Deutermann (Official Privilege, 1995, etc.) returns to the scene of US Navy crimes with a twisty thriller detailing the lengths to which the seagoing service will go to protect its own and deep-six potentially embarrassing scandals. On the eve of her retirement, Commander Karen Lawrence, an attractive widow and attorney, is ordered by the Navy's Judge Advocate General to ride herd on the civilian cops investigating the mysterious demise of a young woman who was the former lover of newly promoted Admiral William Sherman. Assisted in her watching brief by Wolfgang Guderian von Rensel, an ex-Marine turned Office of Naval Intelligence operative, Karen quickly determines that her secretive, gun-shy superiors at the Pentagon are not telling all they know. When another person close to Sherman dies in suspicious circumstances, Karen and von Rensel (known as ``Train'' for his great size) learn that the admiral is being stalked by a dread figure from his past, a SEAL named Marcus Galantz, whom he left in the lurch on a riverine mission toward the end of the Vietnam War. Although his contacts in the intelligence community assure Train that the Galantz case has been turned over to sweepers (contract killers who clean up messes deemed too hot to handle in-house), the partners barely escape with their lives from a series of fiendishly plotted accidents and abductions. They nonetheless survive to make a moonlight rendezvous with their quarry (who's equipped himself with the ultimate after-dark weapon, a retinal disrupter). While the renegade assassin's fate is unclear in the wake of this violent confrontation, Karen and Train (by now her lover) are able to prove that certain of their brass-hat betters have been covering up grave derelictions of duty for over two decades. A quality on-the-run yarn that, if less plausible than the author's previous efforts, features appealing lower-echelon military personnel for whom honor, obligation, and country are not just words but credos.