Description

When a young American named Billy Reilly vanished into Russia's war with Ukraine, his parents embarked on a desperate search for answers. Was their son’s disappearance connected to his mysterious work for the FBI, or was it a personal quest gone wrong? Only when Wall Street Journal reporter Brett Forrest embarks on his own investigation does a picture emerge: of the FBI's exploitation of US citizens through a secretive intelligence program, a young man's lust for adventure within the world's conflicts, and the costs of a rising clash between Moscow and Washington


Sept. 11th roused Billy Reilly’s curiosity for religions, war, and the world and its people beyond his small town near Detroit. Online, Billy taught himself Arabic and Russian. His passions led him into jihadi Internet forums, attracting the interest of the FBI. 
 
An amateur drawn into professional intelligence, Billy became a Confidential Human Source, one of thousands of civilians who assist FBI agents with investigative work, often at great hazard and with little recourse. When Russia stirred rebellion in Ukraine, Billy set out to make his mark.
 
In Russia, Billy’s communications dropped. His parents, frantic, asked the FBI for help but struggled to find answers. Grasping for clues, the Reilly family turned to Brett Forrest. Commencing a quest of his own, Forrest applied years’ worth of research, along with decades of extensive experience in Russia, illuminating the inner workings of the national-security machine that enmeshed Billy and his family, picking up the lost son’s trail.
 
A masterwork of reporting, composed like a thriller, blending political maneuvering and international espionage, Lost Son illustrates one man’s coming of age amid new global dangers.
 

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Praise

"Brett Forest's emotional and globe-trotting investigation into the life and times of a young FBI freelancer immediately reminds me of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Lost Son is as much about the youthful dream to make a difference in the world as it is about the utter failure of the US government to protect one of its own contractors and the heartbreaking search by parents for their son. What I loved most is feeling like I was riding shotgun with Brett as he searches for answers."—Bradley Hope, co-author of Billion Dollar Whale and author of The Rebel and the Kingdom
“With the stunning tale of Billy Reilly, Brett Forrest has achieved something remarkable. He has brought together both the post-9/11 war on terror and the war in Ukraine and shown their fateful impact on a young American who wanted something more from life than suburban Detroit could deliver. Reading this amazing story, I kept thinking that Billy was like a character in a 19th Century Russian novel, caught up in the uncontrollable tide of history."—James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Last Honest Man
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