Featured Friday: Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office | Jo Linsdell

Featured Friday: Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office

Title - Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office
Author - Khalid Muhammad

Purchase link- http://smarturl.it/amazon-ar

Book Blurb:

Celebrated as a ragtag force that defeated and broke the Soviet Union, no one predicted the Mujahideen would bring with them a plague that would spread like wildfire through Pakistan in the years to follow. When the battle-worn fighters returned with no enemy or war to fight, they turned their sights on the country that had been their creator and benefactor.

From the same battlegrounds that birthed the Mujahideen, a young Kamal Khan emerges as a different breed of warrior. Discarding his wealthy family comforts, Kamal becomes a precision sniper, an invincible commando and a clandestine operative bringing intimidation, dominance and death with him to the battlefield. Ending the plague is his prime directive.

Shrouded in political expediency, hampered by internal power struggles, international espionage and doublespeak that makes Washington's spin doctors proud, Kamal's mission is a nightmare of rampant militant fundamentalism that threatens to choke and take Pakistan hostage. For him, the fight is not just for freedom, but the survival of a nation.

Author bio:

By day, Khalid Muhammad is a mild-mannered business executive keeping busy running a marketing and brand management company. By night, his alter ego emerges; one that has a penchant for sadistic retribution towards those who wrong others, and that spends its time devising intricate and detailed plans for a nefarious end.

Born in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley, educated and raised in the United States, Khalid returned to Pakistan almost 17 years ago and fell in love with his country. His debut novel, Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office, is a journey behind the headlines about Pakistan, the world's most dangerous place, to deliver an intense story that will challenge the reader to question everything they have been told about the country.

He began writing to let the wickedness escape, as the other option means a great deal of blood, numerous torture implements and... well, infinite ways to dump a body. It's safer for everyone involved and less dangerous for the guilty... until he writes another book.


This fast paced action/adventure has plenty of blood and guts. If this is made into a movie, they will have to order fake blood by the tanker full. But it is never gratuitous, rather it is realistic as can be verified by news reports from this part of the world. Muhammad is simply telling his story honestly. The fact that most of the bloodletting comes from internal power struggles, often spurred by foreign interests, is what gives the story its heft, it's the engine that drives our hero to take life threatening risks.

Khalid’s main character, Kamal Khan, begins the story as a very accomplished and decorated sniper. He is chosen to take on a delicate job and with that success he finds he is quickly advanced through ISI training and becomes an intelligence officer. His keen eye, wit and disposition make him particularly good at what he does. The sniper who once did his work from a distance, removed from the life he ended, is now excelling at terror tactics and accomplished at interrogation. He has become the weapon he no longer needs a sniper rifle. As I read the novel, Kamal’s character was not an attractive or particularly appealing hero, he’s a very dark and cruel man–yet there is something incredibly alluring about the idea of someone having such power. Kamal is nothing if not the iron fist that determines life and death. For all intents and purposes he has become an Angel of Death–if I may apply a non-Muslim ideal to it and for some reason in my head that ability to choose who lives and who dies is an very artful quality.

Agency Rules- Never An Easy Day at Office” is a fictional account of Talibanization led by the collapse of Soviet Union and how it is a national threat for today’s Pakistan. Khalid Muhammad, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 18, makes his readers to walk down the danger zones of Pakistan held by Mujahideen and keeps them enthused through covert operations of his invincible commando, Kamal Khan. From Presidency to ISI Headquarters and from Talibans’ training camps to Washington’s surveillance, this novel has put forward those realities that are momentous to the future of Pakistan.
It’s a great mix of action, suspense, and romance.

'Agency Rules' is a great spy thriller. It is also a great book about Pakistan; its people, its government; its spy agency (ISI), and its culture. It is an amazing story, extremely well told, with fabulous descriptions, as they could only be done by someone who fully understands Pakistan, as a country, and the Pakistani people.
The story is believable and fast paced. It is a 5 Star book and a "must read". I highly recommend this book.

Agency Rules by Khalid Muhammad is a fast-paced thriller that will give readers a different perspective on one of the most volatile regions on the globe. For action buffs and current events aficionados alike, this is one you won't want to miss.


Why did you write this book?

