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Aiden Bailey
Espionage Techno-Thriller Fiction
Espionage Techno-Thriller Fiction

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In early 2015 I was approached by a Canadian publisher to write a James Bond novella.

That’s like, Wow, right?

CasinoRoyaleActually, no … not really. I quickly discovered that this wasn’t anywhere near as prestigious as it first seemed. At the time, in several countries across the world, the James Bond novels, penned by Ian Fleming, had just passed into the public domain. Those countries which honored the death-of-the-author-plus-fifty-years-until-copyright-expired-law included New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and many other smaller nations. I was one of several authors approached to write a Bond adventure for a Canadian imprint. It wasn’t the only publishing house doing so, because at that moment, anyone could publish Bond fiction providing it was sold only in countries where the copyright had expired.

I soon discovered that this exciting opportunity was far more complicated than my initial jubilation had suggested. The laws of the United States, the European Union and Australia (my home country) determined copyright to expire seventy years past the author’s death. This meant that anything related to James Bond remained the property of the Fleming Estate in those countries, at least until 2035, unless someone changed the law.

Looking further into the opportunity, I soon realized the situation was even more complicated. For example, anything that first appeared in a Bond film was, strictly, not public domain, even such things as Bond’s penchant for witticisms after the death of an adversary, Blofeld’s white cat, almost all the gadgets and even Miss Moneypenny’s flirting with James Bond. In addition to this, there were many continuation novels by other authors, which were not yet public domain either.

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The second of my Thrilling Location articles for my espionage technothriller novel, The Benevolent Deception, is out now. Here I describe on my blog places featured in the middle part of the novel covering Germany, the United Kingdom and Central Kenya.

I hope you enjoy.
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On publishing news, The Assyrian Contraband is now available in print format at Amazon US and Amazon UK. I had been considering saving up my novellas until I was ready to print three or more in an anthology, and I still might, but I also thought there was no harm in getting them out in physical copies at the same time they are released digitally.

As for the Kindle or PDF ebook version of The Assyrian Contraband, well you can read that for FREE just by signing up to my mailing list ( ). An email is all I need from you, no other identifiers required, for 70 pages of non-stop action and adventure on a tropical but toxic island off the coast of East Africa, featuring Simon Ashcroft from The Benevolent Deception.

You can also read my novella on Kindle from Amazon in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and all other Amazon sites.
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A former counter-terrorism agent risks it all to save two sisters from the worst kind of death . . .

As a former intelligence officer and counter-terrorism expert, Simon Ashcroft thought he’d left the violent world of insurgency behind him, until a young woman is kidnapped and Ashcroft is tasked to rescue her.

A trail of clues leads a wary Ashcroft and the woman’s distressed sister to a remote tropical island, where they quickly confront an army of murderous thugs and a bloody trail of bodies. The rescue mission is anything but straightforward, and Ashcroft realizes there is more to this mystery than a simple kidnapping.

When the enemy reveals himself, he is everything Ashcroft expects and worse, a ruthless financier of global terrorism, willing to destroy anyone threatening his illicit cash pipeline funding the world’s cruelest and most barbaric ideology, the Islamic State.

Kidnapping was only ever the beginning . . .

“Mr. Bailey’s plots are layered and complex, but like all great writers, he makes it seem effortless.” – Andrew Warren, author of the Thomas Caine series

“Simon Ashcroft is a great tough guy character, and I’ve really enjoyed how versatile he is, and the situations he finds himself in.” – Todd Simpson, Top 50 Amazon Reviewer

Discover the new action hero, Simon Ashcroft. If you like Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp and Jason Bourne, you’ll love Simon Ashcroft. Reviews say: “a nail-biting, hold onto your seats ride that just doesn't stop” and “a gripping page turner and I stayed up too late reading it.”
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A former spy must protect the one woman who might just unlock the truth behind the world’s worst cyberterrorism attack . . .

Former intelligence officer and counter-terrorism expert, Simon Ashcroft, once believed he made a difference defending the people of the war-torn, polluted oil fields of West Africa, but not anymore. When a botched security operation kills an oil executive on his watch, Ashcroft suspects his career is over. Instead he’s offered an alternative mission: protect Casey Irvine, a tourist on safari in Kenya.

But Kenya is nothing that Ashcroft expects it to be, and far deadlier than he was led to believe. First wildlife poachers, then the police and even the military will stop at nothing to assassinate Casey, and she has no idea why.

As Ashcroft and Casey are pursued across the savannas of East Africa, Ashcroft soon realizes they are embroiled in a global conspiracy that threatens the lives of millions of people. Unseen cyberterrorists have hacked all the information networks unleashing a new and frighteningly unexpected technology, the ‘Benevolent Program’ enabling them to impersonate the U.S. President, control global arms supplies, direct military forces and manipulate all trusted media sources.

But who is behind these cyber-attacks causing the world to fall apart, and why is Casey central to this conspiracy?

