cover image Storming Heaven

Storming Heaven

Dale Brown. Putnam, $22.95 (399pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13931-4

Brown ( Chains of Command ) shamelessly promotes himself and his previous works in his eighth aeronautical techno-thriller. Thus, this unwieldy tale of domestic terrorism includes forces and characters (notably maverick Coast Guard Rear Admiral Ian Hardcastle) from prior books, as well as gratuitious self-references (``They had gotten that idea from a techno-thriller novel published a few years back . . . called Hammerheads ''; or, ``This is not some Dale Brown novel, this is real-life''). Supervillain Henri Cazaux, rich beyond measure from drug- and gun-running, has vowed revenge upon the U.S. government for abuse he suffered at the hands of Air Force security police when, as a youth, he was caught dealing hashish to American troops. He begins by bombing major civilian airports; the government, which must predict his next targets and outwit him, eventually has to employ military forces over the skies of our largest cities. Although Brown raises some provocative issues, such as the problem of interagency rivalries and the appropriateness of using military force in civilian areas, his political biases and heavy-handed sarcasm--especially in dealing with a certain gray-haired President who hails from the South and has ``a duplicitous and questionable private life,'' and with his First Lady, ``a tough-as-nails bitch''--blur the plot and will irritate readers who simply want to fly vicariously. Brown's aeronautical knowledge is broad and accurate, and his flight scenes are first-rate; it's too bad that he weighs them down with all that extra baggage. (Aug.)