In former CIA agent Moore’s Down Range (Morrow, Aug.), DEA agent Garrett Kohl brings an Afghan boy home to the Texas Panhandle.
How was the story informed by your own experience as a CIA agent?
I was highly influenced by my CIA experience and contract military work, the latter of which was largely focused on illicit trafficking. I hadn’t seen the scenario of a boy in protective custody before, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The Agency goes to great lengths to protect its foreign assets, which includes putting the lives of their own intelligence officers at risk to ensure the safety of others.
In Down Range you write about collusion between oil companies and drug cartels. Did you have to do much research?
On the cartel side, I mostly fell back on personal knowledge and experience in working in counternarcotics over the years. The oil company part of the story was another matter. To get into some of the more intricate trafficking details and money laundering particulars I had to reach out to a few friends who are seasoned oil and gas operators, landmen, and geologists to make sure my scheme was feasible. Fortunately, I have a good network to rely on for their expertise.
The book deals with the complexities of family ties, especially the relationship between fathers and sons. Why did you find those dynamics interesting to explore?
The relationship between Garrett and his father is an intriguing one. Garrett sees the potential that he could turn into his dad, jaded and alone, and doesn’t want to continue down that path. But the story takes an unexpected turn with the introduction of an Afghan boy into their lives, who both literally and figuratively saves both men. The family changes for the better and ultimately old wounds are healed. Down Range, when it comes down to it, is as much about resolving family turmoil as it is about fighting the bad guys.
What drew you to this particular part of Texas?
Despite growing up in Texas, I’d never really had the opportunity to see much of the Llano Estacado beyond driving through the area on extended road trips. It wasn’t until I moved here and began going out on the big ranches and exploring, that I really got to appreciate the land’s beauty and magnitude. For me, it was like having access to a time machine and being able to travel back to the Old West. The Texas High Plains is a magical place and I tried really hard to effectively capture what it’s like for the reader.