Category Archives: bouviers

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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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, bouviers, Intelligence & Politics, ISIS, Spy novels

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.



Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, bouviers, dogs, Intelligence & Politics, Russia, Spy novels, Terrorism


As you may already know, I started writing “Eight Decades of Insights” 50 blogs ago mainly to promote my novels, of which there are now three. I’ve been lucky enough to have the books reviewed in a local daily newspaper where I live (The Sun News). I’m always happy to hear the opinions of what others think of my books — good or bad — because I think people’s opinions are important. But also, if someone is confused or unsure about something that happens in the novels or wonders why something happened a certain way, I like the opportunity to clear up the confusion or curiosity. I’m posting the most recent review of “Shades of Justice” here for you to read and to welcome you to leave your own comments here, on my Facebook page ( or on my Amazon author page.

Reading Corner | Myrtle Beach area author’s third book boasts good writing, but lots of violence

Books one and two of Pawleys Island author and retired CIA agent Barry Kelly’s good-guy-bad-guy series caught me in their snare.

I’m now a fan of his writing and of his hero Jack Brandon and sidekick wonder dog, Shadow. The animal is part Lassie, part Rin Tin Tin and part Wonderdog with a dash of his own breed’s (Bouvier) special talents tossed in.

shades of justice cover copyI’ve come to enjoy the freedom from reality, a utopia of sorts, where the good guys have all the resources (money, material, training and skills) that they need to outfox the bad guys.

I love Kelly’s writing: It’s crisp, has clear style, good plotting and pacing. His place descriptions are wonderful. Of course it helps the settings include some of my favorite places in the world – Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., metro area and the Grand Strand. The details are spot on and integral at many times to the unfolding of the plot. I’ve even been willing to accept a certain amount of vigilantism in the books – heroes step outside the law to bring the bad guys to justice – even when justice involves shootings.

The third book, “Shades of Justice,” takes on the very topical and important issue of human trafficking – people who brazenly steal young women from the streets and transport them to other countries to make them sex slaves.

By the end of this novel, the hero, Jack has also shown his respect for women by rescuing them but also by empowering female members of his team with training in fighting and technology. Even more telling is the way he treats his own wife – a woman who is his intellectual equal and partner in action – with love and respect.

However, this third book descends so far into violent vigilantism and outside of the law justice, it is simply too violent for me.

“Shades of Justice” has so much shoot ‘em up by the “good guys” that several times I wondered if I was in the middle of a violent video game. Kelly himself obviously felt the burden of this violence and his characters justify themselves more than once in philosophical conversations that offer the rationale for this violence.

“Leave no witnesses” seems to be the refrain in “Shades of Justice.” It was only Kelly’s good writing that kept me reading on in spite of the awful acts his good guys commit.

Once a reader accepts Kelly’s alternative world where Jack, wife Kathy and the others operate with unlimited monetary resources and wicked good physical, mental and technological skills, I think they would accept a few plot manipulations to allow for the rule of law and fewer bodies strewn about by the “good guys.” I’m hoping for more of that sort of thinking in his next work and look forward to reading it, because the man writes well.

If you have not read Kelly’s work before, start with his first two books: “Justice Beyond Law” and “Justice Without Mercy.” Read “Shades of Justice” with my warning – good writing but extreme violence ahead.

You can purchase “Shades of Justice” and the other two novels in the Jack Brandon thriller series at as print or ebooks or by contacting the author directly.


Filed under Action thrillers, bouviers, Eight Decades of Insights, Intelligence & Politics, Spy novels


English: The Pittsburgh City-County Building i...

English: The Pittsburgh City-County Building in Pittsburgh 40°26′17.8″N 79°59′48.4″W / °S °W / ; latd>90 (dms format) in latd latm lats longm longs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope to publish this novel early next year. It is more than half complete. Watch my web page for more information and thanks to all my readers who have inquired about the next Brandon story. Shadow’s backup is also introduced in this tale.

PROLOGUE FOR HARD JUSTICE (A new Jack Brandon thriller novel)

Jake was not bright, but he could shoot. His dad was a Vietnam war vet and a gun nut. When Jake was in his middle teens, his dad sent him to a shooting camp run by a former squad buddy who took special interest in Jake when he saw the raw talent the kid had. The first summer the instructor told Jake’s dad that his kid wasn’t even full grown yet, but he was a better shot than his dad ever was. Jake thought his dad would be angry but, instead, he gave Jake a rare hug and praise.

His dad was dead now. Jake liked to revisit the praises his dad gave him about his shooting skills. When he was honest, Jake would say he was very good at shots under 300 yards. After that his success dropped off sharply. But then, how many times had he had to make a kill beyond a couple of hundred yards. Not today. Exactly 125 yards. No wind. Good light. Doesn’t get any better. The police cruiser was in plain sight angled into the curb at a 7-Eleven just off Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh. Jake liked his hide. If you took the time to case your kill site, it was easy to find good targets and plenty of good shooting angles. He had found line-of-sight to the popular coffee stop place for cops from the top of a building further up the street. Two cruisers were pulled into the curb.  The angle was better than he usually had. Picking the lock on the access door to the roof took less than a minute. No scratches left on the lock. His bogus fire inspector credentials were not needed.

