Although not as well-known as the Clancys, Cusslers, and Coontzes of the bestseller lists, Richard P. Henrick has written 17 riveting military technothrillers--including Crimson Tide
and Flight of the Condor
. The common theme in his books is how ordinary people respond to exceptional pressure under what-if circumstances.
The premise behind Henrick's 18th book--one of his best in terms of timeliness and sheer nervous energy--is what would happen if somebody wanted the reigns of power in America badly enough to kill anyone who stood in the way.
En route to a top-secret meeting in the Crimea, the president's convoy is attacked and he is killed. At the same moment, a black helicopter blasts the Missouri town where the vice president is fishing. Only the actions of secret service special agent Vince Kellogg keep him alive--at least for the moment. Meanwhile, up in the stratosphere, a specially modified 747 called Nightwatch becomes the new seat of power for the beleaguered American government. Navy commander Brittany Edwards is one of five officers on board with the authority to launch a nuclear attack--but who, exactly, is the government fighting?
Henrick's characters are interesting and varied, and even the villains have enough depth to make readers understand--if not sympathize--with them. But it's the giant flying fortress itself that is his best creation: he gives it so much personality that we share the pain when a missile explodes nearby and almost destroys the Nightwatch. --Dick Adler
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From Publishers Weekly
A good story lurks somewhere beneath the machismo posturing, wooden dialogue, confused plotting and acronym-heavy prose of Henrick's (Crimson Tide; Attack on the Queen) new military thriller. All that clutter gets in the way of a wild adventure that otherwise would have the firepower of a bazooka. For starters, the president of the U.S. is assassinated while on a diplomatic mission to the Crimea. Soon after, a mysterious group of thugs kidnaps the vice-president during a river rafting trip in Missouri. Then, an ICBM leaves Russian soil, heading for the West. It soon becomes apparent that an overthrow of the U.S. government is underway. The leaders of the coup carry out their plot from aboard Nightwatch, a high-tech 747 that follows the president wherever he goes, ensuring communication with the nation's capital. The militants, led by Admiral Trent Warner, stay in contact with their cohorts aboard a nuclear sub off the coast of the eastern seaboard and in the rough terrain of the Missouri Ozarks, where the vice-president and his bodyguard have been taken hostage, first by a family of local hicks, then by the forces plotting the government overthrow. The coup leaders' main gripe is that old saw: The government has gone soft politically and panders to too many special interests. A large cast of disposable and unmemorable characters move in and out of the story. They are led, nominally, by two brothers, Vince Kellogg, who guards the vice-president, and Thomas Kellogg, who leads the search party for the v-p. The dialogue throughout is tough and labored, and the military jargon often becomes overwhelming. An 80-item glossary of abbreviation emphasizes that this book will best appeal to those obsessed with the fighting forces. Film rights optioned to Jerry Bruckheimer, coproducer of Crimson Tide. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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