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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 19, 2006

Dubuque Physician Reads From New Spy Novel Oct. 3 On WSUI

Dubuque physician Ian Michael Koontz will read from "Under Cloak of Darkness," the first volume in a Cold War spy trilogy, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading, hosted by Julie Englander, will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairies Lights" series on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Listen on the Internet at

Koontz, an Iowa City nature and no relation to Dean Koontz, is an aficionado of cold war spy-craft who was an avid fan of the James Bond books and movies while growing up. And he also acknowledges a debt to J.R.R. Tolkien.

"In his books and writings on Middle Earth, Professor Tolkien created a believable, tremendously detailed 'secondary world' that brought everything he wrote to life and seem real; so much so, that some persons wish to believe the 'Silmarillion' and 'The Lord of the Rings' to be an actual pre-history of the planet Earth! (I'm not joking.)"

The preview in Publishers Weekly states, "Turf wars among Washington's multitudinous spy agencies are nothing new, as shown by Koontz's debut, a gripping 1950s Cold War thriller featuring ex-FBI agent John Apparite (aka Superagent E). After being recruited by an ultrasecret organization whose existence is known only to elite D.C. brass and whose religion "is to kill or be killed," Apparite undergoes weeks of rigorous training that includes a practice brawl with barroom toughs and a butcher shop massacre of Mafiosi selling scandalous photos of his hero, J. Edgar Hoover.

"Apparite's new boss, the inscrutable, superpatriotic 'Director,' orders him to liquidate Robert Kramer, an atomic scientist living in London who possesses the secrets of rocket-firing submarines, before Kramer defects to the Soviets. Apparite soon finds himself caught up in a violent world that contrasts with the novel's many nostalgic touches of life in the Eisenhower era. This fine start bodes well for future entries in the series."

Raymond Benson, author of several James Bond continuation novels, wrote, "Take a dash of Fleming, a measure of Le Carre, a tsp. of Deighton, a pinch of Clancy, and throw in a little Ambler . . . mix it all together and you might have something resembling this remarkable spy novel by I. Michael Koontz. I, for one, hope it's the first of several."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,