Patrick A. Davis has extensive experience in the Air Force, having planned U-2 operations for Desert Storm. Deception Plan is his fifth published work; all use the military as a backdrop for mystery and intrigue. His main character in this story is an officer once affiliated with the U-2 squadron, Colonel Ed Coffin. Coffin is ordered to investigate a crash of the secret U-2 spy plane and the subsequent death of itspilot. Paralleling this mystery is a personal story of Coffin’s, which we receive in bits and pieces throughout the work. Coffin also runs into an old flame and obvious sparks begin to fly.
Set in South Korea, the story bounces back and forth between Coffin’s personal story, the mysterious crash of the plane, his old flame, and the political and social situation in South Korea. Coffin has a personal investment in the setting as his mother was Korean, although he remembers little about her. He was adopted at a young age and taken to America.
The storyline is a bit fragmented. The author gives us sneak peeks at the history of the characters involved, such as Coffin’s memories of his early childhood . Unfortunately, while the peeks promise much, little is delivered. The action sequences are fast-paced and enjoyable, yet the personal aspect is seriously lacking in this story. The dialogue during the soft moments is shallow and empty. Not every story needs to wallow in emotion, but the manner in which Davis unfolds his characters leads the reader to believe this particular story has emotional depth. It doesn’t.
The technical side of the novel is well-written, never overwhelming with too many details. While not familiar with either the U-2 or the political situation in Korea, I still enjoyed reading and learning about both. Davis captures the cultural differences perfectly, encapsulating his characters well. I just wish he had fleshed out his softer scenes, giving the dialogue more depth.