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Scott O'Connor was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of an air-traffic controller and a preschool teacher. He is a co-founder of GO Studios, a post-production and motion graphics design firm. His books include the novella Among Wolves and Untouchable, his first novel, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Author photo © Peter Konerko
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Inspired by reports of the CIA's clandestine mind control experiments in the 1960s, this powerful literary thriller follows the consequences of such illegal research and the way if affected both the scientists devising the programme but also its subjects. Henry March's mind and family were destroyed as a result of the MKUltra project and he has disappeared. Two decades later, Dick Ashby, a drug-addled CIA agent infiltrates a West Coast radical group who claim to have been affected by the brainwashing and are desperate to find Marsh. A weighty tale of treachery and paranoia with uncomfortable links to true events documented in the press, this is a tense tale that never lets go.
Inspired by the shocking history of MKULTRA, the secret CIA mind-control programIn the 1950s, the CIA began a clandestine operation known as Project MKULTRA, in which unwitting American and Canadian citizens were subjected to insidious drug and mind-control experiments. In the two decades of the program, countless lives - and families - were destroyed. Haunted by these events, acclaimed novelist Scott O'Connor has crafted a literary thriller that vividly imagines the devastating emotional legacy of such a program. Henry March, an unassuming CIA analyst forced to spearhead MKULTRA's San Francisco branch, finds himself bridging an untenable divide between his devotion to his family and the brutality of his daily task. Torn between duty and conscience, Henry's own identity begins to fray, until he reaches the ultimate breaking point. Amid the wreckage, he disappears without a trace. Twenty years later, as the country struggles under the weight of the Vietnam War, another troubled young agent, Dickie Ashby, will risk everything to find Henry. Dickie must piece together the staggering aftermath of the crimes before it's too late. From a writer hailed for his ability 'to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters' (The New York Times), Half World is both a page-turning drama and a transcendent celebration of our enduring capacity for hope.
Inspired by real CIA operations, this is the riveting novel of a fraying CIA analyst who conducts secret mind-control experiments and the young agent who, years later, uncovers the appalling legacy of the program and the people destroyed by it. From its official sanction in 1953 to its shutdown in 1973, the CIA clandestinely conducted methods of mind control on unwitting American and Canadian citizens. This covert and illegal operation, Project MKULTRA, eventually made national headlines upon the declassification of thousands of documents in 2001. Intrigued by the people empowered to enact such abuses and the legacy of such an operation, Scott O'Connor weaves the nuanced and compelling story of Henry March, a CIA agent forced to spearhead a series of insidious mind-control experiments in San Francisco. With each passing day, Henry's existence becomes a nightmare, his identity withering as he works over the hapless men lured into his facility. Struggling between his duty to his country and his responsibility to his wife and children, Henry finally reaches a breaking point, leaving both his project and mind fractured. Amid the wreckage, he disappears, becoming the deepest Ultra mystery. Two decades later, Dickie Ashby, a young CIA agent, is sent to Los Angeles to infiltrate a group of bank-robbing radicals who claim to have been abused in a government brainwashing operation years earlier. The members of the group know they need to find Henry March and that the only bridge to Henry is his daughter, Hannah, who lives in the city. Dickie suddenly finds himself dragged into the stunning legacy of the experiments, torn between doing his job, helping the victims of Henry's program, and protecting Hannah. Called "e;one to watch"e; (Los Angeles Times) and hailed for his ability "e;to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters"e; (New York Times), O'Connor will stir your emotions with Half World, a mesmerizing novel about reality and the basic incorruptible value of human relationships.
It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby's unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the violent remains of strangers, helping their families to move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley--an 11-year-old social pariah known simply as The Kid--hasn't spoken since his mother's death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in a safer world of his own silent imagining.As the impending arrival of Y2K casts a shadow of uncertainty around them, their own precarious reality begins to implode. Questions pertaining to the events of Lucy's death begin to haunt David, while The Kid, who still believes his mother is alive, enlists the help of his small group of misfit friends to bring her back. As David continues to lose his grip on reality and The Kid's sense of urgency grows, they begin to uncover truths that will force them to confront their deepest fears about each other and the wounded family they are trying desperately to save.