Executive Actions by Gary Grossman – Guest Post

Executive Actions

by Gary Grossman

on Tour June 1 – July 31, 2017


Executive Actions

In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke gets an assignment that turns his world upside down. His investigation uncovers a plot so monstrous it can change the course of America’s future and world politics. Roarke discovers that presidency is about to fall into the hands of a hostile foreign power. The power play is so well-conceived that even the U.S. Constitution itself is a tool designed to guarantee the plot’s success. With the election clock ticking, Roarke and Boston attorney Katie Kessler race at breakneck speed to prevent the unthinkable. But they also know that it will take a miracle to stop the takeover from happening.

Praise for the Executive Series:

“Executive Actions is the best political thriller I have read in a long, long time. Right up there with the very best of David Baldacci. [A] masterpiece of suspense; powerfully written and filled with wildly imaginative twists. Get ready to lose yourself in a hell of a story.”
Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author

“Break out the flashlight, and prepare to stay up all night … Once you start reading Executive Actions you won’t be able to put it down.”
Bruce Feirstein, James Bond screenwriter, and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor

“Executive Command mixes terrorists, politics, drug gangs and technology in nonstop action! Gary Grossman creates a … horribly plausible plot to attack the United States. So real it’s scary!”
Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Exit Plan, Cold Choices, Red Dragon Rising

“Moving at break-neck speed, Executive Command is nothing short of sensational … Executive Command is not just a great book, it’s a riveting experience.”
W.G. Griffiths, award-winning, bestselling author of Methuselah’s Pillar, Malchus

“Executive Command ramps up the excitement … A truly bravura performance from a master of the political thriller!”
Dwight Jon Zimmerman, New York Times bestselling co-author of Lincoln’s Last Days, Uncommon Valor

“Intricate, taut, and completely mesmerizing. Grossman expertly blends together globe-spanning locations, well-researched technology, finely crafted narrative, and intriguing characters to create a virtuoso tale. Highly recommended.”
Dale Brown, New York Times bestselling author

“Executive Treason is more chilling than science fiction … You’ll never listen to talk radio again without a shiver going down your spine.”
Gary Goldman, Executive Producer, Minority Report; Screenwriter, Navy SEALs & Total Recall

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thriller, Mystery
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication Date:

January 13th 2012
Number of Pages: 556
ISBN: 1626811059 (ISBN13: 9781626811058)
Series: Executive #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗


by Gary Grossman

I didn’t tell my wife I was writing a novel.

After all, I had never written a novel. I didn’t know how it would turn out. Whether it would be good. If I could even finish it.

So every night, long after I came home from my day job as a TV producer, after homework help with the kids, after my wife and I put the kids to bed, I would hit the computer and write my three pages.

Nothing out of the ordinary. I was usually on the computer most evenings.

I researched. I sent emails. I printed out materials. I wrote.

Then I learned the Number One rule: I should have told my wife what I was doing.

Why? Simply because one fine day (actually not so fine) she found some very suspicious internet research in a file folder I’d left on our desk: Printouts about poisons that can dissolve and disappear in a body. Poisons even a skilled coroner won’t likely find. Papers on sniper rifles accurate in the right hands for hundreds of yards. And places to train on their usage.

Helene read the research in a manila file and thought I was trying to kill her.

Imagine waiting for me to come home that day!

Poisons. Sniper rifles. It was a long wait.

Actually, the only thing I was guilty of was writing a tense, political thriller that no one knew about. Not yet. Not my business partner. Not my wife. Not until that evening.

“Gary… .” (Gary, not honey.) “Do we have a problem?” she asked at the front door.

I didn’t see the file in her hand.I didn’t get a kiss either.

“Problem?” I responded with a smile. “What problem?”

“Follow me.”

I did.

“Again, do we have a problem?” she said in our home office.

“No, of course not,” I responded.

“Are you sure?” She put the file on the desk where she’d found them. (Maybe put isn’t the most accurate term.) That’s when I realized what she had.

“Oh those,” I said lightly laughing.

I was the only one in the room laughing. The kids were watching TV.

“Yes, those.” She leafed through the pages on poisons and rifles. She was deadly serious.

“Those?” I smiled meekly and looked up.

She held the high ground. Very high.

“I’m…I’m writing a novel. A thriller.”

Seeing her completely justifiably expression that only said, Sure you are with a Show me kind of way, I slid into the computer chair and called up the working file. A quick – very quick – word search brought me first to one critical scene I’d written, then another. She read over my shoulder. The words exonerated me and completely relieved her.

Well, as my story continues, Helene lived and EXECUTIVE ACTIONS was born with research a tremendous part of my work.

In addition to the poisons and weaponry, I consulted and met with a Navy Commander from the NY Public Affairs Office. Since EXECUTIVE ACTIONS is a presidential thriller, I reviewed key elements with leading Washington D.C. and Boston University U.S. Constitutional law attorneys. I worked with FBI experts in Facial Recognition Technology and forensics, a State Department career officer, a retired Army intelligence officer, among others.

