barracks and planting a bomb on the embassy C-12 aircraft. Only Tom’s superb flying skills prevent another major catastrophe.
Wallerein’s revolutionary plans in Latin America hinge on blinding the United States with the first-ever terrorist attack in the country. He orders a mole placed in the U.S. Army’s Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, to steal a weaponized form of deadly Machupo virus, cause of Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, which he intends to release on Baltimore and Washington. Gradually Tom and his wife, Colleen, unravel the multiple secret plots. Tom and his own network capture Steele and his murderous associates. Colleen survives first a kidnapping then attempted murder to relay critical information to the U.S. president to prevent the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.Tom Callahan corners Wallerein at a rural Maryland airport. Desperate to escape in a small plane, Wallerein flies into dangerous weather closely pursued by Tom. The men engage in a deadly match of cat-and-mouse. Unable to shake Tom, Wallerein crashes into a bridge abutment and is killed. Or is he?