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By Diana Deverell

Avon, (July, 1999) Hardcover, 304 pages. $23.00
ISBN 0-380-97611-0

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick (12/99)

Timing is everything. I started to read NIGHT ON FIRE, the second work by former foreign service officer Diana Deverell, the night before Halloween. The night before Egypt Air flight 990 plunged into the sea.

Like Deverell's first novel 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING, NIGHT ON FIRE features Casey Collins, a U. S. foreign service officer who specializes in counter terrorism, specifically, the use of stolen missiles against civilian targets, like airliners.

In 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING, Collins unravels a sinister plot to simultaneously blow up a dozen planes. NIGHT ON FIRE finds her in Copenhagen on the trail of stolen Stinger missiles when she's summoned back to the U. S. to investigate a very suspicious plane crash in New England. She is waylaid by Danish police on her way to the airport because the body of a Danish version of a Hell's Angel was found in her apartment.

After a wild ride through Denmark and England the pieces of a very nasty puzzle fall into place but not before everyone Casey loves becomes involved in a series of events that is just fantastic enough to be true.

The action sequences are breathtaking, yet plausible. The women in this story including the, by American standards, bizarre-looking pregnant Danish cop, are trained to use lethal force and don't hesitate to kill when necessary. Unlike a lot of male action writers whose characters are so focused they seem never to need a bathroom, Deverell's characters are real. The stronger characters are women who juggle dangerous jobs while worrying about children, parents, and lovers.

Deverell's writing is evocative of everything that Casey experiences. We smell the flowers, feel the rain, taste Danish food, and appreciate the well-formed behind of a Danish SEAL-equivalent.

While the flight 990 investigators looked for answers, the threads in NIGHT ON FIRE came together in a satisfying and believable way. The only question I had left was when will the next Casey Collins adventure be in the bookstores?

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