Marine One, by James W. Huston

Five stars

Huston offers readers an explosive legal drama with strong political undertones that keeps its pace to the final sentence. When the President of the United States insists on heading to Camp David in the middle of a hail storm, his Secret Service detail have strong reservations. Once POTUS demands that it be done in Marine One, his private helicopter, levels of concern escalate. Who could be waiting at Camp David that is so important? While travelling to the Maryland countryside in the storm, Marine One falls from the sky in a fiery crash and kills everyone on board. With the leader of the Free World dead, all eyes (and fingers) turn on WorldCopter, the company responsible for building Marine One. The company is bombarded with bad press and numerous federal investigations, leaving them highly vulnerable. The company’s insurance company hires Michael Nolan, a civil lawyer with a past as a Marine chopper pilot. As Nolan tries to sift through the wreckage, both literal and legal, he works to determine what went wrong and whether it was a malfunction or an act of terrorism. Pitted against a highly successful class-action lawyer who represents the widows of the crash, including for former First Lady, Nolan and his team work tirelessly to learn all they can about WorldCopter’s product and the intricacies of its assembly. As Huston weaves this tale, he injects powerful courtroom scenes and legal negotiating that keeps the reader hooked until the bitter end. What happened during the storm and who was expecting the President so urgently? Huston is a master storyteller and keeps the reader guessing.

I have not read so powerful a legal piece that keeps the action flowing non-stop for a long time. The political undertones also propel the book to new heights while the intricate knowledge of helicopters and Marine One is without match. The reader can follow the plight of Mike Nolan as he fights insurmountable odds to defend his case and seeks a needle in a haystack to salvage what little reputation WorldCopter has left. Huston’s succinct dialogue keeps the story moving effectively and courtroom scenes keeps the reader feeling as though they are in the middle of the action. With twists and turns at every juncture, Huston offers up a dazzling piece of fiction that remains so plausible that it could happen at any time.

Kudos, Mr. Huston for this wonderful piece. I was with you the entire journey and barely took time to breathe along the way.