The Dean Ing series of Raw Feeds continues.
This novel is part of a series of aviation related technothrillers did drawing on his flight and engineering experience.
Raw Feed (1994): The Nemesis Mission, Dean Ing, 1991.
An enjoyable suspense novel which proves Ing can write good technothrillers as well as sf.
I liked the tech of the Nemesis plane: a high altitude, ultralight, partially solarpowered (I liked that the propeller serves as an inductor charger for the batteries) designed to stay aloft for days.
I thought the best thing about the book was Ing’s surprising plotting. I fully expected turncoat Simon Torres plan to betray his Medellin drug cartel masters by flying the plane to an alternate location to succeed, and the DEA ringers on board to be surprised by this and needing rescue by the Nemesis team of Wes Hardin and Colleen Morrison. Instead, the DEA plan is sprung early but succeeds and Torres is put on the run. The Medellin airstrip is bombed with the ringer plane, and a war between the Mexican government and the Marxist guerilla-Medellin cartel alliance begins. Much of the book deals with the attempt by Hardin and Morrison to repair their Nemesis plane in time to escape a group of guerillas closing in. While I saw the romance developing between Hardin and Morrison and normally hate such a plot development, I didn’t mind it this time – a tribute to Ing. I liked Morrison’s character who is trying to break into the fiction market in her spare time and who has a big chip on her shoulder for not being accepted for military flight service unlike her co-workers. I liked the plot and counterplot of Torres setting up his doublecross and the DEA-FBI-NSA scheme to intercept the cash flight and destroy the cartel’s airstrip. (Though it was obvious from the first that David Elath was the CIA contact in the cartel.)
I liked crotchety, clever, perfectionist aircraft designer Ben Ullmer. But the very best character was romantic archaeologist Harry Rex Brown, a would-be Indiana Jones, a smuggler of Mayan artifacts and a Mormon with the attendant silly ideas about Amerindian history. He seems a prudish fop, but, when leading a team of CIA operatives overland to rescue Hardin and Morrison, he proves his bush skills, his courage, and his leadership abilities. He not only gets to rescue a beautiful girl (Morrison) but finds a new archaeological site (which he intends to spruce up with some Stars of David). I also liked the bickering Cam and (who really knows how to work a system) Irvine who, despite the FBI’s best efforts, get aboard the cartel’s flight and get their hands (and keep) some of the cartel’s cash.