Category Archives for "Blog"

1 Stalin’s Priests Trailer

In 1972, Pope Paul VI shockingly proclaimed, “Through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered into the Temple of God.”

The Catholic Church has been infiltrated with evil traitors hell-bent on its destruction. And KGB agent Rolf Wozack is poised to thrust the final dagger!

Stalin’s Priests takes the reader on a spellbinding, page-turning, thrill ride with international mystery and intrigue.

Thank you for purchasing the book, we hope you enjoy it and look forward to your reviews!

2 Former communist testifies before Senate!

In a riveting and stunning three days of testimony before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee an American Lawyer and former head of the New York State Teachers Union detailed how she, her Russian handlers, and dozens if not hundreds of co-conspirators infiltrated American Institutions including labor unions, University faculties, newspapers and media, religious organizations, and even the federal government itself.

Bella Dodd, who now renounces communism as “evil”, was head of the communist party in New York and a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party of America (CPUSA) until they expelled her for not towing the party line.

We discovered Bella Dodd while doing research for our novel Stalin’s Priests and her testimony and autobiography “School of Darkness” are very compelling reads.

You can read her complete Senate testimony here:

It is hard to believe she and her story are not more well known, but she will play an important role in our coming sequel so be sure to read Stalin’s Priests first.

Erik and Rita

3 Was Senator Joe McCarthy right about Russian infiltration?

In researching for our book Stalin’s Priests, and the coming sequel, I scoured the internet for information and stories about Russians/Communists infiltrating our government and other institutions such as the media and labor unions. In doing so I ran across an article published in the Washington Post on April 14,1996. It was written by an American journalist named Nicholas Van Hoffman who died just recently in February 2018. Van Hoffman worked for the Washington Post, appeared on 60 minutes, was heard on nationally syndicated radio shows, and wrote a number of books, most notably Capitalist Fools, Tales of American Business.  He also worked for 10 years as a community organizer in Chicago for none other than Saul Alinski from 1953-1963 according to his Wikipedia profile. It is safe to say that he was not a conservative, so when I saw his title and read the column I was intrigued. I thought our readers would be too as it ties in closely with our novel. The following is an edited version of his piece. The full article can be found at

For decades liberals and leftists held the high ground in the dispute over whether a communist conspiracy actually existed in the United States or was simply a by-product of “the paranoid style in American politics.” They came to accept that there was a foreign communist menace but never a domestic one. There were rancorous divisions on the liberal-left in the 1950s over who was a spy and who was an accused innocent, who was a secret communist political operative and who was a straightforward fighter for social justice. In the upmarket universities and other places where the dominant form of polite liberalism thrived, the accusers, who had named names and had pointed out the communist spies, were scorned as despicable vermin.

As the 1960s wore on, the savagery and futility of the Vietnam War discredited the anti-communist cause. By the end of the 1960s, the demonization of the anti-communists had gained currency, and not just on the far left. Everyone from Richard Nixon to Whittaker Chambers to Elizabeth Bentley, a former espionage agent who in the early 1950s had given scores of names to the House Un-American Activities Committee, were dismissed as opportunists, and junior Joe McCarthy’s.

But in the last year (this article was written in 1996) as though from a buried, toxic waste dump, poisons, moving with the slow capillary action of history long hidden, are hiccuping up a different truth. The materials that first made their way to the surface in the early 1990s — records from Moscow’s Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History — provided proof past peradventure that the Communist Party of the United States was subsidized by the Soviet government and used as a base for extensive espionage.

So now the question: Was Joe McCarthy right? The answer is, no and yes.

It has long been known that the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) had been paid for by the Soviet Union. But acknowledgment of even this truth has been hard to come by.

Now comes more from vaults of the National Security Agency. In the 1940s, the NSA had a top-secret program called Venona which intercepted (and much later decoded) messages between Moscow and its American agents. The recent publication of a batch of Venona transcripts gives evidence that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were rife with communist spies and political operatives who reported, directly or indirectly, to the Soviet government, much as their anti-communist opponents charged. The Age of McCarthyism, it turns out, was not the simple witch hunt of the innocent by the malevolent as two generations of high school and college students have been taught.

