J.R. Rogers is a novelist of historical thrillers, foreign intrigue, and espionage set both in places or times not often explored. He has written eight novels and also a collection of short stories. A number of his stories have been published in various literary and online publications.
Besides writing fiction his interests include human rights, indie film, and photography.
He has lived in Canada, Europe, and Africa and now lives in Grinnell, Iowa.
Fiction, espionage, international intrigue, 1960s
As a British spy and Soviet mole Edgar Davies knew, and as everyone else in MI6 must have known, there was only one way to catch a spy and that was to discover him in his act of betrayal. Davies, an ordinary man disenchantedwith his life, plans to defect to the Soviet Union and bring with him years worth of British operational secrets. From Leopoldville in the Congo, to the quiet South American capital of Montevideo, Uruguay, Doomed Spy is a psychological spy thriller set in an unconventional distant posting at the height of the Cold War.
At the center of the intrigue are three intelligence officers: Edgar Davies, a seasoned British MI6 officer posted to Montevideo, Anastas Molotov, a young KGB officer who had befriended him last year in Africa, and now wants to defect and, across town operating from his secure attic command post in the Italianate mansion that is the Soviet Embassy, the KGB Rezident, Colonel Oleg Nadiensky.
Davies and Nadiensky are seasoned operatives in the opaque clandestine world of espionage. But to the casual eye, and on the diplomatic cocktail circuit where the two are never seen together, the Britisher is not what he seems. He has close secret ties to the Rezident who recruited him years ago in Belgium. All the while Molotov is carefully crafting his own plan to defect to the British, bringing with him an explosive secret
With a cast of unforgettable characters, and a compelling plot, Doomed Spy is an extraordinarily evocative human drama charged with friendship, illicit love, and betrayal that powerfully evoke the tension, people, and intrigue of the Cold War
Fiction, historical fiction, action & adventure, thriller
An Italian tract writer who aspires to greater involvement in the anarchist movement agrees to murder a sitting monarch. The story is set in the 1900’s in Dinard, France, a then fashionable seaside resort of stunning cliff top villas, a fabulous casino and a burgeoning art colony favored by American and British aristocrats and European royalty. After the king is slain aboard his yacht the murderer flees to Peru. Tracking him is an imperious Belgian Secret Service detective who sets off to bring the anarchist to justice. Unprepared for a life on the run the Italian treks across Latin America in search of a refuge. But he makes the mistake of his life by settling in French Guiana and Kourou, the overseas capital of the French colonial penal system and infamous Devil’s Island.
The Counterfeit Consul
Fiction, historical fiction, action & adventure, thriller
A French intelligence officer prepares to leave Paris with orders to set in motion a sabotage operation in America. It promises to become either a career enhancing proposition or very likely the end of his career. WWI is raging in Europe and America is still neutral. But the spymasters in the French capital want to put an end to the highly profitable practice of allowing the Americans to manufacture munitions for the Germans that are in turn being used against them on the battlefield. Set against a portrait of pre-war New York City in 1916, the officer’s mission is the destruction of armament warehouses on a Hoboken, New Jersey pier. But when the Military Attaché at the Imperial German Consulate learns of the plot, he makes immediate plans to deal with it.
Mission to Morocco
Fiction - thriller, suspense, spies & espionage
1944 – Colonel Ferdinand Hecht, who poses as a consular diplomat stationed in Casablanca, French Morocco, is in reality an SS officer with the Gestapo’s SD Afrika Intelligence Group. He directs a network of French spies reporting on American navy blimps operating from their Port Lyautey base against U-boats prowling the Straits of Gibraltar and coastal French Morocco.
America’s wartime intelligence agency the OSS is handed the task of dismantling the network and Lieutenant Sam Bradford arrives aboard a blimp of the Navy’s Africa Squadron to kidnap its suspected leader and transport him to London for interrogation. Under cover as a war correspondent, Bradford’s dogged investigation reveals a trail of local townspeople whose counterfeit demeanor masks their true allegiance to the Nazi spymaster. Intrigue, deception, and willful betrayal plunges the American lieutenant into a vortex of lies as the tentacles of the spy ring are uncovered, while embarking on a brief love affair with one of the suspects in the depraved Moroccan paradise.
Rich with atmosphere and period detail, the intrigue is played out against the northwest coastal town of Port Lyautey on the Sebou River where, in the dusty streets and alleys and in the byzantine Medina of this small colonial seaside town, the French influence is evident, but the compelling force is Arabic and overwhelming.
The Way Things Were - Collected Stories
Anthology - Literary Fiction
A mixed theme anthology, The Way Things Were, is a first collection of narratives by this historical thriller novelist. Set both in the United States, and in various parts of the world, the author conjures up a broad range of unusual characters and plots often set in unforgiving and unfriendly worlds. This is an intriguing selection that evokes the range of human emotions and the unpredictability of life. The writer’s reach is wide, including stories with historical settings, stories of today and one of old age in an imagined future. Many of the narratives first appeared in various literary journals and or online.