The chase is on, as Ashcroft battles to keep Casey alive and their movements off the grid, until they can expose the real perpetrators behind the Benevolent Deception.

"A complex and twisting plot that never fails to thrill." – Rob Sinclair, author of the James Ryker and Enemy series

“An altogether unique and unforgettable thriller.” – Andrew Warren, author of the Thomas Caine series

A thrilling espionage adventure with non-stop action, and twists and turns you won’t see coming. If you like Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp and Jason Bourne, you’ll love this first novel in the Benevolent Series from Aiden L Bailey, featuring the new action hero, Simon Ashcroft.
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I’ve been a recent convert to the Mitch Rapp novels by the late U.S. thriller author Vince Flynn, starting with The Last Man and then moving onto earlier books. Flynn’s style is realistic action with sharp prose and multi-dimensional characters – even when they are psychopathic terrorists or narcissistic congressmen. But what I like most about the Rapp character is his doggedness to do what is right, regardless of the impacts on the people around him, even his closest all allies and friends. Saving the world always comes first despite the costs.

AmericanAssassin-BookCoverAmerican Assassin was the second Mitch Rapp novel that I read, a great origin story for Mitch Rapp, a CIA government assassin. Flynn turned many conventions of the genre on its head, taking the Jack Reacher model of hero development in that when the good guy takes a hit, he hits back harder, unrelenting and without mercy until his foes are utterly destroyed. Some bad guys don’t deserve to live, and characters like Mitch don’t have any regrets at taking on the role of judge, jury and executioner.

[Warning: if you read further, be aware some mild spoilers are found in this review for both the novel and the film.]

There is a great scene in American Assassin where Rapp meets his future mentor, Stan Hurley, a veteran CIA assassin who knows every trick in the book and is more than capable of putting any punk drafted into his training program back in their place. Hurley’s the guy who is supposed to expose Rapp’s weaknesses of character, make him a better agent. But then they go one on one, so Hurley can assess Rapp’s weak spots, break him down before he builds him up again. Problem is, Rapp doesn’t have any weakness and beats Hurley at his own game, crushing him during a dirty tricks fist fight. Immediately we see a change in dynamics. Rapp proves that he is more than aptly qualified in taking down terrorists, and Hurley doesn’t like it.

Rapp origins is circa 1980s when he joins the CIA’s Orion Team, a covert off the books group trained and commissioned with taking down Islamic fundamentalist terrorists across the Middle East, West Asia and North Africa without having to wait for authorization from Congress. When Mitch completes his training, he is sent to Istanbul for his first assassination of an arms dealer, then Germany to follow the money provided by the nefarious Russian Mafia, and finally Beirut during the height of the country’s civil war to rescue American hostages from the various terrorist organisations killing each other in the country.

Flynn certainly knows his Middle East politics and radical Islamist, allowing him to aptly build a compelling and fascinating tale. We also get to see Rapp at his calculating best, able to infiltrate his way into a terrorist organization and trick them into bringing him face to face with the hostages he has been sent to rescue, and then efficiently and calculatedly taking them all out. The novel most definitely demonstrates why Vince Flynn is considered one of the best in the action thriller genre.

AmericanAssassin-MoviePosterI’m a firm believer that films and television shows, and the novels they are based on, are very different mediums. One medium is not necessarily better than the other, just different. Films are great at showing us much in the visuals and sounds of a scene that might take paragraphs to describe in a novel, and dialogue can be shorter because the actors can express so much more through unspoken emotions. I therefore was expecting a different story for the film American Assassin, and I was okay with that. What I wasn’t expecting was a depowering of Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), and a simplification of the Islamic fundamentalist world Rapp operates in by taking it away from the plot all together. Rapp with Middle Eastern terrorists is a bit like James Bond without megalomaniac deformed villains.

On the first point, in the movie Rapp comes across as a hot headed, loose cannon who needs to be reined in by Hurley (Michael Keaton) and the CIA team. Then to really ruin it, the Hurley in the film is a far more capable warrior than Rapp, able to put the young rookie agent in his place with a few simple punches. The Rapp of the movie is a weakling compared to the books. Combine this with his recklessness, and what you get in the film is an absence of all the cool moments when Rapp can take control of a situation and command spectacular outcomes, even when outgunned.

The second problem was the ho-hum plot. Rogue CIA agent who was trained with the same skills as Rapp feels betrayed by his own people, has a tantrum and therefore extracts revenge by stealing a nuclear weapon and threatens America with it. How many times have we seen this plot before? I’m not sure if a similar plot was adapted from one of the other Mitch Rapp novels I have yet to read, but it didn’t feel like something Flynn would have written. I wish they’d stuck closer to the original American Assassin plot here, and made the story more interesting than it was.

