Red Lightning/Black Thunder

Jimmie H. Butler, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-525-93377-9
Butler's ( The Iskra Incident ) second techno-thriller devolves in a near future, with the U.S. ready to deploy an antimissile satellite as the first part of a strategic defense system. The Soviet Union responds with Red Lightning, a space-based network of satellites that can destroy rockets before they even leave earth's atmosphere. America's answer is ``black thunder,'' atmosphere-based satellite-killing missiles launched not from a glamorous F-15 nor from a state-of-the-art B-2 bomber, but from a workaday C-141 transport. Mike Chisholm, an Air Force colonel, leads a handpicked team that includes his ex-fiancee, Maj. Sandi Turner as copilot. The action never stops as Chisholm and his crew match wits and skills with terrorists, MIGs and laser beams, all on their way to the final confrontation with Red Lightning. Although the characters are generic and the political setting unsophisticated, reflective readers will appreciate both Butler's contention that even the most complex weapons system can somehow be countered and Butler's casting of Air Force transport crews as heroes instead of the more customary supporting players. The author is a retired Air Force colonel. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-451-17328-7
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