Supernotes
A novel by Agent Kasper & Luigi Carletti
Translated by John Cullen Book review by Jules Brenner
Doubleday, released 1/12/16, 272 pp., $25.95
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A SUPERNOTE (aka, superdollars) is counterfeit U.S. money in the form of very high quality $100 bills. The government's theory as to the origin is North Korea but other ideas thrive. In any case, at least one person is paying a very heavy price for trying to track down the source for the CIA.


In a hellish Cambodian prison the man known as Agent Kasper is being beaten, deprived of sleep and suffering other assaults on his mind and body -- for getting caught by the authorities investigating Mafia money laundering in Phnom Penh. Through the eyes of his persecutors, he's an American spy, an enemy who has penetrated barriers built to protect state secrets -- secrets about the traffic in drugs, money laundering and a lot of business with criminal gangs throughout Asia and Russia.

All, however, is not lost. Although enough is being taken away from him that any escape or release will not return him to the man of accomplishment he was, but at least the pain will be gone and he'll be able to write about his experiences. As its co-author, that's what this book is.

Thankfully, he has his ailing mother keeping him alive by selling off her assets for ransom or bribes which are never enough to satisfy Kasper's corrupt captors. The 50-year old prisoner's only hope would be an angel in the wings.

She comes in the form of Barbara Belli, an Italian lawyer, chosen by Kasper's mother, perhaps because he has also served as an operative in the Italian intelligence services. Slowly, as a dedicated sideline, Belli proceeds to champion Kasper's case through diplomatic channels though they are slow to respond to her efforts. After being all but crippled, Kasper is aided by a Cambodian guard who sees the inhumanity of the treatment that this prisoner has received.

The effect of this case may have been to bring the vast dimensions of the supernote circulation to the attention of the Secret Service and other government officials. It may well explain why, in 1996, a new $100 bill was designed employing technical advancements, like incorporating a 3D security thread in the paper, shadow watermarking, colorshifting ink, and microprinting. The first new bills since 1928 were put into circulation in 2013, several years after the events of this based-on-fact, spellbinding spy thriller that reveals one man's sacrifice for a vital part of America's interests.

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