National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 37-39.


Phillips, David Atlee.  The Carlos Contract.  New York: Macmillan, 1978.

David Atlee Phillips served with the C.I.A. for a quarter of a century, from 1950 to 1975.  From 1973 to 1975, he was head of the agency’s Western Hemisphere Division.  In 1977, his memoir, The Night Watch: Twenty-Five Years of Peculiar Service, was published.  Meant as a counter to the widespread criticism of American intelligence operations, the memoir was regarded, for the most part, as an apologist’s attempt to justify the agency’s methods and to excuse its excesses by emphasizing its aims.

His first novel, The Carlos Contract, was much more favorably received.  Drawing on the notoriety of the elusive and mysterious terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” the novel’s premise is that he has begun to assassinate C.I.A. station chiefs in a very deliberate and systematic manner—in effect, daring the agency to attempt to stop him. …

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