OLDOGS

THEY'RE THE LAST RESORT IN STOPPING A PLOT TO KILL THOUSANDS:

To the reader of this letter:

         I write to volunteer for any assignment your organization needs done.

  

These words begin one man’s effort to stop a catastrophe planned to kill thousands. A horrifying plot begins in central Asia, moves quickly to Cyprus, then on to Colombia. Finally, the beaches of Cancun and Miami fall under its terrible shadow.

   

In the meantime, budget cuts and burgeoning world hot spots force the CIA to make an unprecedented decision: requests from older volunteers will be accepted to help fill gaps in the agency’s world coverage.

    

PRAISE FOR 'OLDOGS'

Kip Cassino’s OLDOGS has all the classic hallmarks of a supremely good military spy thriller. The comfortable yet rugged form and seasoned plot are reminiscent of Ken Follett’s early 1980s espionage novels. After a succinct prologue in which we meet Isacc, who has a fairly singular role later in the book, we then switch between the inception of the OLDOGS taskforce and their training at a discreet CIA camp to the journey of the two nuclear initiators. The passage of the nukes as they traverse Russia, Cyprus and Colombia on route to Mexico is the stronger narrative, providing dependably fertile ground for the genre. The story is pacey, entertaining and comprehensively detailed without becoming confusing. Although the plot of the protagonists is ambitious, Cassino keeps the story relatively uncomplicated but anticipatory nonetheless.

Where the prose really excels is in the characterization. We meet a connected cast of international, criminal figures and fixers imbued with varying levels of shadiness and immorality. Cassino is adept at writing precise one- or two-line physical descriptions of each, including a small eccentricity that brings them quickly and sharply into focus neatly complementing the fast pace. Their accompanying dialogue is authentic with occasional comedic touches which consolidates these convincing portrayals. An element that also gives the bad guys extra dimension and elevates them above pantomimic villains is their vulnerability. All of them have it to a greater or lesser extent; either in their backstory or present during their immediate actions. Cassino is both adroit and efficient in developing these characters, even if their appearance in the novel is fairly brief. Semih, the Kurd, and Oliver Murrow, the pilot, are prime examples.

The parallel narrative setting up the OLDOGS taskforce is a little staid and prosaic by comparison, although there are some interesting personalities here too. At the beginning, the structure is a touch chaotic before we move forward with Jo and Barney in Team Two. There are some definite continuity issues with timing; the pace is slower and slightly off-kilter to the parallel journey of the initiators. Barney and Jo are likeable, credible characters with flashes of world-weary humor. However, the concept of the older generation still having relevance and usefulness in a high-pressurized, technologically advanced environment, though not original, forms the nucleus of the book and is dealt with in a sincere, non-patronizing manner.

OLDOGS is a thoroughly enjoyable and capable thriller written in a reassuringly traditional style with some nicely realized characters and competent plotting.

- Rose Auburn for Indie Reader

The world is unsettled and, after the Covid19 pandemic, there aren’t the resources or the manpower to make sure all is secure and safe. There are plots afoot that could wipe out the planet, or, at the very least, topple some of the superpowers and do considerable damage. Without the funds to send out young agents, the CIA takes on some older agents, those reaching retirement, creating a team of Oldogs agents to man the fields, so to speak, and defuse some pretty volatile situations. Are these old men and women up to the task? Will they be able to stop a nuclear conspiracy from wreaking havoc?

Kip Cassino’s thriller novel, Oldogs, is a powerful look at what could potentially unravel in the post-pandemic era. The author has created a strong plausible plot, which develops from multiple angles: in the field on assignment, at the CIA home office choosing the new/old agents, in the eyes of the ‘bad guys’, and, of course, the Oldogs themselves, who are cleverly introduced by way of their personal letters to the CIA home office where they each almost beg to be given an overt assignment. These letters are interspersed between chapters and points of view from various good and bad people around the world. It’s a unique way to introduce the players, create the stage, and set the plot in motion. And there is lots of action. This spy thriller will definitely appeal to readers of the genre. It’s a book that’s difficult to put down until the last page and it leaves the reader pondering on so many what if’s.

- Reader's Favorite

His plot is powerful; his characters are colorful but realistic; the dialogue is plentiful and revealing; and somewhere in the middle of all the danger and suspense, there is time for humor and even romance…

In Oldogs by Kip Cassino, it turns out the Oldogs are retired former military or past members of law enforcement or similar who are in no way ready to sit rocking in a chair on the front porch. No, Siree! Each of these highly skilled people, both male and female, knows they can still be of great value and use to their country. They are even willing to work for free. When their government and the CIA decide this may not be such a bad idea, they offer a large contingent a chance to retrain in a grueling boot camp.

