“Red Sky” by Chris Goff is a fast-paced thriller that has action and intrigue, sprinkled with some technology.
In this second installment of the series, the featured character, Raisa Jordan, a U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent, heads to Ukraine to investigate her father’s death. While there, she is side-tracked when People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes, killing everyone on board. Notably, among the 200 dead passengers and flight crew, is George McClasky, a veteran DSS agent who was escorting a Chinese-American prisoner, accused of treason, home from China.
She is assigned to investigate the cause of the crash, and quickly realizes that the downing was no accident. The technology used to down the plane was part of a top-secret weapon being developed by several countries, including the United States. The Russians successfully tested the “railgun” on the plane and intend to use it against others in an attempt to take over the Ukraine. Her investigation draws the attention of Nye Davis of Reuters news agency, who agrees to help her uncover who is behind the crash and what are their motives.
The author said he found DSS agents to “be cowboys. They are trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy (FLECT). A true story was told to me about one agent who went to a Sheik’s palace, banged on the door, and even though he and the two Marines he brought with him were extremely outnumbered, demanded that the person he sought after come with him. Another time, one decided to spy on terrorists in the middle of the night.”
Since settings play an important part in most thrillers, Goff traveled to the Ukraine, “I went there to get a feel for the setting with my youngest daughter who is a school teacher. As soon as we got off the plane someone asked if we want to go to the front lines? We could do it for $50 and the driver will have a gun, as well as a flak jacket and helmet for us. I said ‘ok,’ but my daughter put her foot down so we did not go. When in Kiev, at least half of the people are tied to Russia and are pro-Russian. Whereas, in Lviv, on the western side of the country, they identify with the Polish people. They would not acknowledge anyone who spoke Russian. They actually had in the markets Putin toilet paper.”
A very relevant book quote, “She viewed journalists like hyenas-offensive and sneaky predators feasting on the sensationalism of a moment…Too many times the real story was lost or ignored, usurped by moments taken out of context and distorted by the reporter’s own bias.” Today it would be called fake news. Since Raisa is a law enforcement agent she expresses the feeling of a lot of others who shy away from the media. They feel journalists always put them under a microscope and they never worry about who gets hurt in the process.
“Red Sky” is a very riveting and believable thriller. Goff allows readers to learn about an agency that gets very little recognition.