Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

Gazelle in the Shadows is a historical thriller by Michelle Peach. The novel takes place in Syria and is largely based on her real life experiences.
Michelle Peach graduated from Durham University in 1995 with a B.A. in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. During 1992, she spent her second year of college studying abroad at the Arabic Teaching Institute for Foreigners in Damascus. Since then, Michelle’s love for Syria has never been far from her thoughts. When the unrest began in 2011, her determination to start writing Gazelle in the Shadows intensified. “I was distraught and appalled by the suffering of the people and by the destruction of its historical sites in Aleppo, Palmyra, Bosra, Homs, Damascus and elsewhere. I know that many will not have the opportunity to see the sights of Syria due to the ongoing conflict, but I hope that through my story readers can enjoy the cities, landscapes and culture of Syria.”
Synopsis –
In the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth, a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University, travels to Damascus to immerse herself in the Syrian language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always as they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and a murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police.
From the Prologue –
When I traveled to Syria as a Durham student in 1992, I knew very little about the country. From the onset, I was overwhelmed by their welcome. But the longer I stayed in Damascus and especially when I started working for Dr. Andrew Rathmell, as his Arabic translator and assistant researcher, the more I understood of Syria’s tumultuous and violent history. At the time, Hafez al-Assad, the President of Syria since 1971, was at the height of his autocratic power and the country was in a state of relative calm since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. His vast security apparatus was evident on every street corner whether army, police or civilian informants. My travel guide dedicated an entire page to the various types of mukhabarat, secret police, present in the country but also reassuringly wrote that Syria was a “safe” country for travelers. Not so obvious was the fear, paranoia and suppression which his people lived under…

Praise for Michelle Peach’s Gazelle in the Shadows:
“Compellingly realistic and packed with both psychological and physical action, Gazelle in the Shadows adds an extra layer of cultural understanding to its espionage thriller theme.” -Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Peach integrates myriad plot developments into her exciting and ambitious work … The central conceit is both original and compelling.” -BookLife Prize
“Michelle Peach brings Syrian culture and cityscapes to life with her descriptions and characters… the author is able to accurately capture a specific moment in Middle Eastern history that still has ramifications on modern-day Syrians. For those looking for a glimpse into new cultures with a taste of a spy thriller, Gazelle in the Shadows will both warm your heart and send shivers down your spine.” -Red City Review
“Gazelle in the Shadows is both a coming of age story and a reflection of life in the looking glass world of Hafez al-Asad’s Syria. While told through an intensely personal lens, Michelle’s story provides a sideways look at a Syria that is now gone but also hints at some of the underlying factors that contributed to the country’s ongoing agonies. The book is an unusual combination of bittersweet student memories, geopolitical machinations, and “factionalised” adventures; well worth a read.” – Dr Andrew Rathmell, Author of Secret War in the Middle East: The Covert Struggle For Syria 1949 -1961
Gazelle in the Shadows is a novel filled with intensity. My favorite part of this novel is the main character, Elizabeth, who is smart, kind and loyal to the people around her… As a reader, you like her and empathize with her, but at other times you want to tell her to rethink her decisions. She is young, however, and making mistakes is what causes her to learn more about herself and who she is… Michelle Peach’s writing is good; I especially like the dialogue and descriptions of what life was like in Syria. Her descriptions are smooth and beautiful;  I was impressed with how much I learned about the history of Syria and the Middle East… I suggest this book to anyone who is interested in the different countries of the Middle East, or wants to read a quick coming of age story. This book teaches you that the most important things in life are the things you find within yourself.” – Katherine’s Book Reviews
“Gazelle in the Shadows quite literally had me on the edge of my seat, from beginning to the very end. Michelle’s writing left me wanting to find out more after every chapter and I couldn’t help but read on… Gazelle in the Shadows is a very poignant and thought-provoking story that keep’s you gripped to the very end.” – 5 Stars, Marie’s Book Boutique

