Letter #391, August 7, 2012
is a synopsis of a book by a local author whose latest volume has just
been released. The author is Robert "Clay" Cunningham and the novel is
an espionage thriller based on his own experiences in military counterintelligence
in the Southwest. It is now available on Amazon,
and Noble, and Books-A-Million
websites. It is available in hard cover, paperback, and ebook (Kindle,
think that this story would be of interest to many who either live or
have lived in the Blacklick Valley. He uses local last names from friends
in Nanty Glo, and Cody, Wyoming, for informants, FBI, CIA agents, and
Army Security Agency personnel. However, the master KGB spy Alexander
Feklisov and Ed Simmers, a real life cryptologist from Nanty Glo, are
graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is married to Betty
Dean (Kerr) Cunningham, formerly of Nanty Glo. They live in Cody, Wyoming,
where Bob retired from the Department of the Interior. He has written
other books dealing with his experiences as a park ranger in Denali National
Park and Yellowstone National Park.
By Clay Cunningham
Christmas Drink is a military historic fiction novel based on experiences
which, by law, were prevented from being revealed for fifty years.
novel involves two athletic, intelligent, nineteen-year-old high school
graduates who join the U.S. Army. Both are from Pennsylvania; Fred Coulter,
from Allentown, joined the army because he felt he needed more time and
experience to make a wise selection for a career and what to study in
college. John David Dalton (J.D.) is from Nanty Glo, a small coal-mining
town. He joined because his family could not afford college and he wanted
the GI Bill for his education. Both are chosen and trained as counterintelligence
agents, because the army needed two intelligent, athletic young men who
would fit in with the GIs who filled the Juarez, Mexico, bars every weekend.
attraction for the numerous GIs rushing to Juarez every weekend was the
raucous night life, prostitutes, and fifteen-cent drinks there in 1955-1958.
The Russian KGB took advantage of the presence of those missile and weapons
specialists from Biggs Strategic Air Command Base and Ft. Bliss across
the border in El Paso, and from White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico.
Russian enemy agents were pumping the GIs in the Juarez bars for information
and paying informants to tell them about America's weapon technologies.
massive Russian spy ring was allegedly headed up by the master spy who
lifted America's atom bomb technology from Los Alamos in the 1940s. Code
named Perseus by American intelligence, Alexander Feklisov controlled
spies in Juarez, White Sands, and Las Cruces. One of the Russian agents,
Tonya Darling, who worked for the chief scientist at White Sands, falls
in love with J.D.'s partner.
and J.D. work with a team including members of the FBI, CIA, and the Army
Security Agency communications personnel to eventually break up the spy
ring. An important aspect of the story is the constant effort Fred and
J.D. expend planning for their future in seeking a college education.
The two walk on the New Mexico A&M spring baseball practice and earn a
four-year scholarship to play both football and baseball for the university.
However, their athletic prowess leads Feklisov to discover that they are
intelligence agents. Feklisov is forced to abandon his operation, but
he plans to harm or eliminate Fred and J.D. before he leaves with his
pilfered weapons data.
and J.D. work under the guidance and care of Major Melvin Tyler, a former
Office of Strategic Services spy who worked in Germany during World War
II. He and his wife Delores look after the teenage counterspies like they
were their own children, none of which they had.
and Fred are also involved in infiltrating other military installations
as a test of their security readiness, and UFO investigations at White
Sands. Their scholarships at New Mexico A&M after they are discharged
are put in jeopardy when the university fires the coach.
is a story involving real problems of two young men in the 1950s, their
mature thinking, their loves, disappointments, friendships, patriotism,
intelligence investigation techniques, and a look at the cold war activities
between two super powers at that time.