Second-novelist Dinallo (Rockets' Red Glare, 1988) now writes of a CIA plan to swap planes for Mideastern hostages that calls for the sacrifice of two Air Force pilots. The pilots prefer to live, thank you. Col. Qaddafi has a problem. The neighboring Tunisians have put up a dam that's clone wonders for their agriculture but has dried things up across the border. The Libyans are thirsty, so what the Colonel needs are a couple of bombers with the latest in radar navigation and bomb-sighting to vaporize the dam. Only a couple of US Air Force F-111s can fill the bill. Since Iran-contra events, it is depressingly unsurprising to find that the CIA will be glad to deliver what the Colonel needs if the Colonel will cooperate in a plan to release the long-held American hostages. All it takes are some skillful brokering by a wily Saudi, the complicity of terrorist Abu Nidal's glamorous goddaughter, and the murder of a couple of innocent pilots. The scheme is devious, complicated, illegal, and cynical--but it will work as long as everybody goes along. Alas for the Colonel and the CIA, however, Air Force Major Walt Shepherd dodges the sniper's bullet that was to free up his F-111 bomber for the Libyans. Worse yet, Shepherd has the brains and the nerve to go to war with the CIA to get his plane back. The more the plan unravels, the scarier the CIA becomes. Tense, clever, fast--and with better-than-average characters. Plotting and technogimmicks are both mercifully fresh.