About the Author:
Michelle Peach graduated from Durham University in 1995 with a B.A. in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. During 1992, she spent her second year of college studying abroad at the Arabic Teaching Institute for Foreigners in Damascus. Since then, Michelle’s love for Syria has never been far from her thoughts. When the unrest began in 2011, her determination to start writing Gazelle in the Shadows intensified. “I was distraught and appalled by the suffering of the people and by the destruction of its historical sites in Aleppo, Palmyra, Bosra, Homs, Damascus and elsewhere. I know that many will not have the opportunity to see the sights of Syria due to the ongoing conflict, but I hope that through my story readers can enjoy the cities, landscapes and culture of Syria.” Gazelle in the Shadows is set to be released in September 2018, published by IngramSpark.
Michelle lives in Atlanta, GA. She is a stay-at-home mom, married with three children. Readers can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to https://MichellePeach.com/

Controversial New Bio/Thriller Reveals Major Connection to New York City Area

Code Name Papa Book CoverAfter a lifetime of working for a secret international covert group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer, five-time author Abby Jones. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his leadership within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government. This book is the first in a planned trilogy that spans more than forty years of missions that could never happen in non-fiction.
Abby Jones is the author who worked with the Murrays on the book and official spokesperson of the trio. Jones states, “The book’s connection to New York City is very clear.  What we worry about the most is that readers from the tri-state area may attempt to locate Papa’s distinctive house which is north of the city.  To assign a place to the homestead for the book, we simply called it ‘Connecticut’.  We will say no more.”
In forty-three fast-paced chapters, readers will find out about a mission that until now “stayed in Vegas” involving a mass assassination at a popular Strip hotel, the reason why Ollie North is still alive and kicking (thanks to Papa), and the everyday stresses for Papa, his crew and their families that led to divorces, suicide, mysterious deaths and much more.   Meanwhile, the New York area mansion where all the missions were planned and the direct connection to NYC for funding is a great backdrop for events that go way beyond Bond and other fictional spies.  The book offers readers an inside look into what really happens deep undercover.
Amazon Reviews:
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations. Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify. To learn more, please visit http://www.codenamepapa.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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Controversial New Bio/Thriller Sheds Light on Covert Operations in US and Europe

Code Name Papa Book CoverAfter a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government. This book is the first in a planned trilogy that spans over forty years of missions by John Murray, the men and women on his team, along with similar agencies supported by various governments across the globe.  To this day, the name of his agency has not been disclosed.
Abby Jones is the author who worked with the Murrays on the book and official spokesperson of the trio.  Jones states, “John Murray never expected to be telling his amazing story. He knows his life story will be controversial, but he also believes Americans and others have the right to know how our government and others operated for decades.  While the focus was on stabilizing the world and helping to hide embarrassing situations, the results were often mixed.  With most of those involved now gone, John believes readers should decide for themselves if they approve of these secretive missions or not.”
The book will be especially appealing to readers who need to be the know about our government and others.  In forty-three fast-paced chapters, readers will find out about a mission that until now “stayed in Vegas” involving a mass assassination at a popular Strip hotel, the reason why Ollie North is still alive and kicking (thanks to Papa), and the everyday stresses for Papa, his crew and their families that led to divorces, suicide, mysterious deaths and much more.
Amazon Reviews:
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as ”Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations. Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify. To learn more, please visit http://www.codenamepapa.com/.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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New Literary Memoir Documents Dedication of One Man’s Life to American Espionage

Code Name Papa Book CoverFebruary 18, 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) – After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.
Murray stated, “With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world.”
In forty-three chapters over the course of several decades, the highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has stayed in Vegas until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.
Amazon Reviews:
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations. Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify. ​
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
To learn more, please visit CodeNamePapa.com.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight

Code Name Papa Book Cover
After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.
“With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission.
The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.
These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.

 

Synopsis:
Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.
Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.

 

Praise:
 “I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”S. King
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”Max’s Mom
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”L. Lynch

 

About the Authors:
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
John Murray:
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.
John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.
John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible.
Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.
Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify.
Sharon Murray:
Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia.  Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past.
After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world.  Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry.
Abby Jones:
This is Jones’ fifth book.  She also writes for numerous magazines.  The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.
Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites.  She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text.  By the way, she has never met John!
Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.
Code Name: Papa—My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is the first in a planned trilogy. John, Sharon, and Abby are currently working on the second book, about Papa’s mentor, Amy.
To learn more, go to:
CodeNamePapa.com | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.