Real people who gave me real information. From inside the White House on down. Content that added credibility, authenticity, and believability.

All of it was necessary because EXECUTIVE ACTIONS is grounded in history, echoes today’s news, and foretells tomorrow’s.

Specifically, EXECUTIVE ACTIONS centers on a long incubating Russian sleeper spy cell operating in the United States.The target is the highest office in the land and arguably the most important in the world – the presidency itself.

I delve into the history of how the Soviet Union had trained spies to not only pass as Americans but literally to become Americans. Their special education was held at the KGB’s famed Andropov Institute. A real place. All too real. During the Cold War the Soviets had to train spies to think like Americans – that is to say not haggle when buying items, how to successful apply for a house loan without be suspicious of the banks, the way to work proper idiomatic expressions into conversation, and how to deal with the wide range of choices Americans have had over everything – from toothpaste to sneakers. The spies had to be inserted into life here and wait for either activation or with the plot of EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, maturation.

If you’re a fan of TV’s “The Americans” you have the picture.

But EXECUTIVE ACTIONS shows more. Much more. It moves through a presidential campaign (like ones I’ve covered as a journalist and TV documentarian), doors that open and lives that end, and the poisons and the sniper rifles that come into play (fictionally with great relief from my wife). The plot covers the world and deep dives into history giving readers a sense of Middle East folklore and the laws that govern presidential succession here today. More research.

EXECUTIVE ACTIONS begins with an assassination on the campaign trail in Hudson, New York (my hometown) and concludes on the steps of the United States Capitol. The thriller has a strong woman character in attorney Katie Kessler and a very believable co-hero, Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke.

These principal characters, along with a host of others, also appear in sequels to EXECUTIVE ACTIONS. I’m working on the latest one right now. Trust me, it’s a book my wife definitely knows I’m writing!

Gary Grossman is author of the EXECUTIVE series starting with EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, OLD EARTH, the soon-to-be released RED HOTEL, and two books on television history. He is an Emmy Award winning television producer, having produced more than 10,000 shows for 40 networks. He’s also a member of the International Thriller Writers Association.

He can be reached through gary@garygrossman.com, www.garygrossman.com and on twitter @garygrossman1

Read an excerpt:

by Gary Grossman

Washington, D.C. Sunday 22 June

“Topic one. Theodore Wilson Lodge. Presidential material?” bellowed the host at the top of his Sunday morning television show. He directed his question to the political pundit to his left. “Victor Monihan, syndicated columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, is Teddy ready, yes or no?”

“Yes,” Monihan shot back. You had to speak up quickly on the lively program. There was no air between questions and answers. “If the cameras could vote, he’d be a shoo-in.”

“But they don’t. So again, will it be Mr. Lodge goes to Washington?” quizzed the host of the revamped McLaughlin Group. The reference to the Frank Capra movie was lost on most of the audience. Even AMC and Turner Classics weren’t running very many black and white movies anymore.

“Absolutely.” Monihan didn’t take a breath between thoughts. The host hated dead air. Pause and you’re dead. Someone else will jump in. “He’s totally informed, he’s had great committee assignments and he can do the job. Congressman Lodge comes off as a highly capable leader. Trustworthy. The all-American boy grown up. And he positively looks like a president should look … presidential.”

“So a tan and a good build gets you to the White House?” the host argued.

“It means I don’t have to worry about him taking my job.” The overweight columnist laughed, which made his belly spread his shirt to a point just shy of popping the buttons. The joke was good, but he lost his platform with it.

“Roger Deutsch, freelance writer for Vanity Fair, right now Lodge is trailing Governor Lamden. Can Teddy make it up?”

“No. With only two days before the New York primary, there’s no way Lodge can do it. He doesn’t have the votes. And there’s not enough time to get them. Henry Lamden will be addressing the Democratic Party at the August convention in Denver. But even when he gets the nomination, he’ll have a hard time against Taylor.”

The discussion expanded to include the other members of the panel. They talked about Montana Governor Henry Lamden’s qualities. About President Morgan Taylor’s rigid persona. About the voters’ appetite. And back again to the possibilities. “Is there any way Lodge can do what fellow Vermont favorite son Calvin Coolidge did: go all the way to the White House?” the venerable host rhetorically asked. The panel knew this was not the time to reply. Turning to the camera the host said, “Not according to my watch.”

This was the throw to the video package from the campaign trail.

Teddy Lodge smiled as he sat on the edge of his hotel bed to get closer to the TV set. He was half-packed. The rest would wait until the videotape report concluded. Lodge pressed the volume louder on his remote.

“It’s on,” he called to his wife, Jenny.

