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Ex-FBI Agent and Prolific Author Paul Lindsay Did it His Way

Paul Lindsay/simon & schuster photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Paul Lindsay, the hard-digging FBI agent who became a prolific author, and wrote seven novels — the last two of which were N.Y. Times best sellers — died peacefully Thursday night at a Boston hospital of pneumonia with his family by his side. He was 68.

The ex-Marine, who friends kidded was a cop trapped in an agent’s suit, was known for his dogged pursuit of criminals, his sharp wit and sometimes a lack of patience for management.Lindsay graduated from MacMurray College in 1968 and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps infantry officer, according to his website.

In the Marine Corps, he was a Company Platoon Commander who was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Silver for bravery, according to the family.He later joined the FBI and worked in the Detroit office for 20 years. He lived in Rye, N.H.He authored his first book at the tail end of his FBI career, which stirred controversy in the FBI because it was a thinly veiled novel that took shots at some folks in the agency.

He went on to write six other books. And just last month it was reported that Millenium Films had acquired the rights to “The Bricklayer”, his best-selling novel penned under the pseudonym Noah Boyd, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The report also noted that Scottish actor Gerard Butler is supposed to star in the film as a rogue former agent who’s services are needed to battle a criminal group that’s been demanding multi-million dollar ransom payments.

Friends and family  said that Lindsay died due to complications from pneumonia.He had been diagnosed in 2005 with a blood cancer, leukemia,  that compromised his white blood cell count, the possible result of his exposure to chemical defoliates when he served in the Marines in Vietnam, the family said.

The condition eventually left him with compromised immune system, which made it difficult to fight off infection. The family said he kept his condition secret from everyone but his immediate family and one friend.“He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or treat him differently–he never permitted himself that luxury,” his family wrote in an email to friends.In part of a memoir the family shared with friends, Lindsay wrote:“I am dying. A single cell, damaged and then mutated, is now multiplying at a Pandorian rate through my bloodstream.

“The aberration was triggered, from best guesses, by Agent Orange, the defoliant dumped so generously-18,000,000 gallons or so–on Vietanam to help keep American troops alive. An irony that is life itself.

“For me, it was over forty years ago. The medical term is Chronic Lyphocytic Leukemia, or to those of us on more intimate footing, CLL. The disease has reached stage four, and unfortunately there is neither a cure nor a stage five.“. . . I have been the recipient of a great deal of luck in my life. But as John Steinbeck wrote in The Pearl, ‘Luck, you see, brings bitter friends’.”

“Recent events have made it apparent that good fortune is nothing more than a temporary statistical anomaly, which given enough time has little choice but to swing in an opposite and equal arc. In my case, leukemia. Given the extraordinary adventure my good luck has provided to my years, I can offer no complaint about the pendulum’s final resting place.”His family concluded the email by saying: ”Our Father will be missed, loved and remembered.”In his memory contributions may be directed to: The Wounded Warrior Program

Greg Stejskal

 

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Paul Lindsay – He did it his way.

I first met Paul Lindsay in 1975. I had arrived in Detroit fresh from new agents’ class and was assigned to the fugitive squad. Paul ended up being my training agent.

Ordinarily Paul wouldn’t have been assigned a new agent to train – back then Paul wasn’t known for his patience or warmth, and he didn’t suffer fools. New agents tend to be a little foolish, and I was no exception. The guy, who was supposed to be my training agent, was involved in a trial. Paul was his partner so he was stuck with me by default. We didn’t exactly hit it off in the beginning.

Ultimately Paul accepted me, not because I had any great skills or talent, but because I showed that I was willing to work ridiculous hours and to learn.

Paul taught me much.

Paul had earned a reputation as one of the best fugitive agents in the Bureau – he was very good at finding guys who didn’t want to be found. What I learned from Paul was there were no great secrets or tricks to finding fugitives. It entailed hard work and perseverance. But Paul didn’t just work hard. He employed imagination and intelligence.

I eventually moved on to different squads and different violations, but I used the lessons I learned from Paul throughout my career in the FBI. Paul moved on too and later would apply his considerable talents to cold cases and serial killers.

Paul also had a talent for creative writing. He wrote his first book in 1992 while he was still an agent in Detroit. That first book caused some controversy because Paul was not reticent about criticizing some thinly disguised, but still recognizable characters. Usually those characters were in Bureau management.

It also was no coincidence that the heroes of Paul’s books displayed perseverance, intelligence and imagination. Paul’s book (and those that followed) also displayed Paul’s keen rapier like wit – rapier like because Paul was adept at skewered many inflated egos.

Earlier this year, I wrote a review for Paul’s most recent book, Agent X. In that review I described the hero, Steve Vail, as being a “blue-collar intellectual.” Paul wrote me: “If asked to I could have never reduced Vail to a two-word description; “blue-collar intellect” is pretty nifty.” Well I may have been able to reduce Vail to a two word description, but I can’t think of two words, standing alone, that would come close to doing Paul justice.

Paul was not a two dimensional character. He was a multi-dimensional man, who played many roles: husband, father, friend, Marine officer, FBI agent, author, mentor…. He approached those roles, indeed life, with passion, and he did it his way.

“For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!” *

Paul has taken his well-deserved place in the pantheon of FBI legend. He would like that. He embodied the FBI motto: fidelity, bravery, integrity.

*(Frank Sinatra/”My Way,” copyright EMI Music publishing).


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