Wraith by James R. Hannibal
The book begins just before the 9/11 tragedy. The American Air Force is running training missions in Saudi Arabia and Missouri and other locations around the globe. As news of the towers tragedy spreads, everyone pauses, trying to process the informaiton. But when the European squadrons are left out, Michael "Victor" Baron is frustrated in Germany feeling like his hands are tied. He has been denied to fly the B-2 Stealth. Not only is he not in America or in Iraq where the action is, but as an expert in Islamic Terrorism, he desperately wants to apply his knowledge and avenge the lost, innocent lives. However, he struggles with his deep respect for life and wonders where the fine line exists between avenging those lives and just wanting to flat out kill the terrorists he had studied so long.
But as the military life goes, Victor doesn't stay in Germany. After a training mission takes an unexpected turn, he is transferred to Missouri. Though he now realizes his dream to train with the B-2s, the opportunity is overshadowed by the accident and feeling like he is still benched from the war.
The war continues and airmen are called in from Missouri, Arizona, Louisiana, and Washington D.C. Victor answers the call to fight and to partake in a new top secret mission with brand new technoloby. While the test runs are mostly successful, the real mission encounters problem after problem that drops Victor in enemy territory staring down the enemy. Literally.
James R. Hannibal does a great job of creating memorable characters, building suspense, transitioning from different points of view and describing Air Force terminology in a way the average civilian can understand. I was only lost on a couple of flight maneuvers, but not for long. The hand-to-hand combat scenes gave me chills. This is an action-packed Air Force thriller that makes you wonder where the line is between reality and science-fiction. Though Wratih is set around the 9/11 tragedy, the focus in on the aftermath and the action the U.S. takes against the terrorists. With the different points of view, Hannibal shows the reader not only how different people reacted to the tragedy, but also how the Air Force works together as a team.
This is the first book I've read by Jim Hannibal. I loved it! I will definitely be following this author and reading more of his work.