Chasing the White LionFebruary 13, 2020
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Welcome! I'm former stealth pilot and tactical deception officer James R. Hannibal, My latest spy thriller, The Paris Betrayal, is coming on May 4th (one of my favorite holidays). Company agent Ben Calix is at the top of his game. He's based in Paris, his favorite city, leading his own team of operatives, and starting a secret romance. Life is great. And then it all falls apart.
A sniper's bullet ricochets off the bricks next to Ben's head and starts the string of falling dominoes. Enemy operatives are everywhere. A French counter-terrorism unit is after him. And when he calls for help from the Company, things only get worse. This is a severance—when the Company sends a spy out into the cold. But why?
To find answers, Ben must seek out the sniper who tried to kill him, the doctor who saved his life on his first mission, the schoolmaster who trained him, and the genius hacker who betrayed him. And through it all, he must still try to stop an impending attack.
For Ben's journey, I called upon my background in intelligence and field work as both a man on the ground and a combat pilot. I drew from the wisdom offered to me by real spymasters during my training. And, of course, I did some research to fill in the gaps. So here are a couple of life-saving spy hacks I considered during the creation of The Paris Betrayal.
Spy Hacks: Life Hacks for Survival
When danger and disaster strike, a little knowledge goes a long way. You don't have to be a spy to need these two life saving hacks.
Time and Distance
When a look from a stranger chilled your spine, or a crowd is getting rowdy, listen to your instincts and remove yourself from the situation.
It's simple. The longer you stay near a potential hazard, the more you increase your statistical risk. So bug out, and bug out far. But there's more to it. Once you've removed yourself by a reasonable distance and mitigated the threat, slow down and make a solid plan. What's your best way out? Do you really want to head into the poorly lit parking garage where you left your car, or is the train or a bus a better option? Ignore convenience and think survival.
Falling Through the Ice
What do you do when the ice breaks and the lake swallows you whole? If you can keep your head above water and a hand on solid ice, kick, pull yourself up, and flop out like a seal. But when the initial fall takes you below the surface, your best bet is to go deeper.
Under water, our bodies move at strange angles that we don't feel. To find your way out, you'll need a broader perspective. Let yourself sink deeper, maybe not as far as the silt, but enough to get a broader view of the surface. Now comes the pain. Open your eyes and find the brightest patch of light—the hole where you fell through. Like the nearest airplane emergency exit, keep in mind that it might be behind you. Once you've got the hole, lock it with your gaze and don't look away. Kick with everything you've got and try to shoot your arms as far out onto the ice as you can. Then go back to exiting like a seal.
Bonus Water Hack: Did you know that a few water bottles can become a life preserver? If the fishing boat is going down and the captain failed to bring life preservers, don't fret. Grab four or five plastic bottles from the cooler, dump out their contents, and shove them down your shirt. Tie the shirt off at the bottom to keep them in. A belt or bungee cord works even better.