Jake loved the rush of shooting from an ambush site. He was a God. He controlled the destinies of his targets. It was up to him. He could kill, select the severity of the wound or just scare them. The short term, five minutes after squeezing the trigger, was almost the same. Mass confusion, multiple responses, wailing sirens and scurrying pedestrians. Long term was different. Killing a cop was serious stuff. They would never forget and the search for the shooter was much more intense. Today, in the next minute, he would shoot to seriously wound two of the laughing cops leaning against a squad car. 

Jake often wondered why the voice that called him on his cell paid him for shooting cops or firemen. The voice gave him a date, time and city. The rest was up to him. Never any complaints from the voice. His pay arrived in his P.O. Box on time. It was a good deal. He had never had so much money. Jake knew something this good couldn’t last. He hid the money in the log wall of his cabin near Big timber, Montana. When he needed the money there would be no time to mess with banks and leave a trail for the cops. They hadn’t I.D. Him yet. But the hunt was on for the City Sniper.

Jake glanced at his Timex watch. One more minute. The voice told him he did not have to be exact, just close. But he was a professional and one of the marks of a professional is being on time all the time. He was viewing the cops through an old 4X scope mounted on a vintage .22  bolt action Winchester rifle. If need be, he could leave the weapon behind. He bought it at a yard sale for cash. Cleaned up, sighted in and loaded with .22 long rifle hollow points, it was a lethal weapon within one hundred and fifty yards. Hollow points didn’t leave much for ballistics guys to find out.

Officer Sam Reilly was hit first as he was taking a sip of his heavily sugared coffee. The hollow point hit him in the left side of his jaw, blowing a large piece of his tongue and several teeth out of the exit wound. His partner pulled Sam to the ground but not before another hollow point hit him high on his right shoulder. Neither one remember hearing the shots. There was no panic on the street or in the coffee shop. By the time the first police and rescue vehicles, with their screaming sirens, arrived, Jake had cleaned up the shooting site, put the disassembled rifle in his tool box, picked the roof door lock closed and casually walked the short distance to his pickup truck. Another successful shooting and escape. He had planned to hit both cops but the one he hit first got in the way. His next act was a week later in Saint Paul, MN. He hated to leave the late spring weather in Pittsburgh for the uncertainty of the weather in Minnesota. It could be unbelievable cold waiting in a sniper hide. Only people who were strong and dumb could put up with only three weeks of warm weather. He wasn’t either.

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Filed under Action thrillers, Books, bouviers, Eight Decades of Insights, Intelligence & Politics, Spy novels



A few weeks ago I held my beloved Cinderella in my arms as she was freed from pain to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Her story began 11,12 or maybe 13 years ago. We just don’t know much about her first two years or so of life in a cruel puppy mill. We do know that she had been beaten, had her vocal cords cut and had no understanding that all humans wouldn’t hurt her.

My wife is an active member of the Bouvier Rescue organization. In fact she will stop whatever she is doing to rescue any animal or bird or amphibian needing help. She got an urgent call that a terrible puppy mill had finally been closed by the Florida authorities. Several Bouviers needed foster care until a “forever” home could be found. There were also Giant Schnauzers but their rescue league had already taken all of them into foster care. The Bouviers had been moved to a home on the outskirts of Jacksonville until foster homes could be found. The huge fenced in back yard was running wild with breeding Bouviers and their offspring. A mother and daughter were pointed out to us. The daughter had one ear standing straight up and the other flat on her head. My wife named her Palmtree. The temporary foster care host had to catch the daughter so we could see her up close. As soon as I looked into Palmtree’s eyes, I knew we were going to foster daughter and mother. Only we are incapable of fostering. Once a dog crosses the threshold they are home. Anyway I did not see how I could write a persuasive ad that would get Palmtree adopted. She was not a Bouvier poster dog.

When we got the dogs home, my wife and two of her best friends worked for hours on Saturday morning to clean the dogs up. Coats matted with feces. Nails that had never been trimmed. Encrusted eyes. They were a mess. But patiently mother and daughter put up with all the indignities of being made presentable. One of the cleanup ladies named Palmtree, Cinderella, after she was cleaned up. In all honesty she was a very scruffy looking Bouvier, too tall and too long. Being my usual stubborn self I tried to make Cinderella look like a Bouvier. Meanwhile my more astute wife said more than once, all most daily, “Cinderella is not a Bouvier.”

A year later we accepted an invitation to visit with one of my wife’s college friends in Pensacola. Dropping our dogs off at a new kennel, I noticed they offered grooming for Giant Schnauzers. I was asking some questions and the groomer asked if I wanted our Giant Schnauzer groomed while we were gone. I got over my shock and decided it wouldn’t hurt and said, “sure.” When we returned three days later, we were met at the kennel by a beautiful Giant Schnauzer with her eyes flashing while she pranced up to us. “See look I’m beautiful and I am Cinderella. And she was still gorgeous when she pranced across the Rainbow Bridge.


Filed under bouviers, dogs, Giant Schnauzers, Intelligence & Politics, puppy mills, Rainbow Bridge