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M. M. Frick

The truth can get you killed.

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Truth in Hiding


M. M. Frick's Truth in Hiding is an alternative modern historical thriller starring Casey Shenk, an average man and confessed conspiracy theorist. This riveting novel delivers ample action and intrigue.

Already entangled in the machinations of a shadowy secret organization, and after surviving several attempts on his life, Casey dives once more into the world of espionage. He seeks to uncover connections between his own experiences and events on the global stage, and learns that you can't trust everyone.

Set in a quasi-alternative time line following the events of 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War, the wider plot follows Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons and its potential to trigger a war with Israel. While investigating this development, Casey is pulled back toward The Council, a secret group of high and mighty people trying to shape world events for America's benefit. Along the way, he learns that Iranian intrigue and The Council might be connected, and has run-ins with Iranian and Israeli assassins and old flames.

This third installment of the Casey Shenk series handles the protagonist's continuing involvement in events that are spectacularly out of his league. Casey is increasingly aware that getting involved in major political activities and clandestine affairs is a good way to get killed. However, he doesn't let that stop him from doing what is right, and he shares his views with his partners, a reporter and an Israeli assassin.

All of the characters, whether heroic or villainous, display depth, and are both enjoyable and relatable. Ostensible bad guys are shown some compassion, and the good guys are not spared criticism. Frick does an excellent job of conveying the very gray nature of the moralities that dictate global events. Insights come through these complexities, including the notion that America's involvement in global affairs doesn't always work out for the best.

The cultures and political situations of the Middle East are rendered with intelligence, creativity, and balance. Iran is shown to be more than just a mustache-twirling bad guy; it is comprised of a variety of people, all with their own intentions. The novel also handles thriller and mystery tropes well, staying true to the genre, but focusing on character development between action scenes. The plot progresses and thickens at a believable pace. A few moments in which symbols or terms are overexplained are a slight distraction.

Truth in Hiding is an action-based thriller that is both entertaining and insightful.

   - Foreward Clarion Reviews, August 2016



"Truth in Hiding" is my pick for the best summer read of 2016. Matt Frick has created a deliciously clever plot and enriched it with strong characters who lead the reader through a story ominously close to what could really happen. I’ve been looking for a Vince Flynn to follow and I do believe I have found him. 

   - Burt Davitte, Major General, USAF (retired), Amazon review 


The Complicity Doctrine


M.M. Frick’s debut novel, Open Source, earned a starred review from BlueInk Review. Now Casey Shenk, the everyman hero, returns in a sequel that is similarly tense but more ambitious and confident.

Casey is still an analyst at private consulting firm Intelligence Watch Group, a geopolitical think tank that assesses global threats. In this alternate reality, the United States recently bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities and the political landscape in the Middle East is increasingly hostile.

 

Also returning is Susan Williams, the sharp-tempered analyst who recruited Casey in Open Source. Susan is concerned about her friend Mariam Fahda, an analyst at the Congressional Research Service. After Mari writes a report on an Islamic insurgent group operating in Yemen, she discovers that her report was changed substantially before delivery to the U.S. Senate. That's when shadowy operatives start trying to assassinate her.

 

Casey and Susan are putting the pieces together at a Manhattan deli when an explosion rips it apart. Minutes later, bombings outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Manhattan’s Central Synagogue throw New York City into chaos.

 

Casey, Susan and NYC cop Paul Giordano start following leads. Casey’s blog remains a handy primer for readers wading through the jargon-rich, elaborate conspiracy at hand. The good guys nimbly follow the trail to uncover a U.S. Senator’s secret war against Iran and a clandestine military-industrial syndicate.

 

Frick’s thrillers remain heavy on debate and light on action, but they’re just as exciting as their competitors in airport bookshops, and maybe even a little smarter. Readers who enjoy international suspense in the vein of John le Carré or Robert Ludlum will tread familiar ground in Frick's post 9-11 universe.

 

   - BlueInk Review, Starred Review, October 2012
 

This book grips us from the beginning and does not let us go till the end. Though some parts are pretty

easy to predict, the author keeps surprises on the horizon with unexpected twists and turns. The story

flows well throughout the book. There were no slow parts at all and it is full of high energy. All of the main

characters are very well rounded and strong in their own right. They are supported by superb minor

characters like Casey's boss Jim, and fellow co-worker Andie. There is a glimpse into the workings of a

political campaign thrown in too. This book is an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.

 

     - Reader's Favorite, October 2012


 

This book is an easy and entertaining read. The writer keeps his focus on a suspenseful story line and doesn't dwell on unnecessary gory details or lengthy sidebars. Once you get past the setting of characters, The Complicity Doctrine picks up speed and captivates your attention until the end. I recommend it.


