Books by Richard Herman

THE LAST PHOENIX by Richard Herman
Released: July 1, 2002

"As always, Herman, a retired Air Force major, evokes his far-flung battlefields with colorful authenticity (The Trojan Sea, 2001, etc.). It's his home-front warriors that seem pale and stale."
A routine thriller about our first woman president, who's burdened by political, geopolitical, and pesky un-political problems. Read full book review >
THE TROJAN SEA by Richard Herman
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"Richly rounded characters on a ride as swift and surely aimed as a guided missile."
A military thriller about oil exploration and international conspiracy, from the author of Edge of Honor (1999), etc. Read full book review >
Released: July 8, 1998

Former Air Force major Herman (most recently, Power Curve, 1997, about the first woman president of the US) produces realistic suspense tales that some call "thinking man's" thrillers that out-Clancy Clancy. Here, a military mission goes sour when an American B-2 bomber loaded with high-tech goodies fails in its attack on a Sudanese biological weapons plant and the crew is captured. Back in California at the ironically named Whiteman Air Force Base, an African-American (and Muslim) Air Force captain, Bradley Jefferson, is cast as scapegoat, charged with espionage, and readied for court-martial. Taking advantage of this trial is demagogue Jonathan Meredith, head of the superpatriotric First Brigade, who fancies himself an American Caesar and is running for President. His heroism during the Oklahoma City'style bombing of the new San Francisco Shopping Emporium (and his angry comments following the disaster) have given him great cachet, even though he's leading the country into a racial war. Government prosecutor Hank Sutherland looks likely to convict the Air Force captain, though Jefferson is defended by a famous defense lawyer. Echoes of the Dreyfus case abound, while legal issues stitch together much of the novel's high tensions. Herman has a distinctive beat to his wickedly adroit military thrillers whose firestorms are averted only at the last second. Read full book review >
IRON GATE by Richard Herman
Released: Jan. 22, 1996

Bird-colonel Matt Pontowski (Dark Wing, 1994, etc.) takes his US Air Force Wing on a peacekeeping mission to South Africa, where aggressive white separatists may have made a go of cold fusion (giving them a nuclear capability): Herman's latest entry in a first-rate series of military/political thrillers. It's the near future, and the Afrikaner Resistance Movement has established a Boerstat in the Karoo (a mountainous wasteland north of Cape Town), where the insurgents have stockpiled an impressive arsenal of modern weaponry and (with the help of an Israeli scientist) come close to developing a hydrogen bomb in their remote redoubt (known as Iron Gate). Under the crafty leadership of mad, messianic Hans Beckmann, the breakaway state threatens the stability of South Africa's democratically elected and multiracial (albeit ineffectual) government. Aware of the dangers, America's President takes advantage of a Congressional recess to add Pontowski's aircraft (A-10 Warthogs and C-130 transports) to a UN force previously detailed to maintain order in the region's trouble spots. Bound by strict rules of engagement, however, the high-flying fighter pilot can't come to grips with a fanatic foe bent on achieving not only independence but also dominion. Nor, owing to budget constraints and partisan enmities, is he able to count on much home-front support. Pontowski and his immediate superior, the de Gaullelike commandant of a French Foreign Legion unit, nonetheless soldier on until the dissident homesteaders (backed by Middle European powers seeking a piece of the advanced-technology action) overplay their hand . . . . Vivid, violent scenes of aerial combat and plausible maneuvering behind the lines where geopolitical fates are determined: a notably exciting account of a low-intensity conflict that's uncomfortably credible on its own merits. Read full book review >
DARK WING by Richard Herman
Released: May 26, 1994

The saga of the Pontowski clan from Firebreak (1991) and Call to Duty (1993) continues as Matt Pontowski becomes a player in a potential military conflict looming in the Far East. The factional People's Liberation Army in southern China, led by the ruthless Kang Xun, is wrestling for power with the central Chinese government and going after Hong Kong, the first conquest in a dream to control all of Asia. United States National Security Advisor Bob Carroll, eager to stop Kang right away, assembles a China Action Team of the brightest and best-connected in Washington, including Mazie Kamigami, the frumpy Asian specialist, and the preppy Wentworth Hazelton, who grudgingly joins as Mazie's assistant. The dark wing—the plane that emerges from the shadows to surprise the enemy—is found in Pontowski's 303rd Fighter Squadron, a Reserve squadron in Missouri whose ugly, slow, yet fatally precise A-10 Thunderbolt II planes (Warthogs) are in danger of becoming obsolete only to be rescued from the peace dividend because of their compatibility with AWACS, the airborne warning and command system the military would like to test in combat. The pilots of the 303rd resign from the Air Force to join the American Volunteer Group, becoming mercenaries for a dissident movement of the Zhuang people of southern China who are under the leadership of 28-year-old Zuo Rong. Zuo has arranged the release of American POW Victor Kamigami, Mazie's father, from the Vietnamese Army in the hopes of acquiring a general for his own army. The megalomaniacal, sexually deviant General Von Drexler is the head commander as these groups converge upon the southern Chinese theater. The characters are adroitly assembled as they fight in cities throughout southern China on land and in the air, creating such an engrossing tale of war that one is eager to read about the fate of the next generation of Pontowskis. Read full book review >
CALL TO DUTY by Richard Herman
Released: Jan. 15, 1993

Herman, whose Firebreak (1991) showed with considerable accuracy what a Middle Eastern war could be like, pits Southeast Asian pirates (they really do exist) against the best of America's Delta Force. There's a lot going on here. Sailing through the Indian Ocean with her rock-rich chums, Heather Courtland—the wanton, drug-gulping daughter of a slimeball US senator—is captured by pirates who turn her over to the most powerful druglord in Asia, who makes her his number-one mistress while using her as a shield for his evil operations. American President Zack Pontowski, whose WW II heroics and romances are interwoven with the present-day storyline, reluctantly sends his most capable Delta Force Special Operations team to Thailand to retrieve the girl and her largely worthless companions before his senatorial archrival, Heather's father, can make political hay of the situation. Senator Courtland makes Joe McCarthy look sweet. He's perfectly willing, maybe even eager, to sacrifice his embarrassing daughter to the pirates if it will enhance his presidential chances, and now does everything he can to queer the rescue operation and make the President look inept. Fortunately for Heather—who had been rather enjoying her imprisonment until she was made a party favor—the Delta Force team and their British commando consultant are as clever as they come, and their daring plan to rescue the spoiled darlings may prove successful, even though the bad guys greatly outnumber them. Violently entertaining look at the kind of mess we may see more and more of as the New World order reveals itself. World War II looks cozy by comparison. Read full book review >