Cover image for The colonel
The colonel
Davis, Patrick A.
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Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2001]

Physical Description:
355 pages ; 24 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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A former Air Force investigator comes out of retirement to find a killer, only to discover a massive government cover-up. With just two previous novels to his credit, Patrick A. Davis has become known for edge-of-your-seat military fiction. Of his first novel, The General, the Houston Chronicle proclaimed, "Davis scored a hit." And Publishers Weekly agreed that his "adrenaline-charged" second novel, The Passenger, firmly established him as "a writer with a knack for white-knuckled suspense." In The Colonel, Davis creates a new hero caught in the midst of the case of his life. Retired Air Force investigator Martin Collins lives a quiet life in rural Virginia, working as the local chief of police and consulting on military homicides. When he's called in to assist on a grisly triple murder, nothing can prepare him for the crime scene: Colonel Margaret Wildman and her two young children, their throats slashed, left to die in pools of their own blood. At first, there seems to be no motive for the murders. But as Collins digs through an increasingly puzzling maze of clues, he reveals a secret that leads to the highest levels of the government-and the military. Buried files reveal a link between Colonel Wildman and a series of fatal airline crashes; political pressure to keep a secret grows, as does the body count. Collins finds his own life jeopardized as he closes in on the truth, culminating in a shocking confrontation on the floors of Congress.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When an Air Force colonel is found murdered, along with her two young children, retired Air Force investigator Martin Collins is brought back into the fold to solve the crime. This third novel from the author of The General (1998) and The Passenger (1999) offers a plausible conspiracy thriller that keeps getting more and more complicated until all the threads are tied together, pretty much at the last possible moment. Collins is a sharp fellow, a former top-level crime investigator who's happy living the quiet life in rural Virginia but who can't resist the lure of a juicy case. And we can't pass this one up either: it's well put together, it isn't saturated with high-tech weaponry, and the plot, involving some fatal airplane crashes and some high-level Air Force officials, is fresh enough to hold our attention, despite the occasional moment when Davis falls back on standard gimmicks to build suspense. Best of all for a military thriller, the characters are made of something more lifelike than cardboard. Fans of Nelson DeMille will find this one entirely satisfying. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in a Washington, D.C., seething with politicos and lobbyists, Davis's third political thriller (after The Passenger) pits three unusual cops against a murderous conspiracy. When a female air force colonel and her two children are brutally tortured and murdered, a D.C. detective, an air force investigator and a rural Virginia police chief find themselves up to their handcuffs in suspects, motives, high-level obstruction, coverups and more bodies. It turns out that the colonel's death may be linked to a secret report she was preparing to present to Congress that would disclose the facts behind recent fatal airplane crashes, with implications for the entire U.S. transportation system. A series of gripping twists and turns and the revelation of a top-level conspiracy will keep readers on edge, and Davis adds ballast with well-drawn characters. Lt. Simon Santos, the D.C. detective, is a wealthy bachelor who does not shake hands, has a dark family past and takes some dubious investigative shortcuts. Capt. Amanda Gardner, the air force investigator, is a hard-boiled pro with a quick trigger who knows a bit too much about the leading suspect. Rural cop and former government agent Martin Collins, who narrates, is the steady influence who tries to keep the three from getting killed, fired, arrested by the FBI or crucified by the press. Refreshingly, Davis (an air force veteran) does not use technology or electronic gimmicks to solve the crime; instead, his protagonists rely on interrogation, legwork and old-fashioned cop intuition. We can only hope for more crime-busting drama from these gumshoes. Agent, Karen Solem at Writers House. (July 9) Forecast: The government conspiracy coverup at the heart of this story is a sure-fire element to attract readers. Davis's writing has improved with each outing, and this third thriller will undoubtedly establish his reputation. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved