A U.S. Air Force officer teams up with a reporter to recover a missing missile before someone uses it to destroy the Hoover Dam in Getze’s (Big Shoes, 2015, etc.) thriller.
Lt. Col. Maggie Black is understandably worried when a B-52 drops off the radar at the Naval Air Facility in California. The test plane had been carrying experimental weaponry that her team had designed. Later, the search-and-rescue crew finds evidence of a crash, but the weapon itself, a missile, is nowhere to be found. Asdrubal Torres, of the Cahuilla Native American tribe, witnesses the crash and believes that it’s a sign from a kachina (or spirit). He surmises where the lost weapon must have landed, and he aims to retrieve it and use it to obliterate the Hoover Dam and thus refill Lake Cahuilla, which was once a boisterous body of water. Newspaper reporter Jordan Scott, who’s doing a story on the crash and the missing missile, gets in touch with Maggie. They discover a mutual attraction as well as a chance to help each other professionally, especially after the FBI boots Maggie from the official investigation. Meanwhile, Torres, along with his psychopathic techie crony, Henry Melancon, may prove to be dangerous with or without the weapon. Getze’s tale is populated by multifaceted characters with well-developed histories. Maggie, for instance, is a former Iraq War combat pilot with a $12,000 prosthetic hand, and at one point, Jordan returns a Cahuilla water basket to the tribe only to learn that his own great-grandfather allegedly killed the puul (or shaman) who made it a century ago. Torres is a sympathetic villain who feels guided by spirits, while his compatriot, Henry, often displays his “love of physical violence.” With so much back story, Getze wisely offers a relatively simple but no less exhilarating plot. The dialogue throughout is concise and includes sparky romantic banter between Jordan and Maggie: “ ‘you know how that is, Colonel Black, right?’ Jordan said. His voice had become huskier, the eyes somehow bluer. ‘When you want something bad?’…‘Bad-ly,’ Maggie said.”
An engaging thriller with heroic and villainous characters that readers will enjoy.