Demaris Protocol

Fiction - Military
372 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Demaris Protocol by Brian Randall is a compelling military fiction novel that involves intrigue, dark secrets, and sexual exploitation for purely political ends. Set in the 1990s, this novel presents the CIA’s covert operation “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and it is within the framework of this operation that Trey Carter, a sequestered gay, is hired and sent on a very delicate and dangerous mission: seduce and capture a former Soviet nuclear expert. Is this twenty-something-year-old man capable of the job entrusted to him? Things become complicated when his own boss, Special Officer Rick Morgan, becomes emotionally involved with Trey. This is a taboo in the eyes of the CIA and they could be headed for a very sad end should their secret be found out.

Brian Randall’s novel is a gripping story and it is interesting to learn that it is based on real life events. The writing is excellent, with clear and compelling prose that will instantly seduce readers. There is a lot of psychological depth to this story and readers will find out what it takes to be gay in a society that considers being gay “an abomination.” There is a lot of intense action. The author has crafted the plot to read like a thriller, leaving readers with the unsettling feeling that something wrong could happen any time soon. The conflict is monumental and the characters are well-sculpted. Demaris Protocol is a fast-paced and hugely entertaining story, a page-turner.

Darryl Greer

Trey Carter is in his early twenties, blond, fit, intelligent, an accomplished gymnast who hails from a strict Christian family in Atlanta, Georgia. You could say he’s the quintessential all-American boy. He’s also gay, a deep secret he has managed to keep from his friends and family. One day in 1992, before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he finds himself in a roof top pool in Washington D.C., swimming naked with a man he’d only just met. From the moment Trey discovers that this person is a member of a team of CIA ‘dark ops’ personnel, out to recruit a gay man for a specific assignment in Germany, his life will never be the same. Brian Randall’s Demaris Protocol is a fascinating insight into the workings of the American intelligence agencies and their more interesting clandestine activities, especially as there is a ring of truth in this otherwise fictionalised story — Trey’s character is based on the author himself. Once Trey tackles and successfully completes his training — a fascinating story on its own — he is sent on his mission to ensnare a former Soviet nuclear engineer. The mission is fraught with danger, but Trey is egged on by his mentor Rick Morgan and the rest of the team. Will he let them down? Will he let himself down? If only he could turn back the clock. To that moment in the roof top pool.

Although some scenes in this novel seem to border on fantasy, I suspect that’s not the case, given the author’s own history. This makes Brian Randall’s Demaris Protocol all the more fascinating. I doubt an author could write in such vivid detail about the level of training required for the assignment for which Trey is being groomed without either going through it himself or undertaking an exceptional amount of research. And this kind of research is hard to do — American intelligence agencies hardly display their methods in neon at Times Square. Although I didn’t, some readers might find some of the gay sex scenes a little confronting but then, a scan of the Author’s Note and foreword should be a warning sign to the faint of heart. About seventy percent of the story covers Trey’s punishing training program and the story does get bogged down a bit at times, almost as if one is reading a training manual for spooks; yet it does add authenticity to the saga and the pace really picks up once Trey completes his training. Excellent characterisation and script like dialogue make Demaris Protocol a really interesting read.

Rabia Tanveer

Demaris Protocol by Brian Randall is the story of two men who have a separate task, but their destinies are each other. The story is set in an era before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy” that has allowed men and women from different sexual orientations to serve their country. It is set in the early 1990s; a 22-year-old closeted gay man by the name of Trey Carter is hired for a secret mission. Thrilled to be a part of something big and serving his country, Trey agrees to go to Munich to try to lure a nuclear engineer.

He is to be trained by Special Officer Rick Morgan, a handsome man who sees right through Trey and catches a glimpse of his soul. Rick’s job is to train Trey and make sure that he is ready to face all odds; however, he was not counting on falling hard for the young man. He has an overwhelming need to protect Trey, but he is afraid of what will become of the two if their secret gets out. Now the two men are in the line of fire and there is no backing out now. They must face the future and the repercussions while, at the same time, they need to survive and see where their feelings take them. It is a leap of faith, but can they take it?

It is really hard to write about love between two men without making them lose their masculinity. Brian Randall did an amazing job by writing Demaris Protocol and creating Rick and Trey. He made them vulnerable without emasculating them, and he made them strong without making them inhuman. He perfectly balanced the tiny details and created these gems. They are strong and they are not afraid to show that they have emotions too. I loved the fine details, loved the imagery, and loved Rick and Trey. They are definitely two of my favorite characters.