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About Stephan Talty
Stephan Talty is the NY Times bestselling author of six acclaimed nonfiction books, as well as two crime novels, "Black Irish" and "Hangman," set in his hometown of Buffalo. He's written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Playboy, the Chicago Review and many others. Talty's ebook, "The Secret Agent," was a #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in nonfiction.
Talty lives outside New York City with his wife and two children. You can visit his website at www.stephantalty.com.
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Titles By Stephan Talty
--President Barack Obama
It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.
"It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said.
And he's right.
A Captain's Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking--the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
One American aviator, who knew our most important secrets, crashed behind enemy lines and risked capture by both the North Vietnamese and the Soviets. One Navy SEAL and his Vietnamese partner had to sneak past them all to save him.
At the height of the Vietnam War, few American airmen are more valuable than Lieutenant Colonel Gene Hambleton. His memory is filled with highly classified information that the Soviets and North Vietnamese badly want. When Hambleton is shot down in the midst of North Vietnam’s Easter Offensive, US forces place the entire war on hold to save a single man hiding among 30,000 enemy troops and tanks. Airborne rescue missions fail, killing eleven Americans. Finally, Navy SEAL Thomas Norris and his Vietnamese guide, Nguyen Van Kiet, volunteer to go after him on foot. Gliding past hundreds of enemy soldiers, it takes them days to reach Hambleton, who, guided toward his rescuers via improvised radio code, is barely alive, deeply malnourished, and hallucinating after eleven days on the run.
In this deeply researched, untold story, award-winning author Stephan Talty describes the extraordinary mission that led Hambleton to safety. Drawing from dozens of interviews and access to unpublished papers, Saving Bravo is the riveting story of one of the greatest rescue missions in the history of the Special Forces.
The untold story of an Israeli spy’s epic journey to bring the notorious Butcher of Latvia to justice—a case that altered the fates of all ex-Nazis.
Before World War II, Herbert Cukurs was a famous figure in his small Latvian city, the “Charles Lindbergh of his country”. But he was soon better known as the Butcher of Latvia, a man who murdered some thirty thousand Jews. By 1965, a statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes threatened to expire, potentially absolving ex-Nazis like Cukurs of their crimes. Jacob Medad, the misfit Mossad agent who had previously kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, knew if Cukurs was not captured soon, he may never be brought to justice. In a thrilling undercover operation, Medad traveled to Cukurs’ new home in Brazil in an elaborate disguise, befriended him, and earned his trust, while negotiations to extend Nazi innocence neared a boiling point.
This “gripping account” of the early 20th century organized crime ring chronicles “a lurid and little-known episode in American history” (The Washington Post).
Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave stirred New York City, then the entire country, into panic. The children of Italian immigrants were being kidnapped and dozens of innocent victims gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths.
The perpetrators’ only calling card was the symbol of a black hand. Standing between the American public and the Society of the Black Hand was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed “the Italian Sherlock Holmes,” Petrosino was an ingenious detective and master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre, Petrosino and his all-Italian police squad raced to capture members of the secret society before the nation’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe.The Black Hand is a “taut, brisk, and very cinematic” true crime history of America at the dawn of the 20th century (Newsday).
From the author of The Good Assassin and Saving Bravo, the real-life spy story of a Spanish farmer-turned-spy who helped defeat the Nazis.
Before he remade himself as the master spy known as Garbo, Juan Pujol was nothing more than a Barcelona poultry farmer. But as Garbo, he turned in a masterpiece of deception that changed the course of World War II. Posing as the Nazis’ only reliable spy inside England, he created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents to life. The scheme culminated on June 6, 1944, when Garbo convinced the Germans that the Allied forces approaching Normandy were just a feint—the real invasion would come at Calais. Because of his brilliant trickery, the Allies were able to land with much less opposition and eventually push on to Berlin.
As incredible as it sounds, everything in Agent Garbo is true, based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol’s family. This pulse-pounding thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception reveals the shocking reality of spycraft that occurs just below the surface of history.
“The book presses ever forward down a path of historical marvels and astonishing facts. The effect is like a master class that’s accessible to anyone, and Agent Garbo often reads as though it were written in a single, perfect draft.” —The Atlantic
“Stephan Talty’s unsurpassed research brings forth one of the war’s greatest agents in a must-read book for those who think they know all the great World War II stories.” —Gregory Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500
“In Stephan Talty’s hands, the brilliant Captain Morgan, wicked and cutthroat though he was, proves an irresistible hero. . . . A thrilling and fascinating adventure.”—Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The Bounty
The passion and violence of the age of exploration and empire come to vivid life in this story of the legendary pirate who took on the greatest military power on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades. Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler, Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the life and times of Henry Morgan and the real pirates of the Caribbean.
Speed Girl is the true story of how aerospace engineer turned race-car driver Janet Guthrie triumphed over hostility, chauvinism—even sabotage—to become the first woman to finish the Indianapolis 500.
