The Room and the Chair
Knopf, Feb 9 2010, $25.95
USAF Captain Mary Goodwin flies her F-16 over the Washington DC area protecting the friendly skies. However, her jet suddenly has engine trouble and she is forced to eject from the cockpit. Although she cannot prove it, she feels something odd happened to her plane. Mary is almost immediately deployed to Afghanistan, which she finds odd with the rapidity the military sent her to theatre.
Washington Spectator night editor Stanley Belson finds the incident over the Potomac also strange especially with how fast the Air Force got Mary out of DC. He has his top gun Vera Hastings investigate the incident. Unbeknownst to either woman, top secret intel chief Will Holmes knows what happened but insures damage control is spun taut as he allowed an anti-suicide test using an unwitting subject too soon.
The key cast members are somewhat stereotyped to enhance the suspense, especially in the Middle East, and to strafe bomb the political-media complex in which the truth is irrelevant as only ratings (for the media and for the politicians) are out there. Ironically the State-side chapters pale next to the Middle East sections as the incidents overseas are harrowing and breathtaking with a wide range of reactions while inside the United States decadence and lying rule. Although too many threads are left dangling, fans will appreciate this deep look at a perilous complicated world in which medicated Americans are served tea.