Once it was a swamp. Now Foggy Bottom is swimming with real-estate sharks. When a man is found stabbed to death in this trendy D.C. neighborhood, it is major news. But within forty-eight hours the nation is gripped by a fear that leaves this comparatively small crime in the dark.
Three passenger planes are shot out of the sky. Everywhere–in law enforcement, in the media, and in the most secret realms of government–men and women scramble to find out who shot hand-held missiles at the planes, and why. It is a search that reaches from Moscow to the Pacific Northwest, putting some people’s lives in jeopardy and turning others lives inside out. But no one can guess the truth: that the epicenter of the terrorist outbreak is Washington D.C. . . . and a dead man behind a park bench in a place called Foggy Bottom.
The 17th entry in Truman's Capital Crimes series begins with the discovery of a well-dressed male corpse in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C. Washington Post reporter Joe Potamos is one of the first on the scene, determined to get the scoop on the dead man's identity. Two days later, three small commercial airliners plunge from the sky (in New York, Idaho and California), killing 78 people. Witnesses claim they saw missiles strike two of the planes. CIA agent Max Pauling, part of a government counterterrorist task force, gets on the case at the State Department, while in Washington State, FBI agents interview Zachary Jasper, head of a white supremacist group, as a possible suspect in the missile attacks. As the scene shifts from CIA headquarters to Russia to a Waco-like standoff with Jasper's group, all three investigations come together in a race to avert a fourth air disaster. Lacking a single main character, the novel offers a strong ensemble cast, all connected in some way to each other and the unfolding tragedies. Joe's girlfriend, professional pianist Roseann, unwittingly makes helpful contacts at her Washington gigs, while Max's flame, Jessica, has an ex-husband who'd been undercover in the white supremacist movement. The action moves at breakneck speed toward a chilling finale. More than simply an entertaining blend of mystery and espionage, this first-rate tale raises some important questions about how the U.S. government copes with terrorism.