Inner Look was released in the first week of March 2017 by Penmore Press. It’s a great read – I’m prejudiced – but it has one of the hairiest flying sequences I have ever written. It is, by the way, my fifth novel.
Imagine trying to land on an aircraft carrier when you know that either of both engines are about shut down due to a lack of fuel and you don’t have control of the tail rotor. And, rather than land in the normal fashion by approaching the ship from the stern and landing on the angled deck, Josh Haman has to do what is known as a “down the throat” approach.
In other words, the carrier is coming towards him as he approaches the ship. In this passage, the Ranger is speeding towards the helicopter at thirty plus knots to help minimize the distance that the helicopter, now with enough fuel for only a few more seconds, has to cover. So now, the runway is moving towards you, rather than away from you. The whole relative motion scenario is turned upside down. The pilot’s sight picture is a lot different and when one crosses the forward edge of the angled deck a.k.a. the runway, if you are not careful, you’ll fly right down the angle and be back over the water in a matter of seconds.
I’ve flown down the throat approaches many times, but never when the ship is moving towards me at thirty knots or when I have lost control of the tail rotor or when I am about to run out of fuel. Low state yes, almost out of fuel, no. Needless to say, down the throat approaches are not standard operating procedures unless the carrier is moving slowly through the water.
The inspiration for the plot of Inner Look came from the answer to one simple question. After the traitors John Walker and Jerry Whitworth were arrested, were there any more in the Navy?
The reason that I dwell on the damage done to the United States by these two men that during World War II, the U.K. and the U.S. were able to read encrypted German message traffic transmitted by radio almost as fast as they received it. It gave the Allies a huge strategic and tactical advantage. The program was code name Ultra. Experts believed that Ultra shortened the war in Europe by several years and certainly reduced our casualty rates.
Our victory at Midway was enabled because our code breakers figured out what the Japanese were about to do and ambushed them. A little luck and tactical surprise coupled with Japanese indecision and mistakes driven by their carrier operating doctrine led to a lopsided victory that changed the course of the war in the Pacific.
Walker began giving the Soviets the keys to our codes in 1968 and ended in 1985 when both he and Jerry Whitworth were arrested. From them, the Soviets were able to read our message traffic. No one from the intelligence community will publicly acknowledge how we were affected. However, I suspect that had we gone to war with the Soviet Union between 1968 and 1985, we would have had a hard time. We would have been in the same situation that the Germans and Japanese were in. And, that is not a pretty picture.
So please read Inner Look, write reviews and let me know what you think.
Marc Liebman
April 2017