The Trojan Sea

Richard Herman, Author
Richard Herman, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (416p) ISBN 978-0-380-97700-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-380-80270-8
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Like the Texas oil drillers at the heart of the story, Herman's latest military thriller is big and brawny and blustery--showing bulge around the middle, but still carrying its weight reasonably well. RayTex Oil, a small but feisty company out of Dallas, believes it has found a huge oil field off the Cuban coast. The company, however, knows the only way it can stake a claim and drill is if it can topple Fidel Castro and install a government that will cut a deal. Foiling RayTex's plans is Pentagon-based air force fuel expert Lt. Col. Michael Stuart, who gets suspicious after spotting unusual movements of oil exploration ships. He's nonetheless baffled--the Cuban coast has never been considered a potential oil site--until his boss tries to demote him, he is framed for murder and a hired killer tracks him down. He's got personal problems, too: his girlfriend thinks he's a wimp for not standing up to his ex-wife, and his father, hard-nosed former fighter pilot William ""Shanker"" Stuart, never misses an opportunity to imply how disappointed he is in his son. While Stuart struggles to understand what's happening, RayTex--led by sexy businesswoman L.J. Ellis--is busy fomenting revolution in Havana and deceiving the U.S. government about its intentions. Herman (Edge of Honor, etc.), a retired air force officer, juggles one too many subplots, yet rallies for an exciting finish on the ground and in the skies above Cuba. Both the behavior of Ellis (a tad too promiscuous for a business titan) and Stuart (a bit lily-livered) strain credibility, but Herman's latest has enough thrills and adventure to satisfy his fans. (Feb.)
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