Mission: Black List #1 is the true story of Sergeant Maddox’s efforts to discover the hidden location of Saddam Hussein after the fall of his regime in 2003. Mission: Black List #1 is told from the point of view of its protagonist, Sergeant Maddox.
The story begins with Sergeant Maddox’s arrival in Iraq in July 2003 and extends through to when he pinpoints Hussein’s location, just hours before the expiration of his tour in December 2003. Central to the story are the interrogations of progressively more important insurgents as Sergeant Maddox closes in on Hussein’s location.
During these interrogations, Sergeant Maddox undergoes his own process of self-discovery, as he learns the art of interrogation, how to find the right psychological lever among the target’s fears, hopes, ambitions and pride that, once pressure is applied, coaxes the target to divulge the information he conceals. From the clutter of truth and lies that Sergeant Maddox learns in these interrogations, he assembles a blueprint that leads him to the leaders of the insurgency and, ultimately, Saddam Hussein.
When Sergeant Maddox first joined his unit in Tikrit in June 2003, it was clear to him that he would have to earn the respect of both the soldiers performing the midnight raids against the insurgents as well as his fellow members on the intelligence team, and, as his methods began to show extraordinary results, he found that he had earned not only their respect, but also their trust.
Other main characters in the story include Lee, Sergeant Maddox’s good friend and fellow interrogator, Bam Bam, the team commander who risks his career to pursue Sergeant Maddox’s leads, Kelly, the intelligence analyst on the team, and Basim Latif, the driver for the leader of the insurgency whose information enabled Sergeant Maddox to connect the links of the chain of relationships among the insurgents that led to Saddam Hussein.