     - Military Writers Society of America, October 2012

 


To get to their goals, laws are something to be worked around. "The Complicity Doctrine" is a thriller following international intelligence analyst Casey Shenk [as he] digs deep into a conspiracy that spans much of the government that is working beyond simple law and order. "The Complicity Doctrine" has plenty of twists and turns that should keep readers reading all the way through.

 

     - The Midwest Book Review, February 2013


Open Source


On his off time, Casey Shenk writes a blog and researches news items that spark public interest. When a cargo ship named the Baltic Venture is high-jacked on its way from Finland to Algeria carrying lumber, he posts his suspicions online: no ransom demands have been made, it occurred in the Baltic Sea, a rare location for piracy, and the Russian Navy dispatched five vessels for a rescue…all for some lumber. So begins M.M. Frick’s new book, Open Source, an ambitious and highly entertaining look into global politics and intrigue. In his blog, Shenk maintains that whatever the Baltic Venture is carrying, it’s most likely stolen and being shipped illegally. This straight talk is what catches the attention of Susan Williams, an analyst working for a corporation that analyzes media and predicts world developments. Both Shenk and Williams look at readily available and frequently overlooked information (open sources) and draw informed conclusions. They surmise that there may be a secret arms deal. They need to find the buyer who will lead them to the weapons’ destination. Others become aware of their investigation, and their lives depend on anticipating the next move of whoever is behind the arms deal. Frick’s social and political references are current – feelings from the Cold War are still brewing and the world climate is set at a constant paranoia.

 

Frick’s characters are authentic and likeable. Williams has everything to gain by cracking such a high profile case. Shenk is happy with the status quo and has nothing to gain other than to reveal the truth behind a possible conspiracy. The dialogue is believable and fast-paced. Readers learn how Frick’s characters tick from the inside out. Frick is a naval officer and his extensive knowledge of the Middle East and maritime piracy is evident in this thrilling book.

 

     - San Francisco Book Review, December 2011

 


 

Rarely does a thriller come out that is intelligent, suspenseful and entertaining without the macho bravado main lead or a bag of tricks that will save the world. Open Source by Matthew M. Frick is the best thriller that I have read in the past year. I don't say that lightly because I love a good thriller. Right from page one, I could tell that the author, Frick, had a smart, savvy writing style that gets right to the point. What a story! A hijacked freighter in the Baltics sets in motion a current political whodunit with the unlikeliest of characters: Casey Shenk, a South Georgian vending machine driver, blogs about what he reads between the lines in news stories; and Susan Williams, an analyst for IWG, a political think tank in NY. A harmless blog post about the freighter changes Casey’s life. Foreign intelligence agencies want the truth kept quiet. Susan finds Casey’s post and then his theories receive the interest they deserve, but bring much more lethal response than expected. Casey and Susan unravel the strings of mistruths and deception so they can warn the world.

Frick's knowledge of the Middle Eastern geopolitical labyrinth is astounding. It was like I was plugged into a news feed a couple of times from the extraordinary insight that he offers. It seems that Frick's knowledge and experience as an active Naval officer certainly doesn't hurt, but to have a smooth writing style that competes with the best of them, it is a potent combination. I would highly recommend reading Open Source and hope that this will be one of many from this author.

 

     - TopBookReviewers.com, March 2011


M.M. Frick, an active duty Naval officer who has traveled the world’s geo-political landscape, has written an enjoyable thriller from an unconventional perspective. The main characters are a vending machine stocker in Savannah, Ga. – a self-described “nobody” – and a sharp intelligence analyst working for a high-powered consulting firm in New York City.

The two cross paths when Casey Shenk, the vending stocker everyman who mulls over international political puzzles on his blog as a hobby, writes about a hijacked Russian ship in the Baltic Sea. The ship turns out to have stolen missiles on board – something Susan Williams, the analyst, is investigating but that Shenk has already figured out.

Williams contacts Shenk because of his uncannily accurate assumptions, arrived at just by using “open sources” on the Web. While Shenk’s blog brings the two together, it also attracts the attention of someone from St. Petersburg, Russia, who posts a threat on Shenk’s blog to back off.

Although the book starts off a little slow – Frick did a lot of research on how a vending machine deliveryman does his job, and proves it by inserting a lot of details – it picks up steam several chapters in, and halfway through the book, the reader can visualize Open Source as a taut thriller on a movie screen.

The story tumbles along, making smart connections along the way, inviting the reader to think like the blogger, Shenk. The plot puts together pieces of the international puzzle – Russian missiles, rogue Iranian military leaders, Israeli machinations and an outlying plotline about a lone Arab man’s need for revenge – until they fit perfectly in a breathless conclusion.

Highly recommended for fans of Barry Eisler’s “John Rain” series of thrillers.

     - BlueInk Review, Starred Review, April 2011

 


 

The best part of this book was the ending. The author has really done a good job on this book. His knowledge flows in just the right manner. This really could have been. The characters are all strong. This is not a book just for the guys with all the suspense and thrills any woman would want to read this book as well. It was hard for me to put down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how it was going to be taken care of. Hopefully there is another book coming along and I know it will be just as good.

