Doc Ford, marine biologist-cum-black-ops specialist, must disinter some ugly buried secrets along with a kidnap victim who’s been buried alive.
Unlucky Will Chaser, 14, wins an essay-writing contest that puts him in the wrong place at the wrong time. His woes begin with a conspiracy in Havana to obtain the newly surfaced “Castro File.” Now in U.S. custody, the file is full of inflammable secrets, making it highly attractive to big-time geopolitical extortionists. Chief among these are Hump and Farfel, a pair of bottom feeders who’ve decided that an effective way to exert pressure on the United States would be to kidnap a certain female senator, put her underground and give the Government 36 hours to come up with the goods. As Will rides in Senator Hayes’s limo as part of his contest prize, the ill-intentioned cabal prepares for the snatch. Doc Ford, who just happens to be in New York waiting on his latest spook assignment (Black Widow, 2008, etc.), would be exactly in position to rescue the senator and foil the kidnappers if they didn’t decide that young Will qualifies as a workable surrogate. So Doc instantly goes instead into pursuit mode, beginning a frantic chase that will take him to those dark and desperate places that only a man with the Bond-like W designation (“sanctioned by the Executive Branch to use lethal force” worldwide) can handle with aplomb.
Doc’s 16th suffers from subplot glut, but his fans are inured to that by now.