Greg Cahill

(creator: Mark Andrew Olsen)

Mark Andrew Olsen
Greg Cahill is a disgraced FBI agent (and before that a marine serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan) who had subsequently turned to Christ and now serves as a "bona fide freelance minister" at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California's highest security prison. He had once been a "loving father, earnest husband, fiercely dedicated public servant", but, after a drinking binge, had driven his young son Robby home, and nearly killed him in the ensuing accident. This had led to a prison sentence and the break-up of his family. He had then cried out to God and "accepted his forgiveness. Instantly I could feel my body being healed. I knew right away that my craving for alcolol was gone. I haven't had a drink since." It is his gift for converting people that gets him involved in hunting down a terrorist.

Mark Andrew Olsen grew up in France, the son of Conservative Baptist missionaries, and is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University, with a degree in theatre and much acting experience. He, with his wife and three children, live in Colorado Springs. He is a novelist and screenwriter, who has co-written books with evangelist Tommy Tenney. He says that his hope is that something he writes will actually influence a real life person to follow Christ and place their trust in Him.

Ulterior Motives (2009)
Ulterior Motives tells how, when when an al-Qaida email is intercepted, promising a New Year's Day attack on America, it leads to the capture of the group's leader. But even under fierce interrogation, the terrorist clings to his jihadist beliefs and resists divulging anything of the threat. Desperate, the Army resorts to a contingency paper that proposes to break a subject's resistance by inducing a religious conversion. One hitch: the top-secret attempt must be masked as an offer of clemency, and must rely on a completely innocent mentor, a so-called witness who is unaware of the project's true aims. They find that witness in Greg Cahill, a disgraced FBI agent who has since turned to Christ and serves in a prison ministry. Lured by an offer of restoration, as well as the lifting of a restraining order that's keeping him from seeing his son, Greg begins an unlikely friendship with a man the entire country despises. Despite himself, he begins to share his faith - yet with a combustible result unforeseen by either himself or his government handlers.

This is a tough action-packed story that gets off to a gripping start with Greg's son, six-year-old Robby, apparently almost being shot by a sniper who turns out to be his own father. Then a young terrorist, known as Azzam the Younger, tries out his deadly nerve gas on a little puppy, and gloats how "Less than a month from now, thousands of unsuspecting Americans would pay with their lives for what their nation had done to him and his family - dying just as this puppy had, only live on national television and for untold millions of their countryman."

Even the President in the White House gets involved in the plot, as does the al-Qaeda chief Omar Nirubi who is captured from Baluchistan Province in Pakistan by CIA forces in a fifty-three seconds helicopter raid. No, it doesn't sound too likely, nor is the way that Greg Cahill is identified by Captain Delia Kilgore, who is leading the CIA interrogation team, as the only person who is likely to break the prisoner's silence by converting him to another faith! As the president himself says, "This sounds like trouble, like the kind of desperate, loopy idea that can sink a presidency for ever."

Meanwhile Greg is having to attend the execution of Alex, another of his converts and a condemned murderer, whom Greg hears saying, "I can't wait to be with you, Jesus." And "the room felt aglow with some kind of radiance, but one beyond the visible spectrum. One indiscernible by the verdict of earthly eyes. An invisible warmth bathed Greg, yet it was far more than mere temperature. It seemed a mixture of physical warmth and pure joy. As though he was swimming across a vast smile."

Later, Greg in the execution chamber's viewing gallery, feels impelled to ignore prison protocol and kneel as the sentence is carried out. The death chamber "now burst with a white luminescence .... On the precise spot where Alex's body lay on the gurney, the glow grew so blinding that he could not make out anything more than flimsy, transparent outlines. Yet one thing was for sure. Most of who Alex had been, and what he had been, was not strapped down any longer. He was being released from the straps by visitors too wondrous to be described in words." And "what happened next amazed Greg even more. He saw an angel float downwards with the grace and deliberateness that sent chills down his spine, then cross the barrier into the victim's family gallery. It reached out a luminous hand and caressed first one, then another of the faces contorting with grief and anguish."

Given experiences like this, it is no wonder that Greg is able to convert al-Qaeda chief Omar Nirubi to his own evangelical views, helped along by such threats as, "You will rot in a maximum-security prison for the rest of your life, or very possibly face execution. Either way, you'll never see your son again." He also gives this most-wanted terrorist a video message from the President promising him pardon for all his crimes: "All we ask is that you publicly renounce terrorism as a tool of advancing your goals, co-operate in our country's defense against terrorism in progress, and never again involve yourself in homicidal or terrorist acts."

You cannot believe a word of it, but it certainly holds the interest and builds up to an exciting climax as Greg has to fight for his life as Azzam the Younger attempts to destroy the whole city of Miami. It's up to Omar to tell Azzam, "This murder will stop now!" and he grabs the glass vial containing the deadly nerve gas. He gets shot in the process but is able to say, "I see Him, Greg, coming. Coming for me. I feel his love ...."

There are interviews with him (2004 and 2007) about earlier books on the Faithful Reader site, and a more personal and so more interesting one on the TitleTrakk site.

Please sign my GUEST BOOK. All comments, contributions (or corrections) welcomed!


Ulterior Motives cover
The story is fast-moving and exciting - and totally impossible to believe.
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