In the dream, Belle was always the same age as when she died...
Fourteen years ago, the final words Kennedy ever spoke to his sister were in anger. That day was September 11th 2001, and Belle died when her plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Since then, Kennedy has dedicated his life to airline security. He knows more about planes than the airport authority, a fact which doesn't go unnoticed by the CIA. After kidnapping him, Kennedy is inducted by the Agency into a programme called Red Carpet.
Now Kennedy is a civilian asset, an ordinary man working with extraordinary people to stop the world collapsing around him, just as it did for his sister so many years before.
This exhilarating standalone from Kuhn (Hostile Takeover and one other John Largo novel) boasts a clever terrorist plot and an appealing everyman protagonist. Kennedy, driven by grief over his sister's death on one of the planes hijacked on 9/11, has become an aviation security specialist, the best in the business. Consumed by work, he's jolted out of his doldrums by a chance reunion with his sister's childhood best friend, an indie musician now known as Love, and an offer to join Red Carpet, a CIA Clandestine Service operation investigating a suspected national attack from a mysterious global terrorist, Lentz. Kennedy and his team unwittingly put Lentz's plan in motion and must race to deactivate 25 suitcase nukes installed in airports nationwide, even as they cope with betrayal from within. Kuhn's gimmick of one-named characters quickly passes from affectation to annoyance, but the typical thriller tropes are rejuvenated by Kennedy's refreshing differences from the usual action hero, including his newcomer reactions to violence and unusual perspective on terrorism.