Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812974119, 470pp.
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
Chuck Pfarrer’s acclaimed Warrior Soul has been called one of the finest memoirs of modern Special Operations Forces. Now the decorated Navy SEAL makes his dazzling fiction debut with this gutsy, riveting thriller about the action-packed hunt for history’s most infamous rebel insurgent: Che Guevara.
The year is 1967. Paul Hoyle, a CIA paramilitary officer, has resigned from the agency an incident in Laos that left one man dead and Hoyle’s face scarred by gunshot. But Hoyle is soon drawn back into the agency’s fold, finding himself a “fallen angel,” an independent contractor the U.S. secretly sends to global hot spots.
Bolivia, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is a nation ripe for Communist infiltration and revolution. So the stage is set for a duel between world ideologies, with players from Washington to Moscow to Havana. After a Bolivian army unit is disastrously ambushed, Hoyle is dispatched to South America by a CIA concerned that another Vietnam may be in the works. With Cuban-sponsored guerrillas afoot and a corrupt Bolivian military opposing them, Hoyle finds the jungle a treacherous place where honor and morality are surrendered to the basic business of survival.
Though Che Guevara, the charismatic revolutionary who helped Castro take hold in Cuba, is believed to have been killed in the Congo–or executed by Fidel himself–a rucksack recovered after a deadly gunfight suggests that the Marxist rebel may be heading up this new, highly effective insurgency.
World-weary Hoyle draws ever nearer to the passionate revolutionary, as a struggle between worldviews is fought with automatic weapons in steamy jungles, veiled threats in government offices, and even exchanged secrets in hotel bedrooms–for at the center of this intense cat-and-mouse game are two captivating women who may hold the keys to these men’s destinies. Tania Vünke is Guevara’s crucial undercover operative and occasional lover, a conflicted woman with secrets entrusted to her by Guevara himself. And beautiful Maria Agular is the elegant mistress of the Bolivian minister of information, a tormented soul whom Hoyle dares to trust with both information and his heart.
Terrorism expert Chuck Pfarrer packs this electrifying plot with insider knowledge of intelligence tradecraft. Populated with powerfully drawn characters, Killing Che is a stunning re-creation of a conflict that sealed the fate of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial and complex political figures–a man whose renown continues to grow decades after his violent end.
Praise for Killing Che
"CIA “contractors” get the least desirable jobs, and Paul Hoyle gets the least of the least. It’s 1967, and the Cold War is hot in many places, but Hoyle is in the Bolivian bush to verify the identity of two bodies found in the jungle. Then he meets 'Mr. Smith', who arrives to crush a Communist guerrilla movement, and he learns that their target is the charismatic Che Guevara. Author Pfarrer, a successful screenwriter, is also a former Navy SEAL, and he has written a superior first novel. It has fully fleshed characters, both real and fictional, plenty of action, a tender but fated love affair, interesting bits of tradecraft from spying and soldiering, beaucoup betrayals, an authentic-sounding realpolitik, and a palpable sense of jungle warfare and immoral Third World government. His Che, based on Che’s diaries and much other research, is almost as fascinating as the legend of Che: a skinny, asthma-ridden man with messianic tendencies and a gift for leadership. Hoyle wears his honor on his sleeve, and the reader is left to hope that he emerges with his skin." —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)
"In his first novel, ex-Navy SEAL and screenwriter Pfarrer (Warrior Soul) captures the sense of foreboding surrounding Che's last days. Readers will almost be able to smell the pervading stench of corruption. An extremely well-written, well-researched, and well-crafted debut…."—Library Journal
"In this ambitious, meticulous thriller… the action moves forward at a brisk pace…"—Publishers Weekly
"Chuck Pfarrer's masterfully drawn hero Paul Hoyle is a war-worn father to 24's Jack Bauer. This is a tale about the life of the anxious mind and the ravages of living wholly in the physical world, where, as Hoyle says, the questions are in black and white, but the answers are all in grey. After his previous book Warrior Soul, Pfarrer has extended himself into new territory, lyrically, at a sprinter's pace. Chuck Pfarrer is the real thing, a man in total command of his subject. His talents as a former operative in the world of counter-terrorism are matched only by his psychological range as an artist. Killing Che is a soaring aria about the world to come, and the world that is here. Now."—DOUG STANTON, New York Times Best Selling Author of IN HARM’S WAY and THE HORSE SOLDIERS
"Killing Che is an elegant, even poetic achievement; a masterpiece of suspense and a razor sharp journey through good and evil."—DUNCAN FALCONER, Former SBS Operator, and Best Selling Author of THE PROTECTOR, THE HIJACK and THE OPERATOR