Two "crashers"—airplane disaster investigators—who survive the downing of a 65-seat twin turboprop plane in Montana become part of the intensive effort to penetrate the dark secrecy surrounding the incident—and nab the cold-blooded, technologically advanced perpetrators of the crash.
Haynes follows up his well-received, similarly themed debut, Crashers (2010), with a measured thriller involving controversial, internationally banned weapons technology that mercenaries will stop at nothing to acquire. Pathologist Tommy Tomzak and sound engineer Kiki Duvall, a romantically involved couple with the National Transportation Safety Board, are on their way to a conference when their plane plummets into a wooded area, killing most of people on board, including a close associate. The prime target was Andrew Malatesta, dashing designer of the weapons technology, about which he has had a change of heart. Calendar is the ruthless "cleaner" assigned the task of preventing Malatesta from blowing the whistle, and destroying all evidence of the plot to bring down the plane. Jumping back and forth on an international canvas stretching from Spain to Mexico to Twin Pines, Mont., Haynes weaves a web-like narrative involving Homeland Security and the FAA, defense contractors and the CIA, and a cast of characters including former Israeli agent Daria Gibron, Mexican arms dealer Carlos "the War Dog" Ramos and Washington Post reporter Amy Dreyfus. The author is in complete command of his material, sharing his expertise with keen understatement. This is not one of those books in which the author sets out to impress us with how much he knows.
It takes a while for the book to turn up the suspense, and some of the characters get lost in the shuffle, but it's an enjoyable, well-crafted thriller nonetheless.