Killer Nashville Book of the Day
Pegasus Down by Philip Donlay
Reviewed by G. Robert Frazier
Before you crack open Pegasus Down (Oceanview Publishing), the new novel by Philip Donlay, you better buckle up: You’re in for a hell of a ride. This action-thriller soars from start to finish with page-a-minute suspense and thrills to keep you riveted to your seat, just like an on-screen summer blockbuster.
Donlay drops readers, and one of his main characters, right into the fray in his opening chapter as a CIA-operated Learjet crashes behind enemy lines somewhere in Eastern Europe. On board are Special Agent Lauren McKenna, code name “Pegasus”, and a recently liberated American scientist who possesses technological plans for a new stealth jet capable of delivering a nuclear device. McKenna manages to swim free of the wreckage, and must immediately go on the run from foreign forces and a terrorist group that will stop at nothing to obtain the technology.
Half a world away, the CIA is reluctant to expose its presence and risk a political backlash between countries, but they don’t mind letting McKenna’s husband, billionaire Donovan Nash, in on events. Nash swiftly calls in a few favors and assembles a crack team of operatives to join him on a clandestine rescue operation. Once in Europe, he cashes in another chip to enlist the help of an old friend who would rather see him dead.
It’s clear from the outset that Donlay’s characters are no pushovers. Each is highly skilled, highly trained, and committed to the task at hand. Lauren in particular is no damsel in distress, and can hold her own in a fight, but the question quickly becomes one of how long she can outlast the hordes of troops searching for her.
The roller-coaster action reaches a thrilling aerial climax as the team pursues one of the scientist’s stealth jets before it can drop its payload on Russia and spark a world war. Donlay’s firsthand knowledge in the pilot’s seat—he learned to fly at age seventeen and has logged over six million miles since then—is evident as he details the aerial maneuvers in an easily relatable way for readers. He’s an accomplished writer, too, with five other critically acclaimed Donovan Nash books already under his belt.
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