Point Deception

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I was born in Velasco, Texas a small town on the Gulf Coast and raised in the even smaller town of Port Isabel, Texas. Like the protagonist in my first novel Point Deception I ran away from home, lied about my age, 


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Semper Paratus!


A novel is a living breathing thing and as such remains in a constant state of flux. I reread my work with an eye towards improving my next book; always thinking, this would have been better if I had included this or deleted that. My readers and other authors write to me with comments and suggestions and I take these to heart.


Most people don't know that the Coast Guard was even involved in the Vietnam War, however, the Coast Guard’s involvement in the Vietnam War began in March of 1965 with the deployment of twenty-six, eighty-two foot patrol boats in support of the U.S. Navy’s Operation Market Time. 

The fictional patrol boat USCGC Point Deception is based upon the real USCGC Point Welcome part of Squadron One, Division 12 based at Da Nang, Republic of South Vietnam. Even though the Point Welcome incident and the Coast Guard's involvement in the Vietnam War take up only a few chapters in the book those events were my inspiration for writing it. My intent was/is to honor the 8,000 Coast Guard personnel who were involved half a world away from our shores; especially the seven who gave their all there. They were rescue warriors, they were Coasties from every state and all walks of life, Semper Paratus was their motto, and so that others may live their sacred pledge.  

Please click below to see an exciting video from The Coast Guard Channel depicting the Coast Guard in action in Vietnam and the tragedy of the 82 foot patrol boat Point Welcome resulting in the "friendly fire" deaths of LTJG David C. Brostrom, USCG and EN2 Jerry Phillips, USCG; the book Point Deception is dedicated to them and to all of the men and women, past and present, serving in the United States Coast Guard this nation's oldest, smallest, and proudest sea service. 

new adventure. Gilliam has enough background experience in the topics with which he deals that he adds a flavor of authenticity to his story from the start: he ran away from home at age 14, joined the Coast Guard and served on active duty with the Coast Guard from January 1957 until June 1966. In June 1978 he joined the Army as an airborne combat physician assistant. Leaving the Army in August 1986 he was employed in civilian practice until May 2001 when he joined the Navy's Military Sealift Command as a civilian mariner physician assistant. He is a veteran of multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.  Since his retirement in 2010 he devotes his time from his home in Warwick, New York to writing some of the most significant thrillers before the public today. He obviously learned the lingo and tales passed around the danger loving troops that gives him the language and atmosphere of having ‘been there done that’ in this compelling novel.

Gilliam alters his writing style for this new novel – a clever move in that the story has so many twists and turns, so many characters whose names flood the story that the creation of a novel in the format of a screenplay is exceptionally appropriate. Not that the novel mimics the looks of a screenplay: it simply inserts aspects of the story in triple asterisk portions that allow the reader to witness the spectrum of the myriad moments of simultaneous action much like watching a film (and a film of this book is bound to happen.) And in the deployment of this technique Gilliam inserts memorable asides that keep the novel to the highest literary value – ‘A select few individuals possess the inherent ability to retreat so far into the depths of their own subconscious minds that they, in effect, journey back in time to a safer place. These rare individuals will die before they break.’ But on to the story.

The protagonist for this tale is Special Forces Captain Chris Holt who has been entrusted with SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition), a small nuclear device with the explosive yield of one kiloton of TNT.  The antagonist for this cleverly suggested Sherlock Homes/Moriarty mirror is one mad scientist, Dr. Heinrich Fleischer, who upon less than honorable discharge from the military for refusing to cooperate with his studies on the deadly anthrax 836 bacillus that airborne could kill thousands of victims – a germ warfare specialist, became obsessed with revenge. Holt versus Fleischer is the main theme of this cacophonic symphony: Holt loses control of the SADM to Fleischer and must recover it before Fleischer in his heinous revenge mental state places it in an area where it will kill millions and destroy an important port for the US. Coupled with this line of suspense is the fact that the CIA (known as The Company lead by the evil Pennington) is involved in a guns for drugs program in Southeast Asia (the time of the story is 1968 and the Vietnam conflict is the source of many disillusioned soldiers returned as ignored Vets): the CIA exchanges guns to the Southeast Asians for raw drugs that the CIA then distributes to the various inimical drug cartels in Mexico and South America who refine and then smuggle saleable drugs into the US and Canada for huge profits. As we meet the various cartel heads we also encounter other forms of border crime in the Southern Texas border – illegal harvesting of organs from victims that are then shipped to transplant recipients, again for incredibly high profit. The use of Fleischer’s Anthrax 836 is a possible means to narrow the number of drug cartels involved in the drug trade, a factor the CIA fights against as such a move would diminish the cash influx for their guns for drugs illegal enterprise. Murders, fires, tortures, explosions, and varying acts of derring-do color this aspect of the story.

The manner in which Gilliam weaves all of these (and many other) aspects of his story is nothing short of a miracle in writing. The story involves the President of the US who Dr. Fleischer, a domestic terrorist with a grudge against America and the Army, threatens use of the SADM for domestic deployment, multiple friends of Holt’s from his military service, the Russians, the leaders of the south of the border drug cartels, and even homeless Vets given succor by one Brother Paul in his mission. The language is appropriately raw where necessary, the medical aspects of various situations are on target, the use of Spanish is effective, the humanity of Holt and his fellow fighters is exemplary, and the respect for the service of our armed forces who attempt ‘to preserve some semblance of sanity in a world gone mad with naked avarice and greed’ shakes the reader’s vantage in a healthy way…’Absent friends’ is the recurring toast.