Sample from The Way Things Were
The Cypriot Agent
Fiction - Cold War, Thriller, Espionage
1974 – An intricate thriller of espionage and foreign intrigue, the novel turns on a Cypriot hit man hired by the CIA to assassinate a female Soviet mole en route to Leningrad aboard a Soviet freighter.
Charged by the Justice Department and the FBI with espionage and facing arrest in Washington, D.C., the CIA intervenes and allows the Soviets to recall her, in order to avoid the embarrassment of revealing to the world that the U.S. had been duped. Now the CIA sets in motion a covert action to board the vessel at its final port of call in Famagusta, Cyprus and there deal with the mole once and for all.
As the Agency plots the slow progress of the freighter across the Atlantic and into the Eastern Mediterranean the ouzo flows and the cigarette smoke swirls in the Constantia Taverna in Famagusta where the Cypriot and his former sidekick, who wants in on the action, debate the risks of the assignment and how best to carry it out.
But an hour away, in the capital city of Nicosia, and behind the closed doors of the Soviet Embassy, countermeasures are being put into play. From Moscow to the KGB Rezidentura comes a heightened alert the Americans intend to double-cross them.
Historical fiction, intrigue
1943 – Obersturmbannführer Lt. Colonel Carl von Glasow and his fellow battle-weary officers of Rommel’s 15th Panzer Division, Afrika Corps, have endured the humiliation of surrendering to the Allies in Tunisia. Resigned to riding out the war in a North African prisoner of war camp they are surprised to learn they are being shipped instead to a U.S. Army POW camp in America. Nothing prepares them for the vivid contrast between the burning sands of the Tunisian desert and the murderous tank wars they waged there and the small, peaceful and idyllic Georgia coastal island town of Sorrel Island.
During the summer the population swells as mainlanders from nearby Savannah alight from the daily Central of Georgia trains or drive over the causeway in their Ford Deluxe Fordors and Chrysler 66s. Vacationers flock to the pristine beaches, revel in the cool saltwater breezes, and enjoy the amusement pier with its Ferris wheel and the music pavilion that host traveling big band tours.
Referred to as the “Nazi camp” by the locals, and Nazilager by the inmates who still proudly wear their sand-colored desert fighting uniforms their presence incites disturbing emotions. The coastal islanders are nervous about sharing their idyllic location with a hastily constructed POW camp for captured German officers. They couldn’t feel further away from the ravages of the far away war “over there” and yet they are not immune from it. The persistent chatter on the beaches and in the hotels and rooming houses is the likelihood of a prisoner escape.
A groundswell of opposition and fear from year-around residents erupts when on the first day a German escapee is shot in broad daylight. Young first-term town council president and mayor Connie Hopkins does her best to assuage their fears all the while confronting her own feelings when Major Bill Ferguson, the camp’s assistant commandant, launches a campaign to seduce her.
Meanwhile behind the fences and guard towers, and inside their wooden barracks and mess halls, several renegade Nazi officers embark on a plan to escape to neutral Argentina. And when Lt. Colonel von Glasow learns of the plan his mettle is tested as he makes the most fateful decision of his life.
The Italian Couple
Fiction, historical fiction, intrigue, deception
"This suspenseful combination romance and espionage thriller centers on a married couple in despair in Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini’s rule. The novel’s pacing is skillful and precise, leading ultimately to an unforeseen and terrifically satisfying ending.”
To Live Another Day
Historical fiction, WW2
A powerful period flavor embellishes this intriguing novel replete with the shocking depravity rampant in the insular Portuguese enclave of Lourenço Marques, the neutral colonial capital of Portuguese Mozambique, during the early years of World War Two.
It is June 1940 when, ahead of the Germans marching into Paris, Rudolf and Aleece Bamberger, a young German-French Jewish couple flee to Africa to wait out the war where they become embroiled in intrigue and espionage.
Safe at last—or so it seems at first—the Bamberger’s are diverted to Lourenço Marques because of a U-boat threat rather than to Cape Town their original destination. Aleece, a French citizen, finds work at the British consulate while Rudolf, her German husband, but an emigrant to France before the war, drifts helplessly into the hands of the Abwehr spymaster, Ludwig Janke. The Nazi’s tentacles run deep through the tranquil colonial capital and his fearsome espionage operation soon ensnares Rudolf and threatens him into cooperating.
With spy-thriller plotting, To Live Another Day vividly re-creates the skullduggery of Axis intelligence operatives from MI6, the OSS, the Abwehr and other services operating from this vast neutral harbor situated at the forefront of Indian Ocean shipping lanes.