A thriller from a former U.S. senator and defense secretary who clearly understands what he’s writing about.
Deep in space, an asteroid hurtles in orbit around the sun. On Earth, a company named SpaceMine lusts after the platinum and palladium it might pry from such extraterrestrial rock. SpaceMine’s CEO, billionaire Robert Wentworth Hamilton, has claimed it and named it. “May God bless America and Asteroid USA,” he announces. Meanwhile, Sean Falcone—former Army Ranger, U.S. senator, and national security adviser and current law partner at Sullivan & Ford, which represents Hamilton—watches a Hamilton press conference on TV. Shortly thereafter, he witnesses a shooting in his law office, where several people die. Is it “an interrupted mass shooting of lawyers” or the beginning of something far worse? A missing laptop and two dead Chechen terrorists may point to an issue with SpaceMine’s private asteroid—what if the company’s mining operations accidentally nudge it out of orbit and toward Earth? The resulting collision might wipe out humanity. Such a good premise and all the reader gets is a Washington, D.C., thriller with the usual heroes and suspects. Armageddon remains remote throughout this story, so don’t expect Bruce Willis to fly up to Asteroid USA and blast the sucker to smithereens, which would just create a bunch of giant rocks that could explode on Earth anyway. But as for that staple of thrillers, the ticking clock with the big red digits, forget about it. ETA to Earth, should the rock even be nudged in our direction, is 20 years from now. Yes, it’s still critical, and humankind needs to plan well ahead. But no, a possible disaster in 2035 doesn’t make for edge-of-your-seat reading. That said, the writing and storytelling aren’t bad.
A good yarn for the issue it raises, although the tension doesn’t crackle. A more apt title might be Near Miss.