In this slick military thriller, an Air Force investigator probes the death of a four-star general who looked too deeply into the military-industrial complex.
Special Agent Maj. Vin Cooper is nursing a bad toothache and the aftereffects of his divorce when the call comes from Maj. General Winifred Gruyere (she of the inevitable nickname Big Cheese). An order from higher-ups designates Cooper as the right man to find out why Gen. Abraham Scott’s recreational glider lost a wing and dropped like a bag of bolts, splattering over the German countryside. Allowed no time to see the dentist, the heavily drugged (he’s flight-phobic since crashing in Afghanistan) Cooper and his cratered molar whisk overseas to Ramstein Air Base, where he is met by the extraordinarily well-built and attractive Major Anna Masters, also an Air Force Special Agent. Masters, irritated not to have the investigation to herself, gives him about 15 minutes to clean up and start digging. The tooth will just have to wait. It becomes quickly evident that the late general had veered from his upwardly mobile career arc when his Marine sergeant son was killed in Iraq, and further evident that the general’s marriage to the daughter of the very Cheney-esque U.S. vice president had gone on the rocks even before that. What is not evident is why the autopsy on the general’s son was faked; why the general made several secret trips to Riga, Latvia; why the creepy German general in temporary command of Ramstein wants Cooper to get out of town immediately; or why Cooper was chosen for the job in the first place. Answering that will take Cooper to Chechnya and into the arms of a gorgeous Russian hooker. It seems there is this mysterious group called The Establishment…
The conspiracy is way over the top, but everything moves so fast and frighteningly, and Cooper is so likable, that it doesn’t much matter.