Jim R. Lane, Author . Bridge Works $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-882593-59-0

Any novel about a naval court-martial proceeding invites comparison with Herman Wouk's immense The Caine Mutiny; former navy man Lane (Duty) is far less ambitious in his short novel, but he does offer an insider's view. Comdr. Neal Olen, whose wife, Yvonne, had briefly left him, was inveigled into a weekend affair by Angela Vance, herself separated from her husband. Now his marriage is sound again, he's retired from the navy and working for Defense Dynamics. Unfortunately, Angela has just published a "sleazy tell-all" bestseller, Navy Wench, in which he is thinly disguised as "Allen Neil." Olen is pilloried in the press and soon brought up on charges of adultery and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," each punishable by loss of retirement rights and privileges, as well as a fine and a jail sentence. Making matters worse, "Allen Neil" is portrayed as trying to impress his lover by imparting naval secrets. Olen engages Lethajoy Beltower, an experienced military lawyer and naval veteran who herself was forced into retirement because she refused to conceal her homosexuality. Olen admits to the affair, but denies revealing any secrets. A preliminary hearing finds insufficient evidence to convict, but the navy, embarrassed at the flagrant dismissal of charges after the Tailhook incident, wishes to pursue the court-martial. Flat narration and perfunctory characterization exacerbate the frustration of clumsy plot turns (Angela's husband tries twice to kill Olen), but the subject matter is tantalizing and Lane keeps the story moving at a steady pace. Agent, Wendy Dager.(Sept. 1)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
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