The sum and substance of this growing body of material is that: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed in June 1953 for atomic espionage, were guilty; Alger Hiss, a darling of the establishment was guilty; and that dozens of lesser known persons such as Victor Perlo, Judith Coplon and Harry Gold, whose innocence of the accusations made against them had been a tenet of leftist faith for decades, were traitors or, at the least, the ideological vassals of a foreign power.

And where was Harry Truman? His hagiographers today present him as the plucky, courageous, little guy who stood up to world communism and led America into a new age of cosmopolitan internationalism. It is a description that millions of his adult contemporaries would have found unrecognizable. In fact, the public conduct of the Truman administration became the affirmation of people who said Truman was soft on communism. When Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Mo. in March 1946, Truman immediately disavowed the former British prime minister. Astonishing as it may seem to those who get their history from movies and TV, the American president invited Joseph Stalin to come to Fulton and give a speech presenting his side of the story. Truman actually offered to send the battleship Missouri to fetch the Soviet tyrant.

Inevitably came Sen. Joe McCarthy to exploit this suspicion. He came to fame on Feb. 9, 1950, when he gave a speech at McClure Hotel, in Wheeling, West Va. The exact text was not preserved but reporters on the scene quoted McCarthy as saying, “While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department.”

McCarthy, as his subsequent history would show, knew little about communism, on this side of the ocean or the other. This loutish, duplicitous bully, who carried, not the names of Reds but bottles of hootch in his briefcase died in disgrace and of alcoholism. Yet, in a global sense McCarthy was on to something. McCarthy may have exaggerated the scope of the problem but not by much. The government was the workplace of perhaps 100 communist agents in 1943-45. He just didn’t know their names.

When McCarthy and his congressional allies began to demand testimony from alleged communists about the infiltration that was real but undocumented (the Venona program then being the most sensitive of state secrets), liberals denounced them for “star chamber” tactics.

In our own era liberals found Ronald Reagan’s characterization of international communism as an “evil empire,” gauche, tasteless and embarrassing. Would they have preferred, a very, very bad empire, a wicked one or merely naughty?

As yet unexplored is the possibility that certain features in the political culture of the American left are hand-me-downs from this period. The “elitism” and didacticism that so gall its opponents may be a morphed version of the communist doctrine of vanguard leadership. The liberal penchant for government giganticism, complex bureaucracy and central planning may also have taken root in the liberal admiration of the Soviet system in the 1930s.

An adequate history of the McCarthy/Truman period, one that gives proper attention to the class, ethnic, religious and cultural antagonisms of those times, has not yet been written. But enough new information has come to light about the communists in the U.S. government that we may now say that point by point Joe McCarthy got it all wrong and yet was still closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him. Nicholas von Hoffman, a columnist for the New York Observer, is a frequent contributor to Outlook.

Van Hoffman contributed to volumes of material about actual Soviet infiltration of American institutions, including catholic seminaries here in the USA. Stalin’s Priests is a fictional mystery thriller about this period that will captivate you from the beginning and chill you to the shocking end.

Your comments on this piece and the book are welcome.

Erik and Rita Brandin

Was Russia behind Pope John Paul II assassination attempt?

On May 13, 1981 an attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II was carried out as the Pope entered St Peters Square in Vatican City. As the Pope stood waving to the crowd in the back of his Fiat Popemobile, a Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca opened fire with a high-power Browning semi-automatic 9mm handgun striking the Pope three times including two shots in the abdomen very near a main artery. He was critically wounded and rushed to the hospital. Agca fled the scene as the crowd was in shock and attempted to dispose of the gun by throwing it under a truck, but he was grabbed by Vatican security chief Camillo Cibin, a Nun and several spectators. He was subdued and arrested. On the way to the hospital the Pope was heard repeating the words “Mary, My Mother.” He underwent 5 hours of surgery, and reportedly lost ¾ of his blood. Miraculously he survived.

