Category Archives: Spy novels

The facts within the fiction

_DSC3194 copyIt is and has always been my top priority to develop captivating stories that people will want to read and talk about. But I also want my stories to give readers a deeper understanding of issues that may — and possibly already have — invaded their world. There is truth within every fiction if you know where to look. All of my stories, and the characters within them, are based on my experience and imagination. The events and people in these stories are not real but blend in with actual files. Like I have always said since my days in the CIA, were I permitted to talk or write about real-world intelligence activities, the tales would be similar. It is up to the reader to participate in the planning sessions and share the action and adventure with the characters.

Run to Freedom

The beginning of the Brandon family saga. Discover how the foundation of strength, strategy, and love was built, and prepare to fall in love yourself with the Brandons.

“A fast-moving page-turner.”

“The characters were so well developed.”

Justice Beyond Law

Everything you want from a good book is right here, from the classic good versus evil with some romance mixed in, as well as intrigue, wit, and a plot that will make you wonder, “Could this really happen?”

“Never knew the wheels were down on my flight. I was so consumed.”

Justice without Mercy

The Brandon family action continues and their mettle is tested when they need to find the balance between national security and tracking down a serial killer.

“My husband won the fight to read it first. He loved it.”

Shades of Justice

How far would you go to stop evil? Is there anything you wouldn’t do to protect the innocent? The Brandon family will be forced to answer these questions as they take matters into their own hands when a human trafficking ring hits close to home.

“Combines real-life experiences with a great imagination.”

“I liked the tradecraft and planning, it gave me an insight into your world.”


Quiet Justice

When terrorists try to take down innocents on U.S. soil, the Brandons take the fight to Fallujah.

“The reader is able to remember who each character is from the outset.”

“It was always an effort to put it down.”


Blood Justice

This book “is enough to wrap ice around your heart to see how similar the plot is to real-life radical terrorism.”

“Characters were wonderful.”

“Plot developed enticingly.”

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My most recent novel, “Blood Justice,” reviewed in daily newspaper

My latest novel, “Blood Justice,” has recently been reviewed by the local newspaper, The Sun News. Check it out in its entirety below and be sure to share your thoughts of my books with me on this website or on Amazon.


Blood Justice Front CoverIn his seventh Jack Brandon novel, “Blood Justice,” author Barry Kelly uses fiction, strong characters and an action-packed plot that seems to be two steps ahead of the current news about ISIS, terrorist attacks and the radicalization of America’s youth.

In “Blood Justice,” Jack Brandon, the hero of seven of Kelly’s novels, along with his team of behind-the-scenes warriors, works with the CIA to battle jihadists in America. But mostly, the team seems to do as it chooses, with Brandon’s guidance. That includes finding terrorist camps where young people are being radicalized and stopping the attacks that they are meant to perpetrate.

“Blood Justice” brings to light some of the dangers of political correctness when dealing with ISIS, and, from the viewpoint of its characters, offers some insight into why and how young Americans are radicalized to the point of being used to carry out suicide missions and mass attacks against their country.

In “Blood Justice,” the Brandon team encounters one of its most formidable foes, a terrorist operative called Tracker, who almost manages to outsmart the team as they fight to prevent mass terrorist attacks in America.

There is no shortage of adventure and action, which kept me turning the pages and following the twists and turns of a well-contrived plot with good descriptions of people and places that reflect Kelly’s imagination and his life experiences.

“Blood Justice,” like all of Kelly’s books, has been reviewed and approved by the CIA to prevent disclosure of classified information. Kelly, a former CIA agent with years of deep-cover experience, blends his creativity with his knowledge of espionage, counter-terrorism, black operations, the inner working of the government security apparatus and much more to create his Jack Brandon novels.

His years in the CIA, the Navy and on the National Security staff as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, along with the rest of his rich history of service, education and awards that is shared in the About the Author section of “Blood Justice,” enhances the reader’s perceived credibility of his stories.

Kelly’s descriptions of people and places are signs of his years of watching people, his knowledge about disguise and his travels as he worked with the U.S. government in places around the world.

