Friday, February 23, 2024

Sun Tzu's Cafe Review #rabtbooktours

Historical Fiction / Medical Thriller/ Espionage

Date Published: January 1, 2024


In the era of legalized marijuana in the United States, the Chinese government has nefarious plans to exploit America's best and brightest graduate students using synthetic Hallucinogens and THC compounds. To accomplish their goal, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has partnered with a disaffected American CIA agent who was instrumental in the CIA's domestic hallucinogen experiments on American citizens known as Project MKULTRA during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The CCP have surreptitiously funded upscale cafés in each American city where marijuana has been legalized and there is an American university within walking distance of their café.

In each café, the CCP secretly adds a designer hallucinogen to the coffee. This drug opens the graduate student's minds to the power of suggestion and allows the baristas (Chinese security agents) to easily question the students for technical information concerning their graduate studies and labs. The methods used are similar to what the disaffected CIA agent learned during his MKULTRA project missions in the 1950s and 1960s. This allows the  Communist Chinese to gain a head start on America's most crucial security and technological innovations.

But there is a problem. The synthetic hallucinogen is beginning to have strange effects on some students, and these effects are being noticed. A bright Israeli E.R. doctor and his wife (an addiction counselor) living and working in Burlington, Vermont, have encountered some of these students suffering from bizarre psychotic symptoms. They suspect that there is more than meets the eye in these Chinese cafés and have started investigating. If the Chinese plan is discovered, it will open the CCP up to significant charges of international terrorism against the United States. With current congressional committee hearings focused on banning Tik Tok and other Chinese technologies, the CCP will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.



Chapter 1

Tucson, Arizona

Monday, December 4, 2023

Haitao (海涛) picked up the shiny gray flip phone on the first ring. He had been waiting for the call from his contact in Dalian, China, the city where he was born and raised. His phone rang at the precise moment that was agreed to in his last communication. The contact timed the call to coincide with a Chinese spy satellite’s orbit above Tucson, capable of delivering an encrypted message carried on an untraceable signal. The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)21 knew of the satellite but had not yet cracked the latest Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS)22 code.

Haitao had never met the man on the other end of the call and did not know his name. His tone, however, was unmistakable. Now was not the time for weakness or trepidation. Project JAVA-WAR was moving forward on schedule, and he was tasked with ensuring it stayed that way, at least in his Tucson café. Over the last two years, the Chinese government secretly built and franchised a chain of nouveau-riche cafés next to public universities in states that had legalized recreational marijuana. His café was an integral part of the MSS Project JAVA-WAR.

The MSS manager delivered Haitao’s instructions in short and clipped tones. His benefactors within MSS were well aware of the supply chain issues plaguing the delivery of sensitive packages due to America’s continued antagonistic posture toward Communist China. Hence, Haitao’s next “special” delivery would arrive via an untraceable human mule. An Ecuadorian national would cross the poorly secured MexicanAmerican border tomorrow into Nogales, Arizona, as a stowaway on a Union Pacific freight train. Once across the border, the human mule would pass the package to a diplomat from the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles at a predetermined drop site in Nogales. This Chinese national would, of course, have diplomatic immunity. Haitao would receive the package at the back entrance of his café two blocks from Arizona State University at approximately 2:30 p.m. The diplomat would then return immediately to Los Angeles. No words would be spoken between them. These were the standing MSS orders.

Haitao’s salary was paid in untraceable cryptocurrency by the MSS. Once the package was delivered, as with all prior deliveries, he would carefully pour the powder contained within the ziplock bag into the small box attached to the back of the “special” coffee dispenser at his Sun Tzu Café franchise. MSS agents only used the “special” coffee dispenser after they targeted a graduate student they wanted to interview in the café. Haitao would then burn the empty package and await further instructions. In thirty days, the MSS would direct another phone call to his MSS flip phone at precisely 2:30 p.m.

Haitao steeled himself and, in perfect Chinese, began with the statement, “们出现了问题We have another problem.” The MSS agent on the phone did not like problems and, as was his nature, spoke in simple and clipped tones, “解釋Explain.” Haitao hoped his voice would not waver and said, “We have had two incidents in the last week that I believe are related to the delivered packages. Both resulted in a brief police presence in my café and medical treatment for the graduate students involved. The students became delusional and violent and had to be subdued by one of your MSS baristas after drinking the coffee laced with the contents of your delivered packages.”

Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors

Ornery Owl's Review

Five out of Five Stars

Imagine going to grab a nice cup of coffee at a local bistro in a college town only to find yourself spiraling into a state of psychosis. This is what's happening to unsuspecting university students at select coffee houses where the brew is being spiked with potent hallucinogenic drugs as part of a Chinese plot to attack the United States. It sounds like the plot of a far-fetched espionage thriller. However, the plot isn't all that far-fetched, and certain branches of the United States government conducted such experiments on their own citizens over many decades. The most famous (or infamous) of these experiments went by the name of MKULTRA. Some of the characters in Sun Tzu's Cafe are creations of the author's imagination. Others are real historical figures. 

If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller with lots of steamy sex and even more explosions, this book will not fill the bill. There's only one big explosion and there are no steamy sex scenes. On the other hand, if you want to read an immersive story with real history that will scare the hell out of anyone with a conscience and a working brain, this is absolutely the story for you. Sun Tzu's Cafe is a tightly-written, well-researched story providing plenty of links to send readers down winding rabbit holes into real U.S. history. This book may leave the reader feeling unsettled while recalling the old mantra, "You aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you."

Who can you trust? Not the government. Maybe not even your local coffee shop. However, if you're someone who enjoys an intellectually stimulating story, you can trust this book to deliver.

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