Although several theories exist about the motives behind the assassination attempt the one that is most widely accepted is that the attempt had originated from Moscow. The theory was that the KGB had instructed the Bulgarian and East German secret services to carry out the mission because of the Polish Pope’s support for the rising solidarity movement in Poland, seeing it as the most significant threat to Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe. It is believed the KGB chief, at the time, Yuri Andropov was convinced that the announcement of the Pope’s pilgrimage to largely Catholic Poland would undermine the Soviets power not only in Poland but precipitate the collapse of the entire Soviet Union. We know now, he wasn’t wrong.

During the investigation and subsequent trial, it was discovered that indeed Agca had made several trips to Sofia, Bulgaria and had been approached by the Bulgarian secret service who offered to pay him three million German Marks to assassinate the Pope. He obtained several identities and passports and crisscrossed the Mediterranean to hide his identity and point of origin in Bulgaria, finally entering Rome by train on May 10th.

The assassination attempt occurred on, of all days, May 13th which just happens to be the anniversary of the first apparition of our Lady of Fatima, May 13th, 1917. On December 27th, 1983 Pope John Paul II visited Agca in prison where his assassin asked him “Why didn’t you die? I know my aim was true and the bullet very powerful and mortal.” The Pope reportedly responded: “One hand fired the shot, another hand (the hand of the Virgin Mary) guided it.” As a sign of his gratitude, Pope John Paul II gave the bullet that nearly took his life to the Shrine of Our lady of Fatima. Amazingly the bullet fit perfectly in a spot of the crown of the statue of our Lady of Fatima (which was created decades ago) and remains there at the Shrine in Portugal to this day.

If you are intrigued by this story you will likely find our new mystery, thriller novel Stalin’s Priests captivating reading as well. It is available now at our website or Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

#Fatima #Russia #Wikipedia #pope assassination

Erik and Rita Brandin


Was the recent publication of Stalin’s Priests coincidence or providence?

For the past couple of years the news headlines have been full of stories about Russian meddling, and scandals in the catholic church reaching all the way to Vatican. This might lead readers to believe that our newly published novel Stalin’s Priests was a fairly recent idea. However, the idea for Stalin’s Priests goes back more than a decade. In fact, it didn’t start out as a novel at all. We first began this project as a screenplay thinking the story of a secret Russian KGB plot to infiltrate one of the worlds oldest and largest institutions with hundreds or even thousands of agents to eventually destroy it from within would be a big hit on the silver screen.

The idea first began in earnest on a family pilgrimage we made to Medjugorje in 2006. Twenty five members of the Brandin family set out on a grand adventure (remember The Brady Bunch goes to Europe??) to Rome and then to Medjugorje in Bosnia, Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia. It was there, on June 25th, 1981 in this tiny rural village in the foothills that Virgin Mary appeared to six teenagers playing on a hill. Much like the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 she chose children and gave them messages that God is real, that the world is in trouble, and that we should pray daily. Our family trip was timed for the week of the 25th anniversary of the first apparition there. It was an incredible event as tens of thousands of pilgrims came from all over the world to be there for the celebration and to hear from two of the seerers who were now in their thirties and were still continuing to have weekly apparitions with our Lady.

It was there, that week that the idea for Stalin’s Priests began to form and take shape. Notes were made, lively discussions took place, and research started. However, once the screenplay was completed a year or so later, with the help of a Hollywood screenwriter, we decided it needed more character and story development so we pulled it back and began the transformation into a novel. Well, then life got in the way. Job changes, geographic moves, kids, college etc… made it hard to work and focus on what at first was titled ‘The Judas Cross”. But, with the encouragement of many friends and family we finally completed the novel in 2017, and it was published this past March 2018.

Rita and I find it incredible that we could have finished it and had it published several years ago. But, as fate would have it, Stalin’s Priests has come out at this time. A time when everyday on television, newspapers and the internet the headlines are a buzz with Russian meddling and collusion, and terrible scandals of sex abuse by “priests” in the Catholic Church which threaten its very foundation. We could not have planned it better.

So, we hope you are able to get your copy and read it soon, and then ask yourself, coincidence or providence?

