cover image Flight of the Old Dog

Flight of the Old Dog

Dale Brown. Dutton Books, $18.95 (347pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-034-4

It is not the Reagan Administration that has secretly been developing a Strategic Defense Initiative in this first book by retired USAF Captain Brown, but the Soviets, and as soon as the system comes on line, the Russians flagrantly attack American intelligence and military craft with their laser weapon. The President and his advisors appeal to the UN Security Council; they even dispatch sophisticated B-1 bombers and a new, armed space satellite, but both are thwarted, and the U.S. is left dangerously incapable of detecting a missile launch from the eastern U.S.S.R. Desperate, they decide to send a souped-up veteran B-52 bomber, the Old Dog, and its expert navigator Patrick McLanahan on a crucial mission into Siberia to neutralize the death ray. Brown knows his airborne and naval high-tech equipment and the cockpit bantering of crews, and can tell a basically interesting story. He does not, however, examine the frightening political consequences of the superpowers trading shots. The novel's excitement is essentially that of a boy's adventure fantasy rather than the well-realized suspense of a credible thriller. 75,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; Military Book Club selection; author tour. (June 23)