cover image The Ransom of Black Stealth One

The Ransom of Black Stealth One

Dean Ing. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (311pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03472-6

Ing ( Blood of Eagles ) constructs this techno-thriller around a low-performance aircraft built from materials giving almost no radar signature. ``Black Stealth One'' is an ideal intelligence-gathering aircraft, and is equally desirable to the U.S.S.R. American intelligence proposes to guard the secret of Black Stealth's true value by letting the Soviets buy the plane from a defector, in reality palming off an earlier, inferior version. The plan goes awry when the real Black Stealth is stolen by a rogue U.S. agent with a grudge. Ing's combination of ultralight and stealth technologies is convincing. His plot development, however, fails to integrate characters and situation into a coherent story. An unlikely and uninteresting May-September romance between the thief and his female hostage dominates much of the novel, and the ending, while clever, does not develop from the body of the book. 100,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo. (Oct.)