Erik and Rita Brandin

Is Stalin’s Priests mystery unfolding in today’s headlines?

Breaking News: A grand Jury in Pennsylvania just released a scathing report detailing sexual abuse of boys and girls by more than 300 priests over the last 7 decades. It also details how the church hierarchy worked to cover it up. Here is the link: ttps://

Although the new novel Stalin’s Priests is an historical fiction mystery thriller, it may offer some very interesting insights as to how and why these headlines continue to plague the Church not just in the USA but all over the world. The authors, Erik and Rita Brandin have done years of research on this subject and have woven together a story that takes readers on spellbinding journey from the tranquility of a small farming village in 1917 Portugal, to German tanks invading Poland at the start of WWII, brutal Russian winters, and to the majesty of St. Peters Basilica, and the Vatican.

You will be immediately drawn into the world of a cast of new characters who’s lives shockingly connect with known heroes and villains such as Pope John Paul II, and Joseph Stalin himself!

The book is available in soft cover, hard cover, and ebook at, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Pick up a copy today, and be sure to send us your comments-

Erik & Brandin

Erik meets Rita, and the Earth shook!

We first met in Santa Monica, California in 1992. I was a long time resident of the bustling beach community just west of Los Angeles and was president of my family printing business when Rita moved to town. She had been transferred from  Atlanta, Georgia by her company that operated shopping malls. She was the new general manager of Santa Monica Place, the city’s regional shopping mall. ( I called her “The Mayor of the Mall”) She immediately joined the local chamber of commerce and the local rotary club. It is here that we met for the first time as I was already a member of both, but, it was strictly business! Rita was a go getter and quickly became known in the community for her sharp mind, energetic style. (I liked her beautiful smile). It wasn’t too long before community leaders were looking to Rita to get involved and the following year she was asked to be the President of our local Chamber of Commerce, where I happened to be on the board.

Then it happened. January 17th, 1994 4:30 am. The Northridge earthquake struck with a magnitude of 6.7. It rocked Los Angeles hard, including our sleepy beach town. We are thankful it happened at 4:30 am instead of 9:30 am as many lives would have been lost. My business was nearly destroyed as walls came tumbling down in the 7 story brick building we occupied on Wilshire blvd. Rita’s mall was hit hard too as glass windows blew out and pipes burst and flooded the mall. Businesses and homes were damaged all around. We all shifted into crisis mode. It took months to stabilize things. I had to relocate my business from its home of 20 years. The community came together with great leadership from Rita and others and eventually life returned to normal in Santa Monica. We both attended many “Grand Re-Openings”, and several community events, but it was one Rotary club dinner party that changed our lives. You see, Rita and I were two of the very few single people in our Rotary club. So this particular night we showed up and we just happened to be seated together at a table of ten. We had a nice dinner with lots of small talk and then the music started. When all the couples at our table got up to dance Rita and I were left alone at the table. So, being the gentleman I am, I awkwardly asked her if she would like to dance. To my great delight she said yes! Well folks, that few minutes on the dance floor was magic. Both our hearts were pounding, and they have been pounding ever since.

We have had so many wonderful adventures together over the past 24 years, and we will be sharing some of those adventures with you here in our blog over the coming weeks and months. One of those adventures was a trip more than 10 years ago to Bosnia-Herzegovina where the inspiration for our book Stalin’s Priests was cemented.

Stay tuned-

Erik Brandin

4 Welcome to My New Blog!

Welcome. We are Rita and Erik Brandin, authors of Stalin’s Priests. We are so happy to have you as a visitor to our blog about our new book. This project is very special to us, and we hope to share some of that excitement with you here.


We will be using this blog to interact with you about Stalin’s Priests, expanding on some of the topics in it and posting on some of the ideas related to our book. This is a great place for you to get to know us, and we are looking forward to getting to know you, too. What did you think of Stalin’s Priests? What questions do you have for us? How do you relate to our book?


We’ll be returning here frequently with new posts and responses to feedback from you. Until next time, tell us a little bit about yourself.