The Last High Ground

Robin A. White, Author
Robin A. White, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $23 (307p) ISBN 978-0-517-59694-4
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-449-18327-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 338 pages - 978-0-449-18319-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-449-22650-6
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17691-7
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Japanese villains in a conspiracy novel are sometimes a pretext for gratuitous Japan-bashing; but in this crisp thriller by White, everything he has to say about Japan is an integral part of the premise. In October 1995, a high-stakes merger between the Boeing Aircraft Company and a Japanese consortium is in jeopardy because Boeing's new 777 jets are falling out of the sky. Independent investigator Brian MacHenry suspects something a lot more sinister than terrorist bombings, especially after receiving information from a discredited Boeing employee that the crashes are due to faulty parts. Meanwhile, Shig Onishi of Japan's national police force is also investigating the Boeing merger. The company heading the consortium, Nippon Aerospace, is run by the current head of a Japanese gangster family, and he, along with powerful forces on both sides of the merger, wants to make sure that MacHenry and Onishi fail to discover just exactly what is wrong with the Boeing 777. White (The Sword of Orion) keeps the plot complex without making it complicated, and he makes his points about the underlying U.S.-Japanese conflict subtly and dramatically. This hard-edged thriller is somewhat undermined however, by White's decision to use the name of an actual aircraft company and to make innuendos about poor control over software, testing and production. And a final ironic plot reversal involving a high-tech sabotage gimmick could frighten air travelers even more. (Mar.)
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