The Coldest Warrior (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Paul Vidich

Pegasus Books, 9781643133355, 224pp.

Publication Date: February 4, 2020

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The new novel by acclaimed espionage author Paul Vidich explores the dark side of intelligence, when a CIA officer delves into a cold case from the 1950s—with fatal consequences.

In 1953, at the end of the Korean War, Dr. Charles Wilson, an Army bio-weapons scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of his death remain buried for twenty-two years.

With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, LSD is linked to Wilson’s death, and suddenly the Wilson case becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the press are demanding answers, suspecting the CIA of foul play, and men in the CIA, FBI, and White House conspire to make sure the truth doesn’t get out.

Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency, and his most perilous as he finds a continuing cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes, and Gabriel realizes that the closer he gets to the truth, the more he puts himself and his family at risk.

Following in the footsteps of spy fiction greats such as Graham Green, John Le Carré, and Alan Furst, Paul Vidich presents a tale—based on the unbelievable true story told in Netflix’s Wormwood—that doesn’t shy away from the true darkness in the shadows of espionage.

About the Author

Paul Vidich is the acclaimed author of An Honorable Man and The Good Assassin, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, LitHub, CrimeReads, Fugue, The Nation, Narrative Magazine, Wordriot, and others. He lives in New York.

Praise For The Coldest Warrior: A Novel

With this outing, Vidich enters the upper ranks of espionage thriller writers.

If we’re going to choose a 21st century Graham Greene, I nominate Paul Vidich. Mysterioso, funny, elegant, noir . . . you name it, Greene wrote it. And so does Vidich. If you like your narrator-cum-investigator to throw in a few quotes from Shakespeare in the middle of his hardboiled take on American realpolitik, Vidich is your man.
— Mitch Silver, author of 'The Bookworm' and 'In Secret Service'

The Coldest Warrior takes a true story of political/espionage intrigue and fictionalizes it in such a way that it reads like a deadly serious spy novel from the Cold War era. Taut, tense, and fascinating.

— Raymond Benson, author of 'Blues in the Dark' and the five-book 'The Black Stiletto' serial

In Paul Vidich’s page-turning and well-written latest novel of espionage, he takes a hard look at how far people will go and which lines will be crossed in defense of the Holy Grail known as national security. Filled with action, haunting details and compelling characters. Highly recommended.
— Brendan DuBois, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author

The tale Paul Vidich tells in The Coldest Warrior—based on true events—could not be more chilling. Though the action of the book takes place nearly half a century ago, it reads as an allegory and a reminder for our time, a story about what is possible for bad people to accomplish if good people look away.

— S. J. Rozan, bestselling author of Paper Son

Spring 1975: The once-invincible CIA cringes as its long-buried secrets are exhumed and denounced by the public, press and Congress. Inspired by real CIA malfeasance, Vidich memorably and vividly depicts the agency's inner circle, implacable men blind to the consequences of their pitiless actions, past and present, to wage the Cold War. A spy novel of the highest caliber, The Coldest Warrior could well be shelved in the history section, so masterful is Vidich's blending of fact and fiction.

— David Krugler, author of the Ellis Voigt Thrillers

Inspired by the true story of the death of Frank Olson, The Coldest Warrior is at once a breathless Cold War thriller in the mode of John le Carré, a cold-case mystery, and a tale of moral accountability. Although historical—set in the ’50s and the ’70s—its central theme is strikingly relevant: the personal suffering that results when our government agencies and politicians conceal their crimes, when political self-preservation outweighs public interest. A chilling read, indeed.

— John Copenhaver, author of 'Dodging and Burning'