A lawyer and Army Reserve aviator seeks to stop the production of a faulty Marine vehicle in this novel.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, Jake Baird is a man with a fledgling law practice. One day he meets with Lisa Thorpe, whose husband, Sam, died while test flying an experimental Marine vehicle called the XV-11. The incident happened at Maryland’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station, and Lisa believes that the military is keeping information from her. While Jake doesn’t immediately file her lawsuit, he promises to investigate the circumstances of Sam’s death (he can’t be too reckless going against the military with his new contingency-free practice, which pays most of a case’s expenses). The next day, Jake finds a note in his convertible telling him to show up at a nearby restaurant. There, he encounters a stranger who leaves him with a folder full of classified information relating to the XV-11—aka the Sea Eagle—and its development. Jake must be cautious in trusting this contact, since the possession of classified documents is illegal. Meanwhile, elements of the local Marine Corps prepare to leave for a mission in Afghanistan using the Sea Eagle, which has yet to prove itself safe or reliable in simulated combat situations. In this tale, Crouse (Aviation Law, 2006) delivers an extremely fluid blend of legal thrills and military action. He conveys the problems of the XV-11 with both specialized terms and clear visuals that make the reader feel war craft savvy; the Sea Eagle, for example, has “twenty common hydraulic lines—so a bullet in one could cause simultaneous failure of several different hydraulic systems.” Crouse also reveals tricks of the lawyer’s trade, as when Jake attaches the classified documents to a Request to Admit, a written maneuver that would compel the opposing party to acknowledge the information within. No military thriller would be complete, however, without an exiled scientist (Dr. Stanislas Kolinsky), a smart, beautiful foil (fellow lawyer Madison Wright), and a cabal of murderous operatives—all of which Crouse uses to polish up his patriotic narrative.
A superbly balanced, exactingly paced military thriller featuring a heroic attorney.