What Spooks Really Do

I write spy thrillers. At least one so far. I’m working on the sequel. When people ask me to describe my main character, Gordon McAllister, I’m sort of at a loss for words. He’s an assassin, but he’s also an executive recruiter, a perfect cover that allows him to travel without drawing attention to his real mission. He’s not James Bond, not Jack Bauer, not Jason Bourne (what is it with J first names in the assassin biz?), or an amalgamation of any of them. He’s an ordinary man by design. Sure, he’s a trained killer, someone you don’t meet every day.

Or do you?

See, the best covert operatives never look the part. They don’t have the carefully arranged hair, the chiseled jaw, the perfect physique. The best covert operatives don’t look any different from the rest of us. That’s by design. It’s kind of hard to be covert if you stand out in a crowd.

Fellow author Piper Bayard writes with a partner who is one of those real life covert operatives, or “spooks” as they are called in the industry.

So what do spooks do in real life? How is the real world of covert ops different from Hollywood’s usually inaccurate portrayal? Let’s go straight to the source: