THE MAGAZINE

Covert Surveillance and Intelligence Gathering

By Chuck McCorvey Sr. and Kerop Gourdikian; Reviewed by Eugene F. Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CFE

***** Covert Surveillance and Intelligence Gathering. By Chuck McCorvey Sr. and Kerop Gourdikian; published by Eagle Publishing, www.eagleslair.us (Web); 400 pages; $75.95.

Chuck McCorvey, co-author of Covert Surveillance and Intelligence Gathering, reveals on his Web site that he is the author of six books. As the author of several books myself, I can say from experience that penning six books is no small feat. However, on closer examination, it turns out that all of his works, including this one, are self-published. While many useful texts have been self-published, most are self-published for a very good reason: nobody other than the author finds them worth publishing. I am afraid that Covert Surveillance falls squarely into this unfortunate category.

The biography on McCorvey’s Web site hints that he has led the life of a character in a spy novel, as “an electronics engineer with more than forty years’ experience in electronic warfare, signals intelligence...electronic intelligence...cryptography, covert surveillance and intelligence gathering, and electronic countermeasures.” These days he pens his own techno-thrillers. Yet beyond a list of McCorvey’s speaking engagements, most of them overseas, he never indicates where, or for whom, he has worked, nor does he list recognized credentials. Co-author Kerop Gourdikian indicates that he went to high school and college in Georgia, speaks five languages, and has traveled a lot but similarly fails to list substantive field experience.  I have to wonder why anyone would waste their time and money to buy and read a self-published technical book on covert surveillance if the authors do not provide that information.

While a few readers might find some useful information in this book, most won’t. It reads more like a graduate paper than a book. In addition to the shortcomings of content, I was distracted by the Microsoft Word Arial-style font, lousy images, and large bold section titles, of which there are several on every page. The book also lacks a bibliography and index and has not one citation.

The authors may have had good intentions, but what they have produced is little more than a class paper, and a poor one at that. I give them each an “F.”


Eugene F. Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), is the CEO and founder of Business Controls, Inc. He is a member of ASIS International and the National Council of Investigation and Security Services.

Comments

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Eugene,

I found your review during a web search and, as a technical writer and security consultant, I felt compelled to add a short comment. I noted in your review that your focus is exclusively on the credentials of the author and not the content of the book. I know in this industry there is a strong emphasis on credentials (be it low brow or high, ego or otherwise), but I personally know several people who have very specific credentials that cannot be disclosed or at least not explicitly. To truely critique this book or any other, it's most important to use the pragmatic approach of a good researcher or investigator and focus on any and all pertainent information. In this case, that would include the content of the book itself in addition to the author's credentials. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, I'd imagine ou already know this.

Frankly I'm now compelled to do more research on this book and perhaps pick up a copy for myself even though I have no interest in the subject matter...

--Mike

 

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