Jack Brandon and his team are experts when it comes to killing, but unlike their enemies, they only kill when it appears to be absolutely necessary to keep them and the country safe.

Brandon’s team always includes a highly trained canine, a Bouvier des Flandres, Kelly’s favorite breed. “Blood Justice” is dedicated to Gideon, Kelly’s dog who was the inspiration for the canine character in it. Gideon, also shown training with Kelly on the back cover, died of cancer prior to the publication of “Blood Justice.”

As Jack Brandon and his team carry on their war against terrorists in Kelly’s fiction stories, attacks like the ones he writes about are being planned and carried out by terrorists in America and around the world.

Other novels by Barry Kelly are “Justice Beyond Law,” “Justice without Mercy,” “Shades of Justice,” “The Justice Trilogy,” “Run to Freedom” and “Quiet Justice.” All of his books are published by Prose Press of Pawleys Island and are available online and at most book outlets.


You can purchase this book and all my others directly from my Amazon Author Page or from Barnes & Noble. Merry Christmas!

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Newest novel, “Blood Justice” is available now —

My latest novel, another installment in my Jack Brandon series, is available now in Kindle and Nook and paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as a paperback in local bookstores.

Here’s the preface:

Blood Justice Front CoverThrough the ages, storytellers have used fiction to educate as well as entertain audiences. Fiction also helps us to talk about sensitive or unpleasant subjects.

In this work of fiction, I want the reader to understand how an alien ideology, like the version of Islam spread by ISIS violence, could find a foothold in America. If we are too complacent about the destructive messages preached in some mosques, it could happen, and it could happen soon. Put yourself in the footsteps of a young person who has lost hope and has no dreams left and see what leads to aligning with ISIS.

If you think political correctness is a harmless attitude, look at it as preventing a rational response to dangerous ideologies and threats. You may personally discount the entreaties of the far left to see security procedures and protocols as a danger to freedom, but they are far the lesser of two evils.

The power of government needs to be closely watched. For now, the greater danger is from our many enemies who can benefit from the politically correct rhetoric which denies we are at war with radical Islam and want to apply the legal rights of American citizens to foreign enemies. You do not fight a war using a “law and order” approach. It is a difficult balance but it must be done. Our heritage is not to commit national suicide following the cries of the political correctness champions.

Click here to get your ebook or paperback now or to check out some of my other novels.

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My latest novel, “ISIS: Quiet Justice,” was reviewed in the local daily newspaper this week, The Sun News. Read the review online here or read it below:

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9781941069240-Perfect isis coverYou loyal people who read my blogs and follow my posts on Facebook and Twitter know that I am a storyteller. I do not hope to write a great American novel, but my readers and their reviews tell me I have written five very good stories featuring Jack Brandon and his Bouvier des Flandres who are supported by several very strong women. Each of these stories cover some aspect of current law and order problems. They fit several genres: mystery, adventure, thrillers, espionage, and terrorism. All have been available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print and digital form. I do not personally try to sell them. I’m busy enough writing more novels and my blog several times a week.

I have a publisher who is an excellent writer and artist, as well. We have breakfast at least twice a week that keeps us both semi-sane. There is not a budget to advertise my books. Once they are formatted for publication, it is up to the gods of chance to decide how many actually sell. So far, the number is in the mid hundreds. Far fewer than even the break even point financially.

While I don’t  advertise my work or travel locally to flog my novels, I do follow the advice of some successful writers. A friend of mine, a former Green Beret who served in Vietnam just before me, has written several books he personally sells from his web page. He passed on some advice he got from Mickey Spillane, who lived nearby. Mr. Spillane told him to create a character and keep writing about the same character. Fans want to follow characters they have admired and see what they do next. Mickey Spillane said, “I created Mike Hammer and rode him to success.” Other authors have stressed the need to have a blog, a fan page on Facebook, and Twitter. I do that, as well as keep a list of people who have told me how much they enjoyed my stories. Early on I found a partner/editor who has been of great help and support. But none of this has worked to sell thousands of books.