I first got the idea for the book about 6 years ago. I tried many different flavors of how the story should come together in terms of flow and structure, but it never really worked for me until I switched gears and let more of myself into the writing. I am extremely pro-Army and pro-Pakistan – it will always be home to me.
Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office takes you behind the headlines into the events that created today’s Pakistan. It is a tough look at a nation in conflict from the eyes of a young man, Kamal Khan, who is looking for his own identity and place in society. Kamal is raised in privilege, but leaves it all behind as a man to serve his nation. Once in that environment, finds himself embroiled in a complex narrative that shifts with the fiery speeches of their anointed political and religious leaders.

There are a number of motivations behind my story. First, and probably the most important motivation, was to share the Pakistan that I know with the world. The narrative that has become commonplace about my country is that it is a failed state with many players in the power corridor, but that is not all that Pakistan is. My Pakistan is a country that struggles with inept governments more interested in themselves rather than the people who elected them. It is a country whose people are extremely talented and patriotic but unable to take advantage of any opportunities because the country is run like a fiefdom rather than a nation. It is a country in search of its identity, much like Kamal, that is trapped amidst power plays from internal and external forces.

Secondly, I grew up reading spy thrillers filled with the exploits of CIA, MI6 and KGB agents. While reading all of these stories, I always wondered why no one had ever written about Pakistan’s intelligence services, the ISI, and the challenges they face everyday. Geopolitically, Pakistan is host to numerous intelligence agencies working within its borders, a public secret here and the ISI holds it’s own against all of them. Its routinely demonized by foreign nations, and much of that is because it is so good at what it does.

The backdrop of terrorism does make telling the story easier, but to paint the mosaic of the complexities I had to move backwards to the 1990s so that the reader could understand what happened to create the image of the country as it is today. It’s also a little bit of what I wish had happened rather than what really has happened. In my story, as in real life in fact, the people of Pakistan are the underdog against so many powerful forces, it’s a miracle we still exist. That we do is testament to our resilience as a nation, no matter what you read in the international press.

I hope that, as a reader, you will experience that Pakistan that I fell in love with when I moved home from the United States after 25 years. You will feel your heart wrench with Kamal’s when he is stationed in Karachi, Peshawar and buried deep inside the terrorist camps. And, hopefully, you will cheer him on, because he is the Pakistani that you don’t see in the media – smart, driven and motivated to do good for his family, fellow citizens and country.
Anything in particular you’d like to share about this book?

Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office, rather than picking up from today, stumbles backwards to the 1990s, right after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the beginnings of the extremist/terrorist camps within the tribal areas. Fresh from a successful war with a superpower, the Mujahideen fighters that had traveled from Pakistan returned home. A segment of these fighters with more militant leanings looked to change the country that had neglected them and their religious beliefs in favor of a liberal agenda that allowed women to attend schools, men to dress in Western clothing and Islam to be sequestered to Friday prayers and religious holidays.

The story will take you through the 90s and the networks that were created within the country’s madrassahs (religious schools) that today funnel fighters into the al-Qaeda and the fight against the NATO forces in Afghanistan. It will give you a picture of Pakistan through one man’s eyes as he fights for his own identity and place in society. He is the embodiment of the Pakistani that the world doesn’t see in the headlines or the evening news. As the honorable soldier, the precision sniper, the intelligence operative and the conflicted man, Kamal Khan takes you through one of the greatest adventures before the War on Terror started to a Pakistan that is at war with itself.

What I have just described to you is not all of what Pakistan is today. It is a nation that is fighting for its existence in the community of nations, but it is also a nation full of hard-working, educated, honest people that want to see peace returned to their country. And there lies the rub…

Over the years, Pakistan has been infiltrated by traitors to the nation, more interested in bolstering their offshore bank accounts and assets, than they are in building a better country. The repercussions are felt like shockwaves throughout the country every day - an economy in tatters, education non-existent for those without wealth and employment opportunities unavailable for those without approach. It’s the same Pakistan that the religious extremists use to recruit more followers into their holy wars.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Well, books 2 & 3 are in the beta reader stage and have already been through the first few rounds of editing. I am hoping to have them out at the end of November. I am already planning book 4 in the series.

In addition to the Agency Rules series, I will be working on a crime thriller that I hope to publish around June of next year. I can’t talk a great deal about it yet because I am stilling in the planning stages with it, but I’ll be posting about it on our website and social media platforms once the story starts to come together.