One might think that as a lowly book reviewer I do not get to meet interesting people. I spend my days with my nose buried in books, how can I possibly meet interesting people? Well it happens more often than you might think.

My wife Jan has coined the phrase “Your new best friend”. These new best friends never cease to amaze her, from Hall of Fame musicians, FBI types, ex-mobsters, Bounty Hunters, oh the list is long. Our desks are about three feet from each other and when you combine her hearing that is more acute than a bat’s, together with her new bi-focals, there is little that slips by her.

A few days ago I received a phone call, Jan waited until the conversation had ended and merely commented “that’s another new best friend isn’t it”, then went on to inquire what the danger level was and if we needed to move to a different state?

“Oh no” I replied, he is just an author who happens to work in an interesting field. I could tell that Jan was not going to give up this interrogation any time soon, so had to admit that I had been talking to D. Alan Johnson who was a private government contractor. “I know you Simon, this is not a guy who supplies paper-clips and stationary to the local Department of Motor Vehicles I’ll bet he works for one of them government agencies with a three letter name”!

I was busted! I had to admit that David is a private military contractor, and his first foray into that world was as part of the Iran Contra affair that got Oliver North so much unneeded attention. The political world is a very strange one. What is hugely popular with one agency, is equally unpopular with another. The one constant in all of this is that when an operation becomes compromised, the rush to judgement is faster than an Olympic 100 meter gold medallist.

D. Alan Johnson has a novel that has just been published. Asgaard takes us into Africa, a place he knows very well. On the surface it is just a fine action adventure story. However if you peek under the skirts you start to see a very different picture emerge, the tenuous relationship between the US Government, large corporations, private contractors, and the host country, despots, warts and all!

David was on a tight schedule but between meetings, and a flight to lord knows where, he did send me a copy of another of his books. You too can become a private government contractor, and David walks you through the steps!

One of the aspects that make this book so unique are the personal stories that are included. I  was hooked!

I am waiting for David to return from his latest adventure which will be in mid April and do plan on interviewing him about his life as a private military contractor. If you are looking for some adventure in your life, this could be the career for you. Of course it is not without an element of danger, occasionally people do fire weapons in your general direction. And being in the wrong place at the wrong time could result in a lengthy all expenses paid vacation behind bars.

Simon Barrett

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