The Firefly

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Overview

"At midnight, in a secret medical clinic in Washington, D.C., two foreign doctors and their team are completing plastic surgery on an anonymous client who is changing the appearance of his face, among other things. After the procedure, the client begins to stir - and suddenly the operating room erupts in violence, and the clinic is ablaze." "Washington police conduct an arson investigation, with inconclusive results. But one tantalizing fragment of evidence suggests that a terrorist bombing may be imminent. The presidential inauguration is ...
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The Firefly: A Novel

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Overview

"At midnight, in a secret medical clinic in Washington, D.C., two foreign doctors and their team are completing plastic surgery on an anonymous client who is changing the appearance of his face, among other things. After the procedure, the client begins to stir - and suddenly the operating room erupts in violence, and the clinic is ablaze." "Washington police conduct an arson investigation, with inconclusive results. But one tantalizing fragment of evidence suggests that a terrorist bombing may be imminent. The presidential inauguration is quickly approaching, and Washington's police, fire, intelligence, military, federal, and White House security teams are making frantic preparations. Because of the strain on manpower, retired Secret Service agent Swamp Morgan is recalled to active duty. His task: investigate the incineration of the medical clinic as a "firefly" - Washington-speak for something that looks like a threat but isn't." As Swamp begins what he thinks is a routine check-and-dismiss, the clinic's missing client begins preparations for his mission: to launch an attack on the American government - a decapitation strike intended to wipe out both the outgoing and incoming administrations. As the crucial day approaches, Swamp, the only agent to take the firefly seriously, must operate alone as the clock clicks down to a breathtaking finale.
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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Supported by a large cast of both male and female characters, the multi-layered story culminates in twists that come this close to being too much, but Deutermann pulls back just in time to leave the reader surprised and satisfied. — Katy Munger
Publishers Weekly
Trust Deutermann (Darkside, etc.), veteran thriller writer and former longtime government employee, to produce what appears to be the first major action novel set inside the Department of Homeland Security. It's full of all the requisite paranoia, frustration and rivalry, and brings the acronym count to new highs. When Swamp (for "Swamp Thing") Morgan-a retired Secret Service agent sucked back into the latest crisis-asks why a top Secret Service man at the White House is so upset by Morgan's investigation into what appears to be a "firefly"-a short-lived, unimportant threat-female colleague Lucy VanMetre replies, "Because he sees OSI's decision to proceed with it as a direct criticism of PRU. This isn't about the firefly anymore. It's all about an infringement of PRU's charter within DHS." Readers able to get through passages like that without laughing will probably enjoy (and be able to follow) the twists and turns of this complicated, often lumpy story. Just days before the inauguration of a new president in 2004, Swamp, a huge man with a Neanderthal visage that hides a shrewd brain, is put in nominal charge of an investigation into a fire at a Washington, D.C., plastic surgery clinic where, at night, foreign visitors have been gradually altering their appearances. Is one of them planning an attack on the new president? Swamp thinks so, but he meets high-level resistance at every turn-especially from Lucy, a sleek, tough blonde who at one point threatens Swamp with a one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay, where 300 individuals from the Washington area are being held in "protective custody." On the day of the inauguration, a mortar strike on the Capitol is only the beginning of a multi-twist finale. Perhaps this isn't the easiest of reads, but nobody can accuse Deutermann of not being timely. (Dec. 10) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A crafty veteran returns with a deft thriller about a crafty veteran returning to thwart a fiendish terrorist plot. A spook-power shortage in Washington results in Secret Service Agent Swamp Morgan, of near-legendary status, being called out of retirement at the behest of the still-new Department of Homeland Security. He's dispatched to check out a probable "firefly": i.e., a situation with some worrisome aspects to it but that, after further scrutiny, is likely to prove empty of substantive threat. This time, a highly sophisticated plastic-surgery clinic-for the rich, famous, or just plain furtive-has gone up in flames, killing two doctors and two nurses in mid-operation. Unfortunate, even tragic, but an accident, right? Well, maybe, but, meantime, where's the patient, that mysteriously unidentified person whose appearance was being radically altered? Swamp doesn't have a good answer for that, which-as no one who knows him will be surprised to hear-triggers the ever-lurking bulldog in the man. As his investigation intensifies, more questions surface, and the answers remain either unforthcoming or spurious, almost as if something significant, perhaps something dangerous, were being carefully protected. By now Swamp is convinced that what looks and flickers like a firefly might, in fact, be a gathering firestorm. And yet it's hard to find anyone in the land of acronyms (read: homeland defense establishment) who'll share that view. In suspicious circumstances, a policeman is murdered. Was he getting too close? A nurse, one who could conceivably identify the missing patient, narrowly escapes a similar fate. Is all this coincidental? Or is there a clever, determined terrorist on the loose?What does the phrase "total decapitation" mean, and why can't Swamp Morgan get anyone to be as nervous about it as he is? Deutermann (Darkside, 2002, etc.) always makes his backgrounds impeccably authentic, but it's those three-dimensional people in peril who drive his tales.
From the Publisher
"A top-notch thriller from a top-notch writer. Firefly may be Deutermann's best novel to date - reminiscent of Day of the Jackal."-Nelson DeMille
Nelson DeMille
"A top-notch thriller from a top-notch writer. Firefly may be Deutermann's best novel to date - reminiscent of Day of the Jackal."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590861172
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.16 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

P. T. DEUTERMANN spent twenty-six years in military and government service before retiring to begin his writing career. He is the author of thirteen novels and lives with his wife in North Carolina.
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Customer Reviews

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( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2004

    INAAM (I need an acronym manual!)

    PT Deuterman has written some of my favorite books, Trainman, Hunting Season and Zero Option to name a few but this effort falls far short of the mark. The premise is exciting however the writing is less than stellar. The endless acronyms could be tolerable however combined with the cliche government bureaucrat lingo (not a page goes by without another lame pronouncement that sounds like a bad episode of Dragnet from the 60's)makes the whole presentation almost satirical. On top of that, the story line develops into a preposterous quagmire of totally unbelievable coincidences and manipulations. Not up to Deuterman's standards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 24, 2011

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    Posted February 12, 2011

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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