It’s the 1970s, and the fight for women’s rights is gaining speed. In the sports world, Billie Jean King is breaking gender barriers on the tennis court. Janet Guthrie doesn’t consider herself a “women’s libber,” but to racing’s good ol’ boys, she’s a threat. When Guthrie makes a bid for Indy in 1976, the other drivers slam her mercilessly, even suggesting she’s really a man. Fans heckle her, hoping she’ll crash. Guthrie smiles through the pain and qualifies for Indy in 1978. And even a broken wrist and a rift on her team can’t derail her—she finishes in the top ten.
Bestselling author Stephan Talty’s riveting biography brings Guthrie’s passion and persistence vividly to life. With gripping realism, Speed Girl immerses readers in the untold story of the woman who came to Indy a racer and left a trailblazer.
“Gripping . . . Talty brings international politics and science together in a compelling story of personal hubris and humbling defeat.”—Jack Weatherford, author of the New York Times bestseller Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable.
Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force. But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon’s men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor’s progress to a halt. Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers.
The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor’s dreams of world conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.
In 1942, the Brooklyn-born Erickson was a millionaire oil mogul who volunteered for a dangerous mission inside the Third Reich: locating the top-secret synthetic oil plants that kept the German war machine running. To fool the Nazis, Erickson played the role of a collaborator. He hung a portrait of Hitler in his apartment and “disowned” his Jewish best friend, then flew to Berlin, where he charmed Himmler and signed lucrative oil deals with the architects of the Final Solution. All the while, he was visiting the oil refineries and passing their coordinates to Allied Bomber Command, who destroyed the plants in a series of B-17 raids, helping to end the war early.
After the war, Erickson's was revealed as a secret agent and received the Medal of Freedom for his bravery. William Holden even played him in a hit Hollywood movie. For a brief moment in the early '60s, Erickson was the most famous spy in the world. His secret? He hadn't played a Nazi collaborator. He'd actually been one - a war profiteer who'd made millions of trading with Hitler before having a change of heart. Black-listed by the Allies and disowned by his family, Erickson had volunteered for the spy mission in order to redeem himself, and ended up saving thousands of Allied lives.
Based on newly-discovered archives in Sweden, The Secret Agent is a riveting piece of narrative nonfiction that tells the true story of Erickson's remarkable life for the first time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephan Talty is the author of five acclaimed non-fiction books, including Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Spy Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day. He's written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Men's Journal and many other publications.
“The captivating start of a brilliant thriller series.”—Tess Gerritsen
Absalom “Abbie” Kearney grew up an outsider in her own hometown. Even being the adopted daughter of a revered cop couldn’t keep Abbie’s troubled past from making her a misfit in the working-class Irish American enclave of South Buffalo. And now, despite a Harvard degree and a police detective’s badge, she still struggles to earn the respect and trust of those she’s sworn to protect. But all that may change, once the killing starts.
When Jimmy Ryan’s mangled corpse is found in a local church basement, this sadistic sacrilege sends a bone-deep chill through the winter-whipped city. It also seems to send a message—one that Abbie believes only the fiercely secretive citizens of the neighborhood known as “the County” understand. But in a town ruled by an old-world code of silence and secrecy, her search for answers is stonewalled at every turn, even by fellow cops. Only when Abbie finds a lead at the Gaelic Club, where war stories, gossip, and confidences flow as freely as the drink, do tongues begin to wag—with desperate warnings and dire threats. And when the killer’s mysterious calling card appears on her own doorstep, the hunt takes a shocking twist into her own family’s past. As the grisly murders and grim revelations multiply, Abbie wages a chilling battle of wits with a maniac who sees into her soul, and she swears to expose the County’s hidden history—one bloody body at a time.
With Black Irish, Stephen Talty stakes a place beside Jo Nesbø, John Sandford, and Tana French on the cutting edge of psychological crime thrillers.
“A brilliant thriller series.”—Tess Gerritsen
Hangman, Hangman, what do you see? Four little girls, as cute as can be. The eerie schoolyard chant still sends ripples of horror through North Buffalo. Not so long ago, serial killer Marcus Flynn preyed upon the community’s teenaged daughters—until he was cornered and shot in the head. But Flynn lived, carrying to prison the nickname “Hangman,” along with the secret of his last victim’s fate. Homicide cop Abbie Kearney wasn’t around during Hangman’s reign of terror. She hadn’t yet come home to wear her dad’s old badge in the tough Irish American stronghold known as “the County.” Abbie had never experienced firsthand the horror of Hangman. Until now.
Hangman, Hangman, where do they go? Down on the ground, where the daffodils grow. A corrections officer lies dead, a prison van stands empty . . . and somewhere out there, the monster who condemned innocents to death at the end of a rope watches and waits to strike again. Abbie leads a desperate manhunt through a city driven to its knees by fear, matching wits with a predator as brilliant as he is elusive. But as more victims are claimed, a rising tide of secrecy, paranoia, and politics forces her to realize that stepping beyond the law may be the only way to find justice. Because with each passing hour, the stakes grow higher—and Hangman’s noose gets tighter.