But now for the new adventure. I just published my fifth Jack Brandon novel, ISIS: Quiet Justice. It has a timely topic and is the first novel centered around ISIS exporting terrorism to America. It would have been out even sooner but the CIA took two months to review the manuscript and the galley proofs.

This time I wanted to see some real sales. At breakfast with my friend, the owner of Prose Press, I mentioned it was time for me to take some chances to promote my new book. A few days later, I told him I had scraped up a budget for advertising. Right there at the table he laid out a plan based on his background as the owner/operator of an advertising firm.

While all my books were theoretically being distributed by Ingram, the owner of Barnes and Noble and the Lightning Source on-demand printing presses, nothing much happened. Without the agreement of the author to buy back all books bought by book sales outlets and not sold, no book outlet would ever put a single book on their shelves. Rather than a net gain with the low profit margins involved, it is a real loss. So the money stolen from my nest egg has to cover book returns as well as advertising in national book distributor catalogs. A full page color ad can cost $1,800 and more than one such ad is needed, as well as other advertising costs.

I have always been a risk-taker. Win or lose, the process is exciting and this gamble is filling a part of my bucket list. It was a big deal for me to tell my blog and fan page followers that my books are now available nationwide at their local bookstore. Just check below. The kickoff is June 20 between 1 and 3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in the Market Common in Myrtle Beach.

If you can, drop by. Otherwise, wish us luck. Thank you.

“ISIS: Quiet Justice,” a new Jack Brandon novel by Barry Kelly dealing with ISIS in America, is now available nationwide from your local book store. This is the fifth novel in the “Justice” series. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

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Since the beginning of the craft of storytelling, fictional situations have been used to describe subjects that were forbidden, too sensitive for plain talk, extremely complex, or buried in boring detail. To explain the message, the story has to capture the audience with suspense, mystery, intrigue, romance, and exciting action by attractive characters. The listeners can imagine themselves acting out some of the story. The author works to develop a captivating story that people will want to read and talk about. That is my top priority. But I also want these stories to give the readers a deeper understanding of issues that may invade their world.

My first novel, Justice Beyond Law, shows how a renegade KGB officer uses an abandoned network of KGB agents that was infiltrated into America years ago. The methods, Yuri, the renegade KGB officer, uses to turn his network into a profit-making enterprise and to manage his diverse network with agents of different skills is more than plausible. The methods he uses strain the traditional law-and-order approach to terrorism.

The second novel, Justice Without Mercy, shows the process an extremist Muslim group like al-Qaeda might use to set up a series of terrorist acts in America to weaken the resolve of the people and lessen their trust in government to protect them. The plot in this novel is more probable than most people believe. Traditional law-and-order process is not capable of dealing with the fast-moving action of terrorism in the homeland. The law-and-order process pushed by the Obama administration, particularly by the attorney general, is more political than an effective counter-terrorist approach. There is a war brought by Islamic jihadists against us. It needs to be fought with a similar approach. Foreign jihadists don’t qualify for the protections of our constitution.

The third Brandon novel, Shades of Justice, deals with human trafficking that can be a profit-making business both for terrorist organizations and criminals. Readers of this novel will see how simple it is to set up a human trafficking business in nearly any large city. They will also come away with an understanding of how the traffickers operate their business from the spotting and selection of targets to the capture, movement, holding and marketing of the victims. The ‘good guys and gals’ in this novel understand and attack all aspects of the human trafficking process. As you read this, note the challenge human trafficking poses to traditional law-and-order forces.

The fourth Brandon novel, Run to Freedom, is the prequel to the Jack Brandon adventure series. In this story I rely heavily upon my knowledge of the old USSR and its KGB intelligence apparatus. The story starts in 1920 in Siberia, with a little-known deployment of American troops just as WWI was wrapping up. In this novel the readers will travel from Russia, to Poland, to Canada and several cities in America as Peter Brandon, Jack’s father, tries to escape the KGB in America. The forces the KGB deploys in America to capture or kill Peter were and are entirely within the capabilities of Russian intelligence in 1970s America, as are the methods Peter uses to escape the dragnet.