 

     - Babs Book Bistro, April 2011


A hijacked ship turns into something far worse for Casey Shenk. "Open Source" tells the story of Casey and his pursuit of justice when a ship is hijacked. With theories and reasoning to why it happened, his ideas come to be true, but being right has its own penalty as he and his newest friend Susan Williams find themselves in the crosshairs of international intrigue. "Open Source" is a riveting read that will be hard to put down.

     - Midwest Book Review, November 2010


A new character is formed into "reading reality" by the name of Casey Shenk, in the premier novel "Open Source," by M. M. Frick. A crossover between James Bond and Jason Bourne, Casey Shenk boldly has the fate of the world rest on the outcome of his mission as he peels the onion of international politics within the framework of the Middle East's controversy.

 

Having a natural talent for writing suspense and international espionage events, Matthew M. Frick is comfortable describing the minutia of detail regarding the inner workings and intricacies of the black-ops, secret political underpinnings and contrivances of what lies beneath the world news headlines. Beginning with a news bite about a highjacking of a freight vessel MV Baltic Venture, Casey picks up the scent of something being out of the ordinary from an Internet story. Teaming up with Susan Williams from the Intelligence Watch Group in New York, they begin a path that leads them through the maze of global geopolitics and into the realm of world power and clandestine operations. Tracing the voyage of the MV Baltic Venture's log, they come across a scheduled stop in Kaliningrad, where the loading of lumber from Finland reveals a stash of Soviet built missiles destined for Iran were placed within the cargo hold. As they unravel the whereabouts of the weapons, they discover the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a secret visit to Russia and from there begin to connect the dots.

M.M. Frick adopts a style and ease of writing which is bold, smart, and immeasurably elaborates in military terms, weaponry details, location and ways of secret political workings not known to ordinary people. This magnifies to storyline to a heightened level of credibility, and embellishes the character development into truly realistic proportions. Wrapped up with a fast and consistent pace, the book is a pleasure to page and plays out like a movie within one's mind, going between narration and dialogue, plot underpinnings and action. In total control of the reader's knowledge base, Frick embarks on a "good vs. evil" battle behind the scenes where the integrity of world peace lies at the brink of disaster while ordinary people go about their ways, oblivious to what lies beneath the headline news.

Matthew M. Frick has "hit one over the wall" with his debut novel. His experience as an active Naval Officer and experience living overseas has noticeably enabled him to write with authority and confidence bringing a wealth of knowledge not generally known to the public to the reader's attention. This results in a novel not only fun but very educational. "Open Source" is a perfect book for potential screenplay adaptation and the making into a block-buster movie. I hope he continues the exploits of Casey Shenk in future work, and brings out more from the creatively complex mind of M. M. Frick.

     - Pacific Book Review, September 2010


Casey Shenk is an ordinary man, living an ordinary life, with a sub-ordinary job, two ordinary friends and one unusual passion: blogging about world politics. He speaks only English, has a rather pedestrian education and loves spending time in lower class bars: but he is curious about the world he lives in, he doesn't tire easily, and enjoys solving puzzles. The problem is that he also likes publishing his opinions and findings on the internet.

 

This is dangerous.

 

Intrigued by a bizarre news item, he uses his Google-fu to scour the public internet for clues and explanations; based on what he finds in open sources he assembles a plausible hypothesis, and posts it on his blog. The hypothesis is more right than wrong, and powerful people take notice; some see him as a problem to be solved once and for all, while others see him as a potential resource to be used.

"Open Source" is a good and unusual thriller. In contrast to the trend of ever more frantic action, the book returns to the humane pace of yesteryear, allowing the characters to eat, drink, sleep, think and work. The incipient relationship between the two main characters is well handled, and a joy to follow. The characters move at their own pace in a rich environment. The plot unfolds gradually, making the reader wish it would never end.

This book could be the beginning of an excellent series; I am looking forward for a continuation, or indeed for any new book by Matthew Frick.

     - AlxP64, Amazon Reviewer, August 2011


A compelling story about a small town vending route driver who finds himself in the middle of an International incident. Casey Shenk is a regular guy who works a blue collar job driving a vending machine route. Casey's life is changed when he posts online about his thoughts regarding a cargo ship that may be carrying stolen Russian missiles. Casey finds himself on the wrong side of powerful people, and the only person who can help him stay alive is Susan Williams, an intelligence analyst from the Intelligence Watch Group. Open Source i[s] an exciting read and has characters we feel we know from our own hometowns. The book is intriguing and following Casey's journey to save his own life and expose the truth is enjoyable. If you enjoy thrillers, Open Source should be on your reading list.

 

     - Book Reviews Weekly, May 2011