Meet Jodie Moore

A daring young female Mossad agent tackles global jihad in a novel where fact meets fiction.

Demonstrator rage against Israel in protest in Amman, following shooting of Jordanian judge (photo credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS)
Demonstrator rage against Israel in protest in Amman, following shooting of Jordanian judge
 A social call by a Jordanian deputy cabinet minister to the home of the Israeli consul in Amman degenerates into bloodshed, and generates international fallout against Israel.
What happened? After the deputy minister enters the apartment, the consul’s bodyguard believes his charge is under extreme threat. Shots are fired and the minister and his son lie dead. The incident pushes relations between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom to the edge of the abyss.
Wait, didn’t I read that recently on the Internet? Nah, that’s another scenario.
The characteristic lethargy on a warm spring day at the Allenby Bridge crossing point between Jordan and Israel is suddenly shattered by shots. A Jordanian judge has apparently tried to grab an IDF soldier’s gun. The soldier, feeling that his life is being threatened, fires his rifle. The judge lies dead. The Jordanian Parliament subsequently demands the end to the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and enraged mobs in Amman call for the elimination of Israel.
The first incident didn’t actually happen.
It was written some time prior to the Allenby Bridge shooting, which occurred on March 10.
The Amman imbroglio is part of the plot line of Strip Mine, a spy novel published on February 4. As can be seen by the above Jordanian incidents, the story is as fresh as tomorrow’s news. In fact, author Dan Williams wryly describes his writing as “informed fiction.”
As a veteran spy novel consumer, I can attest to the authentic feel of the story as Williams introduces a new heroine into the world of spy literature.
Move aside John le Carré’s Little Drummer Girl. Enter Jodie Moore. Like le Carré’s Charlie, Jodie’s a British-born woman working for the Mossad. Unlike the gentile Charlie, Jodie’s half-Jewish and she’s a fulltime operative and has been working for Israel’s foreign intelligence agency for the past 14 years. Charlie was recruited for one operation to take out Khalil, a top Palestinian terrorist; Jodie’s quarry is different.
The Amman incident is one of a series of plots masterminded by a global jihadist operating out of Chechnya. A previous disaster, involving the mass deaths of Turkish tourists in an airliner on its way to Israel, was devised to implicate the Jewish state. The ultimate atrocity, designed to bring the wrath of the whole Islamic world down on Israel, involves implicating Israel in the wholesale death of civilians in Gaza.
London-born Williams is a senior correspondent for Reuters in Jerusalem, where he has covered Middle East intelligence, defense and diplomatic issues for 15 years.
He previously worked as a Jerusalem Post news-desk editor, Hollywood script doctor and arms dealer. He lives with his wife and three children near Jerusalem.
Williams’s writing is taut and fast-paced, as befits a news agency correspondent, and is well-suited to the genre.
He leads us through Jodie’s recruitment in Oxford in 2000 and development as an agent. We reach the corridors of power at Mossad headquarters in Ramat Hasharon, where the looming jihadist threat is being tracked and the decision is made to pitch Jodie into the fray to eliminate it.
Jodie, under cover as an anti-Israel activist, sails into Gaza on board a small vessel bringing aid. There she comes up against a ruthless terrorist, Masha Khanov, the daughter of the elusive Chechen jihadist Ruslan Khanov, a.k.a. Sheikh Bayfal.
Ruslan is the mastermind behind the anti-Israel plot. The clock is ticking and Jodie has to call on all her reserves of courage and skill to foil it.
The plot is deft, convincing and informed.
The fiction is underpinned by some facts – agencies, locations and historical event.
Strip Mine is Williams’s first book. When asked what had brought him to thriller writing, he told the Post: “Spy fiction has a right-brain/ left-brain appeal for me, in that it allows me to ventilate ideas that are not generally part of my journalism. As you know, covering real-life Mideast events often gives rise to speculation about back-stories, conspiracies, etc., which – rightly – remain well away from the reportage.
In my case, some found their way into the novel.
“As for the title ‘Strip Mine’: Strip-mining is a process of revealing the lode through the removal of layers. I like that image. The digging metaphor ties into the Gaza tunnels, too. Then there’s the word play: Gaza Strip, and ‘mine,’ referring to the explosive ending.”
Williams envisages at least two sequels in the Jodie Moore franchise. Her next adventure will likely involve Afghanistan and Iran. I impatiently wait to read it.