cover image High Flight

High Flight

David Hagberg. Forge, $24.95 (639pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85092-0

Through 22 novels, Hagberg (Desert Fire) has become known as a suspense writer who delivers. This massive near-future thriller will only enhance his reputation. It is 1997, and a carefully designed plot by a cabal of Japanese business and political interests is ready to be implemented: electronic units have been inserted in the fleet of a major U.S. airline, enabling the cabal, via satellite signal, to destroy the planes in mid-flight. A confrontation between a Japanese submarine and a Russian ship then puts their parent nations on the brink of war. In the U.S., a powerful newsletter publisher who believes that his country must confront the Japanese now, rather than be destroyed economically later, learns of the cabal's plot but plans to strike first by enacting the sabotage plan and blaming it on the Japanese government. To do so, he puts together a charismatic team composed of a deadly former East German assassin and two eccentric half-brothers, one an eco-terrorist, the other a computer whiz. Pitted against all this evil is ex-CIA operative Kirk McGarvey (returning from Critical Mass), who is hired by Guerin Airlines to protect its interests--but when McGarvey discovers the truth, few will believe him. Though overlong and episodic, Hagberg's narrative maintains its pace, and, by the final pages, with planes falling from the skies and WWIII seemingly inevitable, readers will be so engrossed they won't want to blink. (Sept.)