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Chris Allen, AuthorBy Expert Author: Ned Shaffer
“The two thirty-eights roared simultaneous.” This is my most loved opening line, says author Chris Allen. “It’s all an action writer hopes to do, teasing the reader about what’s to come.”
The line , from Ian Fleming, opens “Moonraker,” the third story in the James Bond series . The guns don’t roar in an exotic location; Bond is not in a deadly shootout with a gruesome villain. No, he’s on a shooting range, far below the streets of London, requalifying, as a good public servant must, on basic skills.
Alex Morgan, the Allen hero, is public servant, as is Bond. Morgan works search and destroy missions for INTREPID: the Intelligence, Recovery, Protection and Infiltration Division of Interpol. What Interpol can’t do openly, Intrepid does furtively.
INTREPID is different from MI6. INTREPID has a global decree; MI6 protects mostly British interests. Although deeply secretive , MI6 is a civil service agency. INTREPID doesn’t exist.
Ian Fleming worked Naval Intelligence during World War II. The Fleming Flair was to scheme, plot and implement deadly missions, such as the escape from Dieppe; he also came up with quirky ways to anger the enemy. Chris Allen shares the Fleming Flair, not only on the page.
Boyish grin and Gary Cooper, ah-shucks attitude aside, Allen is as much Bond as he is Fleming. After Trinity College high school, he joined the Australian Army. At 22, Allen was a lieutenant and, eventually, a Major. He qualified as a paratrooper in Australia, England and France as well as attaching to the New Zealand and British Armies. He deployed to South East Asia, Africa and Central America.
Following 9/11, Allen joined the Australian Federal Police Protective Service and led Counter Terrorist First Response measures at Sydney Airport. Bob Carr, then premier of New South Wales, recruited Allen to oversee and upgrade security at the most iconic landmark in Australia, the Sydney Opera House, on which someone spray-painted, “No War, in March 2003. From 2008 to 2012, Allen was Sheriff of New South Wales, a storybook job, in Australia.
The Morgan tales, “Defender” and “Hunter,” are supposedly fiction. The action is plausible . There’s a “been there, done that” feel to the confidence with which Chris Allen writes.
Alex Morgan is part James Bond and part Mike Hammer. Bond and Morgan are simple, direct and effective. Selected, readied and set for brutal efficiency, Morgan, as needed, is as ruthless a judge as is Hammer.
More Bond than Hammer, Alex Morgan is a true servant of global security . Bond and Hammer often shrink to cartoons, not Morgan. What someone said of Bond applies most to Morgan: he’s the bad person smouldering inside every good person.
Morgan is a believable hero. He’s not alone, sharing a shortlist with Marlowe, Spade, Archer and McGee. Each acts on a higher purpose, to purge evil and remain honest.
In this interview, Chris Allen talks freely, of how Alex Morgan came about, how he develops and writes the stories as well as his hopes that Morgan translates to film, well.
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