In Bowman’s debut thriller, a former military officer tries to stop a rogue CIA agent from getting his hands on a Titan nuclear missile abandoned during the Cold War.
In 1993, Kirk Cule, a former Air Force pilot and astronaut trainee, receives the tragic news that his father, wife and son have been killed in a car accident. While mourning, he discovers his late father’s journals from the 1960s and begins to read through them. It turns out that his father, also an Air Force officer, commanded a Titan nuclear missile silo in Virginia that was part of a secret CIA operation. Kirk scours the Virginia countryside until he uncovers the abandoned silo and, with the help of a friend, works to get it back online. At the same time, readers learn the back story of Donner Bly, the megalomaniacal CIA agent who originally set up the covert missile installation. (The author imaginatively pulls out all the stops as he traces Bly’s history from the OSS in World War II to the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.) Bly escapes from the Supermax prison where he has been doing time for being “a thief and a traitor” and tries to get his hands on the remaining Titan as part of a blood-chilling revenge scheme involving a decommissioned Gemini space capsule. Kirk, however, has other plans. This thriller’s plot is somewhat far-fetched, but the author’s ready wit carries readers over the narrative’s rough spots. Techno-thriller fans will revel in all the details of Kirk’s prepping the Titan missile. Many thrillers neglect the human element, but in this case, the author consistently does right by his can-do heroes and outsized villains. He also includes an engaging touch of The Right Stuff and Space Cowboys as Kirk puts his audacious plan into motion.
An accomplished thriller that will appeal to fans of Brad Thor and Vince Flynn.