Before his 2003 deployment to Iraq, Army staff sergeant and San Antonio resident Eric Maddox was a military interrogator with virtually no field experience in his area of expertise. Mission: Black List #1, written with Davin Seay, tells the story of his on-the-job training in Tikrit, where he was assigned to grill detainees about the whereabouts of 55 members of Saddam Hussein’s regime named on the Department of Defense’s so-called Black List. The drama begins when Maddox theorizes that the best sources for information on his number one target, Hussein himself, are not deposed bureaucrats but locals active in the Sunni insurgency. In a feat analogous to a rookie’s pitching a no-hitter in the final game of the World Series, Maddox masterminds marathon interrogation sessions that identify a single man who knows the dictator’s location. It’s a straightforward story, but in the wake of the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, Maddox and his colleagues come across as remarkably civil warriors doing their best under impossibly stressful circumstances. HarperCollins, $25.95
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