Keeping on the plot, the whole complexity of Middle East fundamentalist insurgency was ignored other than a light introduction to Rapp’s character. The physical Middle East setting was also absent, and instead focused entirely on what a significant number of Hollywood films consider to be the only overseas location for spy movies: Europe.

AmericanAssassin-MitchRapp2But I do appreciate the Middle East situation is complex, and for most cinema-goers, they don’t want a lesson on politics. Why complicate an action piece with a geopolitical nightmare few really understand, let alone have any real solutions for the mess? So I can understand why the Middle East was played down, but I wish the director and writers hadn’t.

Vince Flynn’s American Assassin the novel is excellent, the movie not so. The latter is far better than the worst Tom Clancy adaptation, but nowhere in the same league as Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne films or Daniel Craig’s James Bond. The United States really needs a new good spy character to build a franchise upon, unfortunately I don’t think this adaptation is going to allow that to happen.

Anyone else seen this film? Read the novel? What do you think of each version? Was one better than the other? Or just different?

#AmericanAssassin #VinceFlynn #NovelReview #FilmReview
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Updated my author photo.
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Today I released new covers for The Benevolent Deception and The Assyrian Contraband, which led me to overhaul other aspects of my marketing. This included updates to the back cover blurbs for the books and my website content. I certainly feel the covers bring a fresh look and better align with the techno-thriller, espionage and action adventure aspects of the stories. I hope you like the new style.

The Assyrian Contraband is a prequel novella to The Benevolent Deception and features Simon Ashcroft before he was embroiled in an international conspiracy of cyberterrorism and global chaos. I’m giving the novella away for free to anyone who signs up to my mailing list ( in either Kindle, ePub or PDF format.

My mailing list is infrequent, predominately to announce books as I release them and for the occasional news or competition. I’d be honored if you join, as it allows me to engage directly with readers like yourself who are interested in my books.

On other news I’m about two-thirds of the way through The Benevolent Conflict and aiming to get it out by the end of the year. So far I’ve written an action sequence on a train journey through Western India, and shootout in the slums of Mumbai, and a terrorist bombing in Abu Dhabi. Simon, Casey, Conner and Peri are all converging and their interactions may not be what you expected. I’m certainly surprised by what’s happening and I’m writing it!

I’ve recently been interviewed by fellow author, Andrew Warren, on his website. If you are interested in gaining some insights into the mind of a thriller author like me, please check it out.

That’s all for now. More news as I progress further into The Benevolent Conflict.


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ANDREW WARREN, author of TOKYO BLACK and RED PHEONIX interviews me on his website

“Aiden L. Bailey’s debut spy thriller is mind-bending, genre-breaking, cliché-twisting… call it whatever you like, just read it!”

That quote is taken from a blurb I wrote for author Aiden L. Bailey’s debut spy thriller, The Benevolent Deception. This unique, action packed novel really broke the mold, and it quickly became a “must read” on my kindle. Now that Aiden has released a prequel, and has begun work on the next book in the series, I thought it would be fun to interview him for the site. I can’t wait to get a look at what twists and turns this fascinating author has in store for thriller fans like myself!

Tell us about yourself… how did you become a writer?

Although I’m originally from Sydney, I have lived and worked all over Australia including in outback mining towns and the remote desert regions. I started as an engineer on oil and gas pipeline and mining construction projects . . .

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Active Measures is an ambitious geopolitical novel where history took a recent alternate route, leading to a series of events that will prove catastrophic to world stability. It is a long and dense novel with intricate political, historical and geographical details demonstrating the painstaking research that the author, first time novelist Matt Fulton, put into developing his book.

Most of the action focuses on the instabilities and insurgents of the Middle East, the corruption of Russia and the questionable activities of the United States’ intelligence agencies. The volumes of information presented on each of these groups leaves no doubt that Fulton is an expert on his subject matters.

There are some great scenes in this book. The one that most comes to mind is a British military intervention onto a cargo ship operating in the Arabian Sea. The action scene is realistic yet exciting and the reveal of the missile launching system demonstrates how far anti-American factions will go to fight their covert war of global terror.

The many plot lines and probably too many characters don’t make is easy to make sense of what is transpiring. But if you persevere the central plot is an interesting one, how the CIA reacts when Iran is suspected of building a nuclear weapons facility deep inside their country. I would have liked Fulton to have incorporated the many plotlines into sequences for maybe four or five at the most central characters so I could feel more invested in the human-level stories I felt the book needed, but that is just a personal preference. I suspect this novel will polarise readers, some will absolutely love what Fulton has done with this book and others will find the investment required of them to keep track of what is going on not for them.

Think Tom Clancy or Terry Hayes in plot complexity, but written in the style of an omnipotent point of view narrative, leaving Active Measures to read more like a series of news articles on unfolding global events than a personal story for any of the main characters. It has a different but refreshing feel to most other espionage political thrillers. A worthy effort for a first-time indie author.

#MattFulton #ActiveMeasures #GoodreadsReivew #PoliticalThriller
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