Only eighteen make the final cut, two of whom go undercover as Mr. and Mrs. Stark… and what a wild re-entry the Starks make into a world of terrorism. Their mission finds them trying to thwart a horrific plan to kill thousands in Cancun and Miami by detonating two nuclear bombs. The terrorists and the man at the top of the nefarious plot are extremely clever, skilled, devious, and pay their people with death instead of dollars. Can that pair of Oldogs, the Starks, foil the terrorist’s plans? The method they choose to do so makes for a great unexpected ending to a tension-filled story.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from a book with a title like Oldogs, but what a great plot idea Kip Cassino has put together in this mind-blowing novel. Kip Cassino is an excellent writer. His plot is powerful; his characters are colorful but realistic; the dialogue is plentiful and revealing; and somewhere in the middle of all the danger and suspense, there is time for humor and even romance…all beautifully delivered by Kip Cassino. Don't hesitate to pick up a copy of Oldogs. It's truly an absorbing read with a novel concept. What more could one want from a political thriller?

- Viga Boland

Oldogs by Kip Cassino is an action novel that narrates an intriguing story of retired soldiers who returned to serve their country. These heroes applied to work for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and some were shortlisted and trained for two months. Two of these ”OLDOGS” recruits were Barney Stark and Josephine Divolli. Suspicious activities were detected by these trained veterans that involved the transportation of a suspicious shipment from Russia to the coast of Mexico. Money trails implicated a prominent man, Frank Talent, who has an organization that sponsored many American politicians called FHF (Free Humanity Foundation). What could be contained in the shipment? Will the Oldogs succeed in intercepting the shipment before it is used?

As I read through this wonderful piece, all I could visualize was an amazing buildup of events to deliver a great piece. The author made a conscious effort to ensure recent events were documented in this book. He wrote about the COVID-19 pandemic which we are experiencing, and a well-known Nigerian Boko Haram group. The writing style adopted by the author was exceptionally well structured. This enabled me to enjoy the entire story and to connect better with Stark's character.

The action scenes were fast-paced and filled with a lot of suspense. For instance, during their training when Stark and Josephine were escaping to their extraction point. The character development of the author was so precise and accurate. This enabled me to enjoy every page, as I could easily picture the scenes and their characters. The inclusion of conspiracy by different organizations to avenge what they had experienced made me enjoy the story even more. The ideas of having retired agents work for a government agency marveled me. Readers would appreciate that Kip didn't make it easy to predict scenarios as they read. I miscalculated many scenes because I expected a different outcome of events. This is the first book of its kind I have read and I applaud Kip Cassino.

There was nothing to dislike from this piece. The story was well written, and the author delivered a wonderful piece. I found less than six errors, and this enabled me to thoroughly enjoy this book.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The reason for my rating is that I felt the author's message on a personal level, as he included recent events that occurred and also discussed real criminal organizations while writing this book. I recommend this book to lovers of thrills, action, drama, and suspense.

Kip Cassino’s weird and wonderful novel Oldogs is about a rogue Kazakh warlord, stolen nuclear weapons, and attacks on tropical tourist spots.

Here, the CIA is a shell of its former shelf. Massive budget cuts shrunk the once feared agency and turned it into a glorified government reserve unit for misfits and washed up bureaucrats. Some of these recruits are known as Oldogs—lonely retirees and veterans who latch onto the agency in order to find meaning and company in their golden years. While the program earns volunteers like a Vietnam veteran and former army captain, Barnett, and a former Chief Master Sergeant, John, some of the Oldogs are neither trained killers nor in shape at all.

Bad news for the CIA comes from a Central Asian republic that was once part of the USSR. Bolat, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Energy, and a dangerous Turk, Gurban, have hatched a dangerous plan to steal nuclear weapons and smuggle them into the West. Their targeted spots include Cancun and Miami. This terrorism demands a response, but all the United States can call upon are the Oldogs.

With a strong balance between their descriptions, exposition, action, and dialogue, the book’s scenes of espionage and counterterrorism are convincing. This is especially true when the action takes place behind the scenes at Langley, or at the Oldogs’ training center at Camp Peary. In these scenes, government bureaucrats, frontline combat veterans, and rear-echelon types stand at an eternal divide, their situations described with precision. 

The text, and its military-aligned cast, go heavy on the acronyms, so working knowledge of global intelligence agencies helps when approaching this fast-paced tale. As it weaves in politics, betrayal, desperation, and loads of action, the novel becomes addictive, making its outwardly overblown plot believable. Bolat and Gurban may have outlandish motivations, but their plans unfold with evil logic. The activities of the Oldogs are likewise true to life. The book’s bittersweet ending serves not only as the conclusion to a wonderful tale, but as a reminder that Oldogs can indeed learn new tricks, even kick butt when the need is there.

In the fast-moving political thriller Oldogs, a motley intelligence crew takes on an international and devious terrorist team.

- Benjamin Welton