For more than four years, Joe Wooldridge worked as a DEA Special Agent assigned to the Kabul Country Office. That’s Kabul as in Kabul, Afghanistan. I can’t imagine being a DEA agent is a picnic anywhere, but in Afghanistan–that’s something.
Joe wrote to me years ago to tell me he enjoyed TOOTH AND NAIL. After he got back, he wrote again to say he wanted to send me a gift–a T-shirt, challenge coin and a patch. He wrote:
“I was in Afghanistan for four years and three months … I was thrilled to discover you, Joe McKinney, Stephen Knight, Iain McKinnon and several other Z authors while I was there. The hours of escape to zombie land made my time there easier. Thanks my friend.”
Here’s the gift:
I was amazed by his gift for several reasons. First, it shows the magic of reading–how big an impact a book can make on someone’s life. I can personally attest to that as a reader. Second, it’s another case for me of that awkward situation where somebody doing something incredibly dangerous for his country thanks a guy who sat on his ass and typed out a book. I think most Americans can agree that serving your country is a noble thing, and serving your country in a very dangerous job is noblest of all. I should be thanking him (and I have). But again, it shows the power of reading and how the escape it offers into the imagination can mean a lot at the right time.
I will be returning the favor and sending him an autographed copy of TOOTH AND NAIL.
Thanks again, Joe!