Thursday, April 21, 2005

James W. Huston, Flash Point, 2000.

The roommate of a Navy fighter pilot--Tomcats--is killed by terrorists in Israel; the pilot retaliates, writes to the Hill, gets war declared on the terrorists, bombs them, gets shot down, etc. Predictable, and plotted a little too loosely. Some fun, but not convincing enough for me to read anything else by Huston.
Stephen Coonts,
America, 2001,
Liberty, 2003.

Hm. Well, that's all of the published Jake Grafton novels; now we can move onto something else.
America is the story that revolves around stolen submarines, plots to destroy the United States' economy through electromagnetic Tomahawk missiles, a Star Wars -type space defence missile shield. Improbably, ridiculous, decent pulp.

Liberty was written after the attacks of September 11th. Like a number of other books, it's about bad guys--this time terrorists, instead of agents of other states--trying to get a hold of WMDs, in this case Russian nuclear warheads. Jake has to find all four before they're exploded. Naturally, life's complicated. He decides to retire at the end of the book--two or three books late, in my opinion, but hey. Decent fun, nothing special.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Stephen Coonts,
Under Siege, 1990
The Red Horseman, 1994,
Cuba, 1999,
Hong Kong, 2000.

Four more Jake Grafton novels. (Two to go)

Under Siege I've read before. Jake serving his Joint Chiefs tour, in the Counter-Terrorism sector. A whole bunch of drugs lead to domestic terrorism, assasination attempts, etc. Decent but unexciting.

The Red Horseman is a tad too unrealistic. Russia/CIS falling apart, post Gorbachev, etc. Nukes stolen, invading the country that they were sold to by corrupt Russian forces officials, etc. Jake's there with the Defence Intelligence Agency, observing and then running the show. Hard to swallow.

Cuba deals with Castro's death, biological warheads. Jake's in command of the carrier battle group that's in the Caribbean, and has to deal with the mess. Solid.

Hong Kong is weaker than Cuba. Coonts' plot has Grafton sent to Hong Kong back to investigate Tiger Cole, his old bombardier from Flight of the Intruder, now the consul-general to Hong Kong, a tad after the Chinese takeover. Revolution ferments, bad things happen, more Jake in hand to hand combat.

Two left--let's see how they are.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Stephen Coonts,
Flight of the Intruder, 1986,
The Intruders, 1994,
Final Flight, 1988,
The Minotaur, 1989.

Four Jake Grafton novels.

The first one, Flight of the Intruder, has become a movie that's not awful, but the story definitely makes a better book. What the movie does do well is attempting to capture what life is like aboard an aircraft carrier as the pilots of the air wing conduct bombing missions over Vietnam in the dying days of the war. Lots of implausible bits, but on the whole, it affords a view of what life must have been like.

The Intruders, which was written after the other three that I'm posting about here, but is the next in the sequence, is about Grafton's life aboard a carrier immediately after his last tour ended, this team with a Marine A-6 squadron, instead of a Navy squadron, thanks to an ill-advised barfight with a civilian. Really, it's about Jake trying to decide if the Navy will be his career. Sadly, this book's a little too much like Flight of the Intruder and Final Flight, in a way that The Minotaur is not. More implausibility, more general fun.

Final Flight is a nice, riveting thriller about a plot to steal nuclear bombs from a carrier. Nice segue from attack planes to fighters like the F-14, and far more interesting than Top Gun-type crap.

The Minotaur is all about Jake finding a life in the Navy after his flying days are done, and is an intriguing little spy thriller that's quite nicely done.