Deverell, a former US Foreign Service officer, debuts with a not-so-thrilling thriller that takes its cue from 1988’s Lockerbie airline disaster. The opening premise is a promising one: a young woman, Casey Collins’she too a US Foreign Service Officer—faces the possibility that her lover might have been the inadvertent cause of a wrenching tragedy. She believes the bomb that blew up Global Flight 500 over Scotland was planted with him in mind—and that vengeful terrorists did it: Stefan Krajewsky, Polish operative for Danish Intelligence, and a counter-terrorist of the first magnitude (as well as Casey’s lover), had to be neutralized. That, she suspects, was the terrorist position, not softened in the least by the fact that 226 others accompanied their target. Anguished, then angry, Casey sets out to take her own revenge, and good thrillers have had worse launching pads. But they also tend to have better protagonists. Casey, to put it plainly, is a drag, an obstacle to empathy. It’s often difficult to take seriously a heroine whose dialogue is so often purple-tinged: —In some primitive corner of my soul, I knew—I knew—I belonged with him.— And she’s whiny, a real trial to her friends. As they band together to track down the evil genius at work, they—re forced to cope with what can seem like incessant complaining about one or another relatively minor bugbear. The truth is exasperating. So much so that when the plot turns on the need to thwart a master plan involving the simultaneous destruction of 12 commercial airliners (and on the 12th day of Christmas, no less), it’s just one more thing that you—re inclined not to take very seriously. Begins well, then crashes.