A thriller features various government agencies, spies, terrorists, and assassins—the whole shebang.
The story opens with the assassination of Nick Butler, a high-ranking executive with Century Aerospace, a defense contractor working on the top-secret Ghost Missile. Who would want Butler dead? Well, that would be Lillian Brewster, director of special projects at Century, who, with her brother, Alec, is trying to pass the plans for the Ghost Missile to the Russians. Sensing that Butler was beginning to have suspicions about her, she asked her Russian contacts to kill him, and they were happy to oblige. Of course, this is discovered piecemeal, as the CIA (and a special department called the National Clandestine Service), the FBI, and other high-powered agencies get into the act, needing not only to solve Butler’s murder, but also to safeguard the plans for the missile, a weapon that will drastically change modern warfare. The Russians must not get their villainous hands on it. A creative disinformation maneuver gives the heroes a bit more time, but this is a nail-biter to the finale. And it does end with a bang. Several of them, in fact. Truitt (Spy Brothers, 2016, etc.) spent a career with Northrop Grumman, the well-known defense contractor, which gives him certain bona fides. The author moves things along quickly and with a real feeling of immediacy. There are several assassination episodes, like plums in a pudding. But there are also a few plot problems, including a pointless plot detail early on about there being no dust on Vinalhaven Island. (Really?) And one assassin gets the drop on his victim by offering to do his yard work, gratis. The dialogue is stiff, scripted: “Nothing can be allowed to damage anything of importance in that magnificent city,” the FBI director says of Florence. Even uptight and upright government agents don’t talk like this. Still, the target audience will likely enjoy this propulsive yarn, undeterred by these quibbles.
A fast-paced, action-packed tale involving murder, espionage, and a secret missile.