The Warbirds

Richard Herman, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55611-097-9
Though the initial chapters are devoid of tension, and much of the plotting is inept, once this military thriller gets under way, first novelist Herman leaves no doubt that he knows fighter-flying. Egypt-based U.S. fighters destroy a Libyan MIG that fires at a U.S. cargo plane, and the MIG's dead pilot is identified as Soviet. The Egyptians are upset for reasons never made clear to the reader, but as a result of the incident, the 45th Wing relocates in England. While there, ace flyer Jack Locke faces court-martial for a harmless indiscretion about which the author offers only murky clues, and leader ``Muddy'' Waters is harassed by Washington brass about the Egyptian debacle. But events unfold in the Persian Gulf, with Iranians threatening Arab oil fields, and a taut adventure finally springs to life. Grueling sorties and heroism rule the narrative as the ace and the leader redeem themselves. The Warbirds stalls and stumbles on the runway, but its depiction of modern air war is up to the best of them. 100,000 copy first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Avon; Literary Guild and Military Book Club selections; author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-380-70838-3
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