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Author of 13 "New York Times" Bestsellers, STEPHEN COONTS flew A-6 Intruders from the deck of the USS ENTERPRISE during the Vietnam War. A graduate of West Virginia University and the University of Colorado School of Law, he and his wife Deborah still fly whenever they have the time. They reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With this well-crafted first novel, the publishers of The Hunt for Red October again demonstrate a sure eye for picking winners in the thriller genre. Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War who flies his bomber on sorties past enemy flak and SAM missiles, and then must maneuver his plane, often at night, onto the relatively small deck of an aircraft carrier. Former Navy flyer Coonts gives an excellent sense of the complexities of modern air raids and how nerve-wracking it is, even for the best airmen, to technically solve sudden problems over and over, knowing that even a twist of fatea peasant wildly firing a rifle from a fieldcould wipe out the crew. Grafton alternates between remorse over the fate of his unseen Vietnamese victims on the ground and a gung-ho ``let's win this war'' sentiment that lashes at both policymakers who select less-than-important targets for the dangerous missions and advocates for peace back in the States. The action, though, is realistically detailed and absorbing. 75,000 first printing; $80,000 ad/promo. (October 17)
"Packed with action, emotion, suspense, and tragedy."?Clive Cussler