“Be right out,” she answered from the bathroom. Lodge tightened the knot on the hand-painted tie he’d been given the day before. The gift, from a home crafter in Albany, would go into his collection and eventually into his Presidential Library. But first he’d wear it for the cameras. She’d see it and tell everyone she knew. More votes.

Mrs. Lodge leaned over her husband and hugged him as he watched himself on TV. “You look great, sweetheart.” He agreed. The footage was perfect: Lodge in the thick of an adoring Manhattan crowd, the wind playing with his wavy brown hair, his Armani suit jacket draped over his arm. He came off relaxed and in charge; less like a politician than an everyday guy. An everyday guy who saw himself as President of the United States. And at 6’2” he stood above most of the crowd.

Lodge knew the unusual statistical edge his height provided. Historically, the taller of the two major presidential candidates almost always wins the election. And he was considerably taller than President Morgan Taylor.

The host obviously wasn’t a supporter. But the coverage counted. He hit the bullet points of Lodge’s career.

“Teddy’s been fast-tracking since college. He graduated Yale Law School and has a graduate degree in Physics at Stanford. The man speaks three languages. He worked on various government contracts until he decided to return to his country home in Burlington, Vermont, and run for State Assembly. Two years later, so long Burlington, hello Washington. Mr. Lodge went to Capitol Hill as a young, energetic first-term congressman. He distinguished himself in international politics and now serves as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. He’s as close to a rocket scientist as they come in Washington. He heads the House Committee on Energy and understands the complexities of the issues. But is he going to the White House?” the moderator asked in his feature videotape. “New Yorkers will decide Tuesday.”

And with that set up came the obligatory sound bite. It couldn’t have been better if Teddy Lodge had picked it himself. It was declarative and persuasive. The producer of the video package must have been in his camp.

“Tomorrow the world will be different. More dangerous. More hateful. Different times need different leaders. Make no mistake, there are no more safe harbors or promised lands. Unless … unless we make better choices today than yesterday. Better friends tomorrow than today.”

As he watched, Lodge remembered the clincher was yet to come. Things like that just didn’t get cut. He was right.

“So come with me and discover a new America. Come with me and discover a new world.”

Thunderous applause followed; applause from the audience at a Madison Square Garden rally.

Eighteen seconds total screen time. Unbelievable on McLaughlin. But Lodge was not an easy edit. He’d learned to break the sound bite barrier by constantly modulating his voice for impact, issuing phrases in related couplets and triplets, and punching them with an almost religious zeal.

Like everything else in his life, he worked hard at communicating effectively. He punctuated every word with a moderately-affected New England accent. Whether or not they agreed with his politics, columnists called him the best orator in years. Increasing numbers of them bestowed almost Kennedy like reverence. And through the camera lens, baby boomers saw an old friend while younger voters found a new voice.

The video story ended and the host brought the debate back to his panel. “Peter Weisel, Washington Bureau Chief of The Chicago Tribune, What sayest thou? Can Teddy un-lodge Lamden?”

“Unlikely.” Weisel, a young, black reporter, was the outspoken liberal of the panel and a realist. “But he’ll help the ticket. He’s a strong Number Two. A junior pairing with Governor Lamden can work. The flip side of Kennedy-Johnson. Let the Democrats make him VP. Besides, his good looks won’t go away in four or eight years. TV will still like him.”

Theodore Wilson Lodge, 46 years old and strikingly handsome, definitely could pull in the camera lens. He had the same effect on women and they held far more votes in America than men. The fact was not lost on the show’s only female contributor of the week. “Debra Redding of The Boston Globe, is Lodge your man?”

Without missing a beat she volunteered, “There are only two problems that I see. One, I’m married. The other – so is he.”

What a wonderful way to start the morning, the congressman said to himself.


Excerpt from Executive Actions by Gary Grossman. Copyright © 2017 by Gary Grossman. Reproduced with permission from Gary Grossman. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Gary Grossman

Gary Grossman is a multiple Emmy Award-winning network television producer, a print and television journalist, and novelist. He has produced more than 10,000 television shows for 40 broadcast and cable networks including primetime specials, reality and competition series, and live event telecasts.

Grossman has worked for NBC, written for the Boston Globe, Boston Herald American, and the New York Times. He is the author of four bestselling international award-winning thrillers available in print, eBooks, and Audible editions: EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, EXECUTIVE TREASON, EXECUTIVE COMMAND and OLD EARTH. (Diversion Books, NYC) and two acclaimed non-fiction books covering pop culture and television history – SUPERMAN: SERIAL TO CEREAL and SATURDAY MORNING TV.

Grossman taught journalism, film and television at Emerson College, Boston University, and USC and has guest lectured at colleges and universities around the United States. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Emerson College in Boston and he serves on the Boston University Metropolitan College Advisory Board. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association and The Military Writers Society of America.

Catch Up With Gary Grossman On:
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