Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Man in the Middle - Brian Haig

Man in the Middle
Brian Haig
Warner Books

Mystery/Legal Thriller

The year is 2004, and Sean Drummond, a JAG attorney, is currently on loan to the CIA, specifically, the Office of Special Projects. As the story begins, however, he’s introducing himself as FBI at a murder scene. The scene is the apartment of one Clifford Daniels, a high-ranking civilian on staff with the Secretary of Defense. Daniels apparently died from a gunshot wound to the head. The question, aside from concerns about the rather unusual condition of the body, is whether the death is murder or suicide. Also on the scene is Bian Tran, a Major with the Military Police who reports to the Secretary of Defense. It’s clear that there’s a high level of concern over this death.

As the investigation progresses, it only becomes more complicated. Daniels functioned as a liaison between Defense and an Iraqi exile who advocated the overthrow of Hussein’s regime. As layer after layer is uncovered, it looks like the Iraqi may have been passing information to the Iranians. And it’s possible that Daniels may have been leaking information, too. The looming presidential election has a lot of people scrambling to cover a lot of butts, and it will take Drummond’s special blend of wit and intelligence to cut to the heart of things.

The author notes that it’s always difficult to write a book based on political realities of the moment, because those realities not only shift but also become divisive. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, however, this is a solid thriller backed by research and understanding. Drummond may be an acquired taste for some, but, for me, his dry wit makes him a great character. MAN IN THE MIDDLE is a deeper and more thought-provoking novel than previous novels. The author manages to juggle a large cast of characters, locations, and plot twists, fashioning a big, fast, roller coaster of a read.

Rating: 8
January 2007
ISBN# 0-446-53056-5 (hardcover)


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