Relatively new to the thriller scene, author Connor Sullivan’s daring debut novel Sleeping Bear attracted a well-deserved spotlight on him, drawing praise from authors including James Patterson.
His second novel, Wolf Trap, takes full advantage of the well-deserved attention: Sullivan confidently spins multiple storylines around his central plot with the mastery of a well-seasoned conductor in front of an orchestra. Despite juggling many characters across the United States and the Middle East, Wolf Trap is easily readable and engaging for a wide range of readers.
Whereas Sullivan’s first novel took a brilliantly detailed dive into Russian intelligence agencies and espionage, Wolf Trap shines light on a fictional yet feasible future in which the United States leads the global pack with a bold climate change initiative.
While the novel features main character and former Ground Branch paramilitary officer Brian Rhome, it also introduces dissident journalists, Saudi royalty, and of course, plenty of spies.
Don’t be fooled by the “thriller” designation though; many elements of Wolf Trap unfold in a nearly nonfiction manner, and the amount of research that went into the book is immediately evident.
Climate Change and Covert Operations:
Setting the scene in the U.S., Sullivan introduces his readers to Angela Buchanan—President of the United States.
The fictional POTUS is preparing her Global Green Accord for the world stage. Her pledge to deter the world’s nations from fossil fuel dependence is her driving force, and the book is full of subtle references to what a future forced to confront climate change may look like.
The Global Green Accord immediately mirrors the Paris Agreements in its scope and urgency, but with a specific focus on carbon-neutral economies rather than a decrease in the global average temperature.
The pressure placed on world leaders both in today’s world and in Wolf Trap is immense. No nation wants to be left behind while others advance in green technology, but neither does any nation seem eager to radically pioneer a true independence from fossil fuels.
Recently, new reporting requirements under the Enhanced Transparency Framework will allow experts new insights into the progress that countries under the Paris Agreement are making.
Third Option Foundation:
It’s no secret that the CIA’s Ground Branch is central to the Wolf Trap storyline.
While Wolf Traps‘s main character Brain Rhome is fictional, Sullivan credits his friendships with individuals who have had similar careers and experiences as the inspiration for his cast of covert characters.
The CIA’s Special Activities Center is commonly referred to as the “Third Option”, with the first and second options being diplomacy and military action, respectively. Sullivan’s portrayals of the center’s land-based Ground Branch of the SAC demonstrates his immense respect for those who served on covert missions critical to national security.
While the author naturally had to take creative liberties in his descriptions of the group’s operations, he goes the extra mile to bring attention to the Third Option Foundation (TOF) in the novel as well.
The TOF is a nonprofit organization that seeks to heal, help, and honor members of the CIA’s special operations communities by “quietly helping those who quietly serve.” They provide support to the children and families of the SAC and offer medical and behavioral health services for active-duty operators.
While Wolf Trap readers will likely walk away with an envy of Connor Sullivan’s skills and a newfound suspicion of their quickly draining phone battery, Strike Source sees the book as a realistic reminder of the stakes of a greener world.
If you want an educational adrenaline rush and a new standard for what an exceptional thriller novel should look like, go buy the book.