Grayson's Surrender


Taking Cover

Wedding at White Sands

Code of Honor by Catherine Mann
(HQN, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-77049-9
Joe Greco and Cooper Scott had been best friends since early childhood. Joe had been adopted after his family had been killed in the Serb-Croatian war. Cooper was the only child of a wealthy widow who had no love and no time for him. The roots of the conflict in this story are in their childhood relationship when they established their own private code of honor.

The prologue finds helicopter pilot Joe Greco ferrying Cooper and his Special Forces into an unknown area of Iraq for a special nighttime drop. On the way back to base he received a radio message indicating Cooper had walked into a deadly trap. Joe returned to try and help, only to fail and to be shot himself.

Also on that helicopter was Brigid Wheeler, photojournalist and Cooperís lover. From Cooperís burial at Arlington until the present, Joe and Brigid have been best friends. However, Joe has been in love with her the whole time he has known her.

The novel opens on Brigidís 30th birthday when she decides she wants to elevate their best friend status to bed partners. Joe is late for her dinner that night, and as usual it was work related. He and his crew had been assigned to ferry the USís old helicopters (specifically the type he had been flying when he failed to rescue Cooper) to a small South American country to help them combat drug trafficking. They will also be there to demonstrate the abilities of the new US copters.

The unit wants good press and asks Joe to lure Brigid back to photojournalism. She had become a commercial photographer after Cooperís death. When Joe admits to her that his prime objective is to find and destroy that cell that killed Cooper, which has been discovered to be present in the country, she agrees to go. Many discoveries await Joe and Brigid in South America.

Code of Honor actually contains two love stories set within a framework of a suspense story. The many characters are very well drawn, and the interaction between them is credible and sometimes fun.

Code of Honor has a great emphasis on the characters, so there is not much of a sense of setting other than use as a backdrop, but there is a real sense of place when the helicopters are airborne. Clearly the author knows what she is doing in a cockpit, bringing a rare feeling of reality to those scenes.

Catherine Mann is an excellent writer and each of her stories on the military adds just another dimension to her expanding repertoire.

--Thea Davis

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