In Maroney’s debut techno-thriller, a U.S. task force investigates a series of missing planes.
Maj. Megan Sloan of Air Force Intelligence manages the Drone Theory task force. Three planes have vanished in the last year, and the team theorizes that someone somehow hacked the aircrafts’ onboard computers. A few years back, the Iranian government recovered a lost American drone and sold the technology to other countries. Sloan was a part of the failed mission to retrieve the drone—a mission she only narrowly survived. She gets her chance to possibly end the hijackings when she receives a satellite phone call from Secret Service Agent Liam Donovan. He’s traveling with a nuclear-arms negotiating team, and someone has hacked the plane’s controls, redirecting it to Pyongyang. North Korean leader Choi Min-ho is probably responsible, but it may be someone wanting America to blame North Korea and retaliate, thereby starting World War III. In either case, Sloan and the task force set out to regain control of the plane as well as locate the remote hijacker to prevent a potential catastrophe. Maroney generates action with abundant dialogue; characters work under intense pressure and time constraints, and their rapid-fire communications require quick decisions and concise details. Friction among characters further bolsters the tension: Donovan, who’d had a previous relationship with Sloan, left her for dead during the botched mission, and a hacker working for Choi covertly tries aiding Americans. The story, inspired by the real-life disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, is realistic—the task force doesn’t always save everyone. Regardless, Sloan is tenacious and coolly nonchalant: “I took a couple of rounds a few years ago. Messed some stuff up pretty bad. They patched me together. Said I was good to go.”
A rugged, indelible heroine headlines a riveting tale.