Gilliam introduces his chapters with appropriate quotations from famous people, inserts that at first seem unnecessary eye bumps to the story but in retrospect light candles to the event about to take place as this rumbling tank of a novel plows through the battlegrounds of possibilities. This is a novel that asks for the reader’s attention throughout. The payback is enormously satisfying.

Grady Harp

Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer

The SADM Project is my third novel. In this exciting suspense thriller:
Like every man on his team, Captain Chris Holt has sworn to defend America against all enemies. Yet from the moment he enters the SADM Program, Holt never considers the possibility of a domestic deployment. Now, as he and his Army Special Forces team jump from their C-130 transport into the Texas darkness armed with a tactical nuclear weapon, he cannot help but wonder how many of them will survive their mission to terminate a disgraced, former Army germ-warfare scientist.

Dr. Heinrich Fleischer has big plans. He forms an unholy alliance with a ruthless leader of a Mexican drug cartel, wanting nothing more than to use his stash of a deadly strain of respiratory anthrax against all the other drug cartels in Latin America. 

Praise for The SADM Project

Texas born Jim Gilliam comes to his third novel THE SADM PROJECT as a polished pro – something rarely seen with young novelists: his prior novels POINT DECEPTION and TARNISHED HERO have garnered acclaim and awards and his creative ability  increases with the release of each

This exciting episode begins in the early 1960's. After his father's death at the hands of a union busting thug in Galveston Kelly transfers to San Francisco where he meets Brenda Conrad and an overbearing, sadistic executive officer. Given a choice between courts martial and combat duty in Vietnam Kelly chooses Vietnam. When three of his friends are killed in a friendly fire incident Kelly releases his rage in an Air Force officer's club. Returning to the U.S. with a less than honorable discharge. He embarks on a new career as an undercover narcotics agent. After his rescue from the drug cartel when his cover is blown. He plans to marry Brenda Conrad but before the wedding can take place. Brenda and her best friend the high spirited daughter of the Governor of Texas, are kidnapped by the cartel and spirited to a secret island off the coast of Yucatan. Kelly enlists the aid of a local Mayan rebel leader to find and rescue the two women.     

In addition to guns, drugs, and human trafficking the powerful Campeche Cartel is heavily engaged in the sale of human organs and tissue on the black market. The director of this branch of the Cartel convinces the leader of the Cartel to engage in germ warfare against their rival cartels. A bitter, discredited, former Army germ warfare specialist becomes the head of the project. He has his own agenda. The release of airborne Anthrax over thousands of tourists attending the San Antonio 1968 World's Fair.
Suspense builds like an old time Saturday matinee cliffhanger serial as Kelly makes his way through a dangerous labyrinth where the slightest misstep could be his last.

TARNISHED HERO has won an Honorable Mention at the Paris Book Festival in 2013 and 2014, and also won the Texas Association of Authors Best Military Fiction Award for 2013, and the W. Somerset Maugham 2013 Award for Literary and Mainstream Fiction in the Suspense Thriller Category. 
I write for my readers and I hope you will read TARNISHED HERO and enjoy this exciting novel. I welcome comments from my readers. My email address is: Jim@pointdeception.com
Thank you for your continued support of my work.

POINT DECEPTION has won the Texas Association of Authors 2012, Best Fiction Award; won the Silver Medal in the 2012, Stars & Flags Book Awards Military Historical Fiction category; received an Honorable Mention in the 2012, New York Beach Book Festival, Number One Finalist in the Thriller Category in the 2012, National Indie Excellence Awards, and won the Beverly Hills Book Award in  Fiction for 2013.

Point Deception

"Jim Gilliam writes a suspense thriller, Point Deception, packed full of criminal activities, military action, and a likable protagonist Tim Kelly whose tortured soul sends him on an young Indiana Jones quest for high adventure, beginning with lying about his age and joining the Coast Guard at the tender age of 14 . . . Based on true events this novel moves like a runaway freight train through a tight, spellbinding story line."    

-Port Isabel Press, Port Isabel, Texas

"I was glad to discover this book, which was a quickly paced story based on real events. Being a veteran myself, I can say without hesitation that this book has the ring of truth to it . . . It covers a lot of ground, a great story of personal adventure and psychological conflict ." 

-Steve Weber, Author and Bookseller

"An exposed undercover agent awaits rescue and recalls his past in this ambitious cross between a coming-of-age tale and a period thriller . . . Point Deception has plenty of fast paced action . . ."

-Kirkus Reviews
"Point Deception by Jim Gilliam is action packed with excellent character development throughout . . . Point Deception is a quick read and has surprising depth of character and plot for a short novel."

-Top Book Reviewers
"Fans of the Coast Guard, and those who like a good military-based suspense novel, will enjoy Point Deception."

-Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"Point Deception opens to undercover cop Tim Kelly's adventure as Kelly's life hangs on the line in the secluded hacienda of a Mexican cartel drug lord. . . . This novel has a strict, no-frills and no-nonsense approach to storytelling. . . . Overall, Point Deception is an interesting novel that draws its rapid-fire pace from real life scenarios that are complex, disturbing, and touching, making this thriller an engaging production . . . "

-San Francisco Book Review
"Even in dishonorable discharge, there is still a goodness in a soldier. Point Deception tells the story of Tim Kelly, who becomes deeply embroiled in Mexico's drug cartels and faces certain death as they enclose around him. Awaiting rescue that just may not come, author Jim Gilliam puts together a fun and fast paced thriller of corruption on many levels in the world. Point Deception is a solid addition to thriller collections."

-Carl Logan, The Midwest Book Review


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