The fifth novel, ISIS Quiet Justice, is to my knowledge the first novel using ISIS attacks in America as the central plot. The story shows the difficulty law-and-order forces have in fighting terrorism.

The blurb on the back cover of ISIS Quiet Justice reads:

ISIS is here!

Jack Brandon is back in the nick of time!

Follow Jack and his growing team as they join with the CIA to take down ISIS terrorists in Jacksonville, Florida; Minneapolis; Charleston, South Carolina; and on the terrorists’ own turf in Fallujah.

This latest adventure in the Jack Brandon series pits Jack’s wits against those of a terrorist known as The Fist of Islam, who has been converting U.S. citizens into warriors for Islam. Can Jack’s knowledge, planning, and execution skills save the day — and the nation — once again?

All of the Jack Brandon novels have been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.

ISIS Quiet Justice is available on Amazon now as a paperback or an ebook, as are the rest of the Jack Brandon novels. The first three are available as a trilogy.


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INSIGHTS 187 — Run to Freedom

As I am getting ready to publish another Jack Brandon action mystery novel, Quiet Justice, I want to call your attention to my last novel, which I believe was my best written story with complex interwoven plots. For some reason beyond me, this novel never got the same attention as the other three. When I started writing fiction, I searched for a plot where I could use my experience as the  CIA station chief in Moscow in the early 1970s. Run to Freedom is that story.

Barry Kelly's fourth novel

Barry Kelly’s fourth novel

Below is a review from someone who has read and commented on all my Brandon action/mysteries.

Run to Freedom, July 12, 2014, by Debbie Merlo

Run to Freedom is the story of John Brandon, grandfather of Peter Brandon, the man on whom the series is centered.

Run to Freedom begins in 1919 with Lieutenant Brandon on a train that’s bound for Siberia.

There follows the story and the struggle of the Brandon family as they try to escape the Soviet Union to find freedom in America …

If I had to choose which book of Barry Kelly’s was my favorite of Justice Beyond Law, Justice Without Mercy, Shades of Justice and Run to Freedom, I’d have to say “all of them.”

Run to Freedom, however, was an amazing read and probably the one I was able to enjoy most.

Run to Freedom was most enjoyable for a couple of reasons: not only was it a clever way to catch readers up to speed then wanting for more, but it connected and completed the story of the Brandon family so well that whether a reader chose to start with Run to Freedom or work their way through the series as I did, it wouldn’t matter.

Kelly is an equal-entertainment author and knows how to keep a reader on the edge and wondering.

For example, from the train wreck in Siberia in 1919 when we first learn of the life of Lieutenant John Brandon, grandfather of Peter, did (his life) end the way or even when we think it did?

That alone is reason (and hope) to believe Kelly considers his fans first and keeps his pen poised to many possibilities.
Reading all four/in order isn’t a requisite either.

With more than enough action and adventure in each, all are able to stand alone as a single story, however, as any avid reader knows, it’s a “more is better mindset” that keeps us in books and turning pages.

Reading the series though, is most definitely recommended as it’s an all-inclusive adventure that delivers what is promised: fast breaking action, suspense and drama.

Kelly’s writing is refreshing, enjoyable and hard to put down.

The biggest challenge for me began as I got started with Justice Beyond Law: I spent a great deal of time wondering (while I read) exactly how ex-CIA agent Kelly was able to take his experiences and turn them into fiction without giving away any government secrets.

Needless to say, I was captivated with questions but not for long: I soon found myself too enthralled to worry.

That Kelly also found a way to use just the right mix of humor was one of those pleasant surprises that, stereo typically speaking, isn’t normally associated (for me anyway) with a person who’s spent his entire career submerged in the serious and secret nature of government operations.

Of course, by the time I made my way to Run to Freedom, I was left longing for more and hoping Kelly has plans to continue intriguing fans with future adventures for the Brandon family.

I’d recommend Run to Freedom — and the other three books by Kelly — to anyone who’s a fan of mystery, intrigue and espionage.

And for anyone who argues they aren’t? Be assured: read just one and that will change.

These four books should be a must have for everyone who enjoys a good read — or several.



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