Putin's Useful Idiot by Kenyon Kane Genre: Historical Espionage, Romance
November 1984, Richard Hart lands at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport carrying a dossier he doesn’t have security clearance to open, a map of Moscow missing most of the street names, five ten-dollar bills (probably dyed with invisible ink) and an American Express card. Acting as a CIA “financial” agent, Hart must close a deal with the KGB, rig the transaction to produce enough “black money” to bribe KGB hard-liners to retire, and get out alive. And he only has Colonel Putin there to help him.
PUTIN'S USEFUL IDIOT is about Richard Hart, a self-centered materialist living in New York City married to a woman half his age, dining out every night at fancy restaurants and spending his weekends shopping with his wife at expensive stores like Bergdorf-Goodman, Henri Bendel, and Gucci. Forced to take an assignment to Moscow, he winds up in an environment where money is worthless because there is nothing to buy, food is scarce and for the most part terrible and even drinking water is impossible to find at times. As he adjusts to his new environment, he comes to find that his materialistic viewpoint is selfish, and in fact unnecessary to his happiness, and as he finds joy in the new friends and relationships he makes, he transforms toward the collective.
But is it all a set-up by his partner in crime V. Putin? Is he just another Useful Idiot? As a counterpoint, while Hart is evolving in his social views toward the collective, his Soviet counterparts evolve toward capitalism because the free markets are coming to the Soviet Union and everyone is going to need western currency to survive. Inspired by true events, PUTIN'S USEFUL IDIOT is a ride-along first person, present tense adventure jampacked with danger, passion and humor
Handcuffs, stamped with a metal hammer and sickle, one cuff locks around my wrist, the other to a tubular bed frame. Wearing an over-sized bathrobe, with a Soviet star on the pocket, I'm butt naked underneath, except for the plaster cast on my right leg from mid-thigh to my ankle. Not that I'm shackled in a contorted position, heck they even gave me a pillow, though it stinks of bleach. But it's hard to sleep with one wrist shackled, even though I wouldn't be sleeping tonight anyway. They don't want me to sleep, that's the point. They want me to think about the evil I've done and confess. But it doesn't really matter because by this time tomorrow I'll either be free to go where I want when I want, or I'll be beat-up and suffering in a Soviet prison transport headed for a Siberian labor camp. I just hope I don't have to pee tonight, but they'll be coming for me soon enough. And I've seen their work, and it ain't pretty.
10 Days Before – Landing in Moscow
Hanging around the baggage claim area at the Sheremetyevo International Airport, I'm ass dragging waiting for my bags to emerge after an eighteen-hour travel day. All I want is a bed, a bottle of water and a place to smoke a Marlboro Red, but right now I can’t claim my luggage. All the carousels in the baggage claim area have broken down, and the Soviet repair crew has shut-off their power. I'm straddling a carousel because the Soviets don't provide chairs in the baggage claim area, and a carousel is the only place to sit while I wait. And there are no coin operated beverage dispensers either, like at JFK. It's solely a business trip nothing personal. I don't know anyone in Moscow, never been here before, and don't intend on staying long. My job is to close a real estate transaction with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and though I appear to be an adventurous entrepreneur carving out a space for capitalism in downtown Moscow, in fact I'm not. Instead, I'm here to produce black money and use it to bribe KGB field operatives. To do it, I've contracted with the Soviets to buy a hotel in downtown Moscow, the Pushkin Hotel, and because of who I work for the U.S. Treasury is going to issue a guaranty to Deutsche Bank my lender. Based on the Treasury Guaranty, Deutsche Bank will loan me one hundred percent of the cost of the Pushkin Hotel purchase, plus the bribes I'm paying to the KGB operatives, plus the renovation of the Pushkin Hotel to Holiday Inn standards, plus a deposit of one million dollars tax-free into my pocket.
Kenyon Kane grew up in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles before there were freeways. He worked for two US Cabinet Secretaries. His job was to complete financial transactions in the Soviet Union, Grenada and Northern Ireland.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you! I worked for two US Cabinet Secretaries. I worked in black op financial transactions in the Soviet Union, Grenada and Northern Ireland
Where were you born/grew up? In the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, before there were freeways. The Hollywood Freeway ended at Cahuenga Pass, there was no 405 Freeway and to get to the beach you had to take Sepulveda, and Ventura Boulevard ended at Sepulveda.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day? With my family, my wife and three boys,
What are you passionate about these days? Social Justice which is why my book encompasses social impact entertainment.
Do you have a favorite movie? The Thin Red Line - James Jones - later a movie
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie? A Useful Idiot
What inspired you to write this book? Everyone involved in the assignment to Moscow is dead.
What can we expect from you in the future? Next book - Black op financial mission to Belfast
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters? V. Putin is a character in A USEFUL IDIOT
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book? Based on real life people.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick? A USEFUL IDIOT is about Richard Hart, a self-centered materialist living in New York City married to a woman half his age dining out every night at fancy restaurants and spending his weekends shopping with his wife at expensive stores, e. g. Bergdorf-Goodman, Henri Bendel, Gucci. Forced to take an assignment to Moscow, he winds up in an environment where money is worthless because there is nothing to buy, food is scarce and for the most part terrible and even drinking water is impossible to find at times. As he adjusts to his new environment he comes to find that his materialistic viewpoint is selfish, and in fact unessesary to his happiness and as he finds joy in the new friends and relationships he makes, he transforms into a communism. But is it all a set-up by his partner in crime V. Putin. Is he just another Useful Idiot? As a counterpoint, while Hart is evolving in his social views towards the collective, his Soviet counterparts evolve towards capitalism because the free markets are coming to the Soviet Union and they all are going to need western currency to survive.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? Tom Hanks
Anything specific you want to tell your readers? Choice lines from A USEFUL IDIOT:
“everyone’s an atheist till it’s time to die.”
Jesus told us: “it is more difficult to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to pass through the gates of Heaven.”
How did you come up with name of this book? It is a quote attributed to Lenin commenting on the assistance he was receiving from John Reed an American journalist - “Ten days that Shook the World”
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? All real people.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read. It is an historical account that gives the true picture of the Soviet Union in 1984 and dispels the misconceptions put out by American propaganda during the Reagan administration and before. It calls capitalism to account for the poverty and starvation throughout the world through the words of Jesus.
What did you edit out of this book? About 30k words of real life experiences in Moscow that were interesting and environment building, but were not related to plot progression or character development.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? James Jones - From Here to Eternity and the Thin Red Line because he wrote about his real life experiences during World War 2 with a thematic slant toward the disparity in justice between the officers and the “joes” who actually did the fighting and dying.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? One at a time. Writing requires concentration and total immersion and I cannot do more than one novel at a time.
Pen or type writer or computer? Computer
Tell us about a favorite character from a book. V. Putin because he was so different in 1984 than he is today. In 1984 he was struggling to survive in a dangerous environment.
Describe your writing style. First person present tense with a goal to put the reader in the Novel.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Two years.
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