FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — When Lawrence Edward Holmes began outlining his first book, “Clearstream Style,” he pulled from personal experience and from something that had puzzled him.
Holmes, of Cumming, a U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran aviator and former Tactical Air Command reconnaissance pilot, wanted to answer: Where did Al Qaeda terrorists receive funding for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks?
“It cost a fortune,” Holmes said of the military-like terrorist operation.
“In the book, I give all this information, as what it took Al Qaeda to prepare initially for the 9/11 attacks and what kind of recruits they were looking for,” Holmes said.
But in addition to a historical account within the 340-page book, the mystery espionage thriller fictionalizes events.
Holmes, 71, a former “sky spy” or intelligence officer, said during his military days, he would interface with Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to share information, and he gained insight into both agencies.
“Whenever we would come back with our film or photographs, during operation debriefing, someone from the CIA would be available to ask further questions,” he said.
Holmes said his wife, Glenda, encouraged him to write “Clearstream Style,” after she read his short stories.
Holmes created the patriotic John Style, a Georgia Tech computer science graduate and professional tennis player, who’s recruited by the CIA to follow the terrorist money trail.
“I had to create a subject matter that would be believable and create a character that by his very nature would fit in the profile of what someone would see as an agent,” Holmes said.
In the book, Style’s undercover investigation uncovers that the gold and wealth stolen by Nazis from persecuted Jews during World War II is being used to fund global terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda.
The money is traced to Swiss banks, and the narrative tells how U.S. intelligence agencies and its allies aggressively attempt to recover and restore gold and other assets stolen by Nazis and kept hidden for over three generations.
Although a work of fiction, some who have read the book think differently.
Holmes was contacted through his website by a reader who believed the book to be fact, “without a shadow of a doubt.”
“I tried to tell him in an email that it’s not real, it’s totally created, but because it’s historical fiction, he believes it’s real,” Holmes said. “It bothers me that someone has reacted that way to something fictional.”
The experience of writing has exhilarated Holmes, who is already working on a sequel to his book, entitled “Cyber Style.”
Holmes is also simultaneously writing a parody history book entitled “Reverse America,” and an autobiography entitled “Hell’s Kitchen: 42nd Street to Peachtree Street.”
His book, “Clearstream Style” is available on Amazon for $15 for paperback and $3.99 on Kindle.
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