Missing Man: A Stunning Thriler of Murder and Betrayal at NASA

Overview

A gripping thriller of murder and betrayal at NASA. When a veteran astronaut dies mysteriously during a routine training flight, Mark Koskinen, the rookie astronaut who survives the crash, finds himself caught in a web of suspicion, intrigue, and deception.

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Missing Man: A Stunning Thriler of Murder and Betrayal at NASA

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Overview

A gripping thriller of murder and betrayal at NASA. When a veteran astronaut dies mysteriously during a routine training flight, Mark Koskinen, the rookie astronaut who survives the crash, finds himself caught in a web of suspicion, intrigue, and deception.

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Editorial Reviews

NASA Watch
At last, a realistic whodunit in space! From a technical standpoint, the author clearly knows the systems, the hardware, the acronyms, and how NASA's team actually uses them. He also protrays NASA internal and external politics dead on...[Missing Man shows] the NASA world as it really is: an agency of motivated and highly talented people beset with the pressure of being perfect day in and day out—and what they might do if something went very, very wrong.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As this exciting action thriller begins, Astronaut candidate Mark Koskinen manages to survive when a training aircraft crashes, killing chief NASA astronaut Joseph Buerhle, under what seem to Mark suspicious circumstances. Trying to complete his requirements as an astronaut-in-training while quietly investigating Buerhle's death, Mark becomes linked with the dead man's lover, astronaut Kelly Gessner, veteran of several shuttle missions. The plot gains momentum as Mark and Kelly set out on board the shuttle to capture a rogue astronaut. NASA is rarely used as background for thrillers; here the detailed description of training, equipment and maneuvers, plus the invocation of the ecstasy of sailing far above planet Earth, gives an invigorating twist to the suspenseful plot. Most impressive, however, is the poignant description of life as a second-generation hero. The original astronauts are old or dead, and the rest of the country is back to business as usual--only the few dedicated space-hunters like Mark can tolerate the politics and pain that must be endured in order to gain the opportunity to fly weightlessly in space. TV writer Cassutt (who coauthored Deke!, the memoir of astronaut Deke Slayton) delivers a winner for lovers of aerospace, action or suspense fiction. Editor, Beth Meacham; agent, Richard Curtis. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Absorbing, rather bitter debut thriller about NASA and a team of US astronauts going up in 1999 to join Russia's Mir space station team. The missing man of the title is Chief Astronaut Joe Buerhle, whoþs killed before the mission begins. Accompanying Buerhle in the T-38 trainer plane that he was flying when he died was astronaut Mark Koskinen, who was ejected when the usually calm Buerhle started hot-dogging over the ocean, lost an engine, was blinded by clouds, and came outþperhaps stupidly?þtrying to save the plane before it splashed down and sank. Unanswered questions about the crash haunt Mark and spread gradually to his fellow astronauts and the top staff at Houston. Meanwhile, Buerhle's ex-girlfriend, astronaut Kelly Gessner, discovers Joe's notes on his computerþnotes that point up either his paranoia or the fact that someone is trying to kill him. Then Mark's old girlfriend, Allyson, shows up to encourage and cook for him during his recovery from the crash, although he is still on schedule for the Mir mission. Later, Allyson is killed in a highway accident. The coronersþ reports on both her and Buerhle show cocaine in their blood, and the evidence slowly accumulates to suggest that both of these people were murdered when coke was injected into their food. As time passes, Mark and Kelly gather what further evidence they can, while their chief on the mission plays down their fears. Eventually, both realize that nothing they find will matter to NASA, which wonþt let anything interfere with the space docking and experiments on its own agenda. The climax is a one-gun shoot-'em-up in outer space, completely unlike anything you might expect.Cassutt's poker-faced plain style never busts the language envelope, but if it works for Tom Clancy, why not punch it out? Even so, it's not what we might hope for from a writer for TV's The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone revival, and the brainspinningly experimental Max Headroom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812577860
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cassutt is noted for his writing about the space program — not only articles in magazines such as Space World, but a massive biographical encyclopedia, Who's Who in Space. Cassutt is the author of two previous mystery thrillers set within the space program, Missing Man and Red Moon. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2000

    Fast-paced, engrossing book

    Anyone interested in mystery/amateur detective will enjoy this book. The author combines a highly readable, fast-paced mystery with an insider's knowledge of NASA to tell a fine story. My only (mild)disappointment was an ending that failed to deliver justice, but the way the author concluded certainly better reflects real life. I highly recommend it.

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