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Warrior Class
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Brown gives us another tale of maverick Air Force general Patrick McLanahan. This time his supersecret unit is called in to extract a CIA agent in Moscow whose cover has been blown. During this operation old man Murphy decides that his law rules, and McLanahan's unit ends up locking horns with a really nasty, corrupt Russian oilman, Pavel Kazakov, who is building a Trans-Balkan pipeline. In the course of events, our hero has to go against his superiors, including a rather flaky president, to get the job done and take out Kazakov. While not great literature, this tale is a real barn-burner, filled with lots of action and technology. Some of this stuff does stretch credulity, but it is exciting and loads of fun. Veteran actor Stephen Lang is superb; his experienced voice brings out the personality of each character. Narrative portions are just as ably performed; Lang's only weakness is his Russian, which could use some practice. Public libraries should have at least one copy. Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Brown's raw enthusiasm for the nuts and bolts of military hardware still courses through his gung-ho renditions of the fictional air adventures of the U.S. armed forces (Battle Born; The Tin Man; etc.). Here, in Brown's 13th thriller, he offers up another flag-waving, jargon-heavy, air combat whopper starring daredevil pilot Patrick McLanahan. The Russian economy and military lie in ruins; the United States, now led by isolationist President Thomas Thorn, seems content to let Europe and the rest of the world go it alone. Seeing his opportunity, Russian drug lord and oilman Pavel Kazakov decides to build a huge new pipeline from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. The line will have to go through several countries that have already rejected the idea, but Kazakov has a secret weapon: a stealth war plane that he begins using to pick fights, bombing villages and shooting down opposing aircraft. His strategy is to provoke retaliation, thereby allowing the Russian army to invade countries that won't go along with his pipeline scheme. President Thorn may not care what Kazakov is up to, but McLanahan does and so do several of Brown's recurring characters, all rugged aviation patriots. They devise a counterstrategy to bring Kazakov's puppets face-to-face with the latest American military technology and fighting tactics. Though a captivating final dogfight over the Black Sea ups the drama level, Brown, a former air force captain, otherwise lets copious descriptions of military gadgets and procedures take precedence over action, which slows the plot to a crawl. For those who prefer their acronyms straight, this is the usual heady fare. (May 7) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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