"A must-read thriller writer...a star."
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Attorney Sean Drummond thinks his new job has put him on easy street. Think again, Sean.
Fed up with his trouble-magnet tactics, the Pentagon "loans out" attorney Sean Drummond to a white-shoe D.C. law firm. Drummond makes the best of his corner-office exile-until his predecessor there is brutally murdered. Realizing he must take matters into his own hands, Drummond leads the hunt for a vicious serial murderer and handles the firm's biggest client, a telecom giant with a shadowy agenda. Are the two connected? As the body count rises, Drummond vows to get answers-and trample any stuffed-shirt who gets in his way. Even when it looks like D.C.'s newest lawyer will become its latest crime statistic.
Haig's wisecracking J.A.G. attorney Sean Drummond returns for his fourth caper in three years (after January 2003's The Kingmaker). Unpopular with his military superiors because of his sharp tongue and his tendency to attract trouble, Major Drummond finds himself loaned out to a private law firm. Culper, Hutch, and Westin represents some of the District of Columbia's most staid, old-line institutions, and Drummond begins ruffling feathers from the moment he arrives, though he does prove surprisingly popular with some clients. Meanwhile, a serial killer is taking out attractive young professional women. The first victim is Lisa Morrow, Drummond's sidekick in Haig's debut thriller, Secret Sanction, and also a military lawyer working for Culper, Hutch, and Westin. In fact, Lisa's on her way to meet Drummond when she's murdered. Chapters from the obsessive killer's dark perspective alternate with Drummond's cheeky first-person narration. Not happy with police progress on the case, Lisa's sister Janet, also a lawyer and a dark-haired beauty, steps forward to help Drummond investigate, even as victims pile up. Both Janet and Drummond prove to be entertaining thorns in the side of crusty police detective Spinelli, the officer in charge of the murder investigation. Haig introduces related subplots featuring corporate greed and criminality, but they don't have the visceral chills or the sexiness of the serial killer story line. In the end, it's all about Drummond; though the novel is overlong, the hero's sharp and devilish style should keep reader interest high until the surprising conclusion.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . The Private Sector
Posted June 22, 2008 by scarlett , MysteryThis is my first Brian Haig book. It is a typical mystery with serial killers, international money laundering, a law firm after Grisham's own heart and the obligatory love story. The only thing missing from this book is a cliche editor. I will read another of Haig's books when I'm in the mood for another mindless reading experience.
Grand Central Publishing
July 31, 2004
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Excerpt from Private Sector by Brian Haig
"I BELIEVE YOU CALLED ME," I INFORMED THE VERY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG LADY seated at the desk.
She appeared not to have heard me.
"Excuse me, Miss. Major Sean Drummond . . . the phone, you called, right?"
She replied, sounding annoyed, "Yes. I was ordered to."
"I'm not. You're not worth getting mad about."
"I honestly meant to call you."
"I'm glad you didn't."
"Yes. I was tired of you anyway."
She stared into her computer screen. And indeed, she was mad. It occurred to me that dating the boss's secretary might not have been a good idea. But she was quite good-looking, as I mentioned, with smoldering dark eyes, bewitching lips, and, I recalled, beneath that desk, a pair of splendid legs. Actually, why hadn't I called her?
I leaned across her desk. "Linda, I had a wonderful time."
"Of course you did. I didn't."
"I'm truly sorry it didn't work out."
"Good. I'm not."
I searched my mind for an appropriate sentiment and finally said, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
"What?" She finally looked up.
"The Great Gatsby . . . the final line."
"Fuck off--that's Jackie Collins, if you're interested." She added, icily, "And take your hands off my desk. I just polished it."
Goodness. Now I recalled why I never called her after that first date. Actually, I never called her before the first date--she called me. But I learned long ago that what matters is not who starts it but who ends it.
I straightened up and asked, "So, why does the old man want to see me?"
"I'd rather ask you."
"All right. Ask more nicely."
"Fine. Please, Linda ...why am I here?"
"I'm not at liberty to tell you." She smiled.
Well, what more was there to say? She was being petty and unreasonable.
I backed away, far enough that she couldn't staple my hand to my crotch or something. That smile, however, bothered me. "Absit omen," I mumbled-- May it not be an omen.
I suspected it was, however. So I spent a moment thinking about that. It occurred to me that nearly two months had passed since my last session with the boss. These are never pleasant meetings. In fact, they are never intended to be. The boss and I have a relationship that might be described as messy, and he has developed this really weird opinion that if he rides my butt hard enough, and often enough, it will fix itself. He calls them preemptive sessions. I call them a waste of time. They have not worked in the past, and we all know that persistent failure is not fertile ground for future success. But he stays at it. This must be what it's like to be married.
"I'll just wait here till he's ready," I informed Linda. It fit, I decided--General Clapper would toast my ears a little, and nosy, vindictive Linda would press her ear to the door and indulge in her vicarious retribution. I'd tune him out, as I always do, and I'd assure him at the end, also as I always do, that he'd made some very constructive points and had seen his last trouble from Sean Drummond.
No big deal. Right?
Wrong--ahead lay murder, scandal, and deeds so odious and foul they would turn my life, and this entire city, upside down. In fact, while I cooled my heels in this office, the murderer was already plotting the first of what would become many kills. And those who would become kills were going about their lives, unaware they were in the crosshairs of a monster.
But I don't think Linda foresaw that. I don't think she even wished it.
Incidentally, I don't work in the Pentagon, where this particular office was, and still is, located. I hang my hat in a small red-brick building inside a military base in Falls Church, Virginia, a tiny place with high fences, lots of guards, no signs, and no confusing room numbers. But if you're into confusing room numbers, Clapper's office is designated 2E535--2 connoting the second floor, E signifying the outer and most prestigious ring, and 535 indicating the same side of the building that got clobbered by Osama's boys. In the old days of the cold war, the courtyard in the middle of the Pentagon was called Ground Zero, the innermost A-Ring was Suicide Alley, and the outermost E-Ring was the place to be. But it's a new world and things change.
"He's ready for you now," announced Linda, again smiling.
I glanced at my watch: 1700 hours, or 5:00 P.M., the end of the official duty day, a warm early December evening to be precise. I love this season. I mean, between Thanksgiving and Christmas nobody in Washington even pretends they're working. How good is that? In fact, the last case in my in-box had just danced over to my out-box, and it was my turn.
Anyway, I stepped into Clapper's office, and he seemed so delighted to see me he even said, "Sean . . . I'm so delighted to see you." He waved at a pair of plush leather chairs and asked, "Well, my old friend, how are things?"