The new, revised story of Checkmate, is the first in The White House National Security Series, and features young scientist, Dr. Cameron Talbot who invents a breakthrough technology to defend against cruise missiles. She needs support from skeptical company officers, funding from a reluctant Congress, and help from Lt. Col. Hunt Daniels, detailed to The White House NSC. With disaster brewing overseas, threats to New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, and to Cameron herself, she and Hunt find themselves enmeshed in terrorist plots and political wrangling at the highest levels.
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The White House—Monday Early Morning
“A cruise missile attack? Good God!”
“Exactly right, Mr. President. At least it was armed with a conventional warhead.” The National Intelligence Director pulled a satellite photo from his leather folder and handed it across the Situation Room conference table to his Chief Executive. “You can see the damage. An entire army base destroyed. Hundreds may have been killed. We’re still getting casualty figures from the Indian government.”
“Where is this base?” the President asked as he studied the high-resolution photo.
“On the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Not too far from the epicenter of that big earthquake. As if those people didn’t have enough problems,” the Director added.
“Did the Paks do it? I can’t believe they’d be that stupid. They know India will retaliate. And with both sides having nuclear weapons . . . this could make earthquake havoc look like second-grade recess.”
The usually unflappable National Security Advisor, Austin Gage, weighed in. “The Pakistanis are going ballistic over this. I’ve already had a plea from their Ambassador asking us to set up a call between you and their President. They’re denying everything. They say that after fighting three wars with India, they’re in no position to start anything. Besides, you know they’ve been trying to tamp things down for months. They’ve restored bus service across Kashmir—”
“Then again, those damn militants keep blowing up the buses,” the Intelligence Chief interrupted.
“Then where in the hell did that missile come from?” the President asked.
Austin shook his head. “That’s what we’re trying to find out.”
“Well, get about it then. It’s one thing to have a bunch of Islamic militants staging attacks on villagers. Hell, they’ve been doing that for years. But a cruise missile attack? That takes brains, experience. They’re computer guided. You don’t just have some deranged terrorist picking one up and figuring out how to program and launch the damn thing.”
“We know, Mr. President. We’ve got our best people on it,” the Intelligence Director said.
“About the press, sir,” the Chief of Staff said. “They’re already clamoring for details.”
The President glanced down at the photo again. “The press? Amazing that they even know where Kashmir is. Most of them probably think it’s where they make sweaters.”
Austin shrugged. “You’ve got a point there. We should have more by the noon briefing. I suggest we try to hold down the hysterics if we can.” The President nodded. “Now about that phone call for the President of Pakistan?”
“Set it up,” the President ordered. “But first get me some talking points on possible suspects and how they could have gotten their hands on a sophisticated missile system.”
“We’re on it, sir.”
The President stood up, effectively ending the meeting.
The three men gathered their notes and headed for the door of the basement conference room. As they filed out, each one uttered the same phrase, “Thank you, Mr. President.”
“I want you to find the bastards who launched that missile,” the President called after the trio. “And figure out if they’ve got any more of them.”
Copyright © 2007 by Karna Small Bodman. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
At Bandaq Technologies, Cameron 'Cammy' Talbot leads a team of brilliant technocrats in developing the ultimate missile defense program. She and her crew ignore the Star Wars initiative of shooting the projectile out of the sky. Instead they concentrate on a program that takes control of an incoming missile¿s guidance system in order to reverse it hitting the initiator. Due to unsavory lobbying her program is in jeopardy as Congress considers moving funding to a rival firm supporting the Star Wars initiative. Still as Cammy and cohorts make major progress, Muslims steal three Pakistani cruise missiles, firing one at India. This terrorist group intends to take over Kashmir as they expect India to reciprocate leading to an all out war with nukes between India and Pakistan. --- Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Hunt Daniels meets Cammy when someone tries to kill her. They each feel a strong attraction to one another while someone wants her new technology stopped before completion with her dead before it can be used to prevent a deadly nuclear war. --- The premise of this tale is superb, but Karna Small Bodman is unable to decide between a romantic suspense and a nuclear countdown thriller the reader gets some of both, but the sum of the parts does not quite make a cohesive whole. Still the story line is fun to follow as Cammy races against time to prove her concept works even as she ponders whether Hunt is the hunk who makes her feel complete. Congress seems realistic as money speaks in spite of the cost to the world. Overall this is a fine novel that will please fans of final countdowns to pending disaster with a romantic subplot weaved into the last digits. --- Harriet Klausner
This book by Bodman was one that I had a little trouble reading. I finished it and enjoyed it but the plot and storyline got a little sidetracked for me by the government speak and military speak. I know, I know it was a story which involved the government and military,but sometimes for me anyway, they seemed to get in the way of the plot. Good characters, good plot, the good wins over evil in the end. A good read. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Very good book. A recommended read for all those who enjoy mystery/thriller type books.
I was little skeptical at first, but I saw that Vince Flynn gave it a thumbs up and that was good enough for me to give it a shot. I quit reading Robert Ludlum's 'Bancroft Strategy' to read your book...What does that tell you? Great job! I will be looking for your next book. I liked the technology you used also, but try and use or make up more combatant technology next time like the robots in Dale Brown's books. I look forward to your next book and I hope to see it soon.