Chain of Command
Ronald Reagan’s former defense secretary kicks off his debut thriller Chain of Command with a bang. Several bangs, actually, into the body of the president of the U.S., who’s assassinated at Camp David, apparently by a domestic terrorist using the Beretta 9mm of Secret Service agent Michael Delaney. Our blameless hero then goes on the lam, hoping to clear his name and undo a vast right-wing conspiracy. Caspar Weinberger’s probably read more position papers than thrillers; any devotee of the latter will guess the culprit’s identity by chapter 3. Still, the authors — Weinberger and Peter Schweizer — inject a kicky verisimilitude into early passages about the workings of the executive branch — until the logical shortcuts and genre clichés pile up higher than the Washington Monument.