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The Point of A Gun

In this just released new terrorist thriller, America is experiencing a dramatic increase in terrorist attacks—by jihadists, white supremacists, and Mexican cartels. In the face of these failures by the U.S. Government intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracies, a group of ad hoc vigilantes has exploded onto the scene. And, surprisingly, this shadowy and deadly vigilante group appears to be led by at least one of the U.S. Government’s most senior and trusted Counterterrorism insiders.

Is it the head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism division, the Army’s Senior Special Ops, or perhaps the CIA?  Whoever is the true identity of the mysterious and powerful terrorist known only as Samms, the thrilling action of the vigilantes’ frequent murders of terrorists in the act and the attempts by investigators to discover the mystery of the rogues’ identities take the reader on a wild ride.

As the President and his investigators struggle to discover the real identities of the vigilante leaders, the murders—both terrorist and vigilante—ratchet up. The questions then become: what are the risks to America if the public gets wind of the vigilante murders? And what does the president intend to do with the senior Counterterrorism vigilante officials if, in fact, they are found alive?

Is this real or fake news?

Steve Kohlhagen, the award-winning author of the Western novels Where They Bury You and Chief of Thieves has written an exciting contemporary political thriller–The Point of A Gun. In the vein of such classic authors as Elmore Leonard and Michael Connelly, Kohlhagen has created a thriller in which the twists and turns of a terrorism plot are sure to shock readers.


Dr. Kohlhagen took a few minutes to answer a few of my questions about this fantastic new read. Check out what he has to say…

I notice that all of your novels have strong female protagonists as the main character. What’s THAT all about?

I’m afraid I may not be able to help much there. Elmore Leonard, when asked how he decided to have a character die, said something like “When a character becomes boring, I kill him.” In my case, I just find most of my female characters much more interesting than my male characters. Maybe it’s hard for me to create interesting men? Maybe I’m afraid I’ll kill the boring female characters and I don’t like that? Samms is much more interesting than “Dark” or Tom or Moose or even the President (but maybe not Cheese?). It’s just me, I guess. Of course, I think that having the head of the rogue vigilantes be a woman is much more interesting than using a standard male protagonist.

Wonder Woman hit the screens this summer, sweeping the box office. Did you base the character of Samms on her?

Lol. I finished the final draft months before the movie opened. I must admit that when I saw Wonder Woman jump out of that trench and attack the Germans, I did think of Samms. “Maybe,” I thought, “it’s the year of the strong woman protagonist?”

Okay, then who did you base her on?

In my years on Wall Street I met a number of strong female protagonists (although nothing like the Publicity business!), but thought of none of them in watching Samms develop. This is a shrug. I simply don’t know. Possibly Lily Smoot (the heroine of my two Westerns). But that, of course, just kicks the question down the road.

How realistic is it that senior US officials could turn to vigilantism to protect us?

There is, of course, a long, inglorious history and tradition of vigilantism in America. And sometimes law enforcement officers have been involved. It would not be a unique American moment in our history.  

Would this be a good thing or a bad thing?

Yikes! The very question I didn’t want. And, understandably, vigilantism is glorified in Westerns, film, TV, novels, etc. But the reality has often been not so glorious. Vigilantes have shot, lynched, and mistreated innocent citizens, sometimes just for being part of “the others.” Maybe government officials today would only kill guilty parties? Maybe not.

How realistic is your premise?

Ah, a more interesting question. Anybody under suspicion could, if the President wanted them found out, be put under ironclad 24/7 surveillance. In this book, Linda, Nancy, and Tom could not have evaded such a surveillance. Sooooo, it is only realistic in the scenario where the President did not want them discovered. Therefore……

How do you think the American public and/or the American judicial system would react to something like this?

Wow! I think much of the American public would be supportive, unless there were collateral damage blamable on the vigilantes. Then, not so much. This takes place—fictionally, remember—in the future. Americans today are so polarized that today there would be, unquestionably, material numbers of Americans appalled at the “moral ambiguities,” as Bernard Cornwell so aptly points out on the cover. In a future world of almost daily successful terrorist attacks, I think Americans would be largely supportive. The judicial system? Another wow! The vigilante acts, even those committed by US government officials, are illegal. If the murders were provable, I would think it would take something along the lines of a Presidential pardon for them to evade prison terms.

Get this book today, available via Kindle or paperback. I couldn’t put it down. It’s one for your #SummerMustReads list!



Steven W. Kohlhagen is an award-winning author, former economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley and former Wall Street investment banker who currently sits on several corporate Boards. His novel Where They Bury You (Sunstone Press) received the National Indie Excellence Book Award for Best Western of 2014. The sequel, Chief of Thieves (Sunstone Press) was a 2015 Finalist in the same award as well as the 2015 USA Best Book Awards Fiction: Western category, and was also a finalist for a 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award for Historical Fiction. He has also published a murder mystery co-written with his wife, Gale, entitled Vanished (Sunstone Press).  Steve and Gale divide their time between their homes in the San Juan Mountains and Charleston, South Carolina. Visit him at

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About the Author:

I am a writer of fiction, history & travel journalist. Originally from Tennessee, I now live in Atlanta, GA. History, travel, and international culture are my specialties. Look for my fictional stories, written as Hunter S. Jones. If you love history, check out Sexuality & Its Impact on History: The British Stripped Bare, an all-female collection of essays, coming soon from Pen & Sword Books.
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