Private Sector

( 35 )

Overview

In Sean Drummond's fourth outing, the wisecracking, bull-in-a-china-shop JAG lawyer gets loaned out to a white-shoe law firm whose #1 client, a telecom giant, may be vacuuming up intelligence for a foreign power.

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Private Sector

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Overview

In Sean Drummond's fourth outing, the wisecracking, bull-in-a-china-shop JAG lawyer gets loaned out to a white-shoe law firm whose #1 client, a telecom giant, may be vacuuming up intelligence for a foreign power.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haig's wisecracking J.A.G. attorney Sean Drummond returns for his fourth caper in three years (after January 2003's The Kingmaker). Unpopular with his military superiors because of his sharp tongue and his tendency to attract trouble, Major Drummond finds himself loaned out to a private law firm. Culper, Hutch, and Westin represents some of the District of Columbia's most staid, old-line institutions, and Drummond begins ruffling feathers from the moment he arrives, though he does prove surprisingly popular with some clients. Meanwhile, a serial killer is taking out attractive young professional women. The first victim is Lisa Morrow, Drummond's sidekick in Haig's debut thriller, Secret Sanction, and also a military lawyer working for Culper, Hutch, and Westin. In fact, Lisa's on her way to meet Drummond when she's murdered. Chapters from the obsessive killer's dark perspective alternate with Drummond's cheeky first-person narration. Not happy with police progress on the case, Lisa's sister Janet, also a lawyer and a dark-haired beauty, steps forward to help Drummond investigate, even as victims pile up. Both Janet and Drummond prove to be entertaining thorns in the side of crusty police detective Spinelli, the officer in charge of the murder investigation. Haig introduces related subplots featuring corporate greed and criminality, but they don't have the visceral chills or the sexiness of the serial killer story line. In the end, it's all about Drummond; though the novel is overlong, the hero's sharp and devilish style should keep reader interest high until the surprising conclusion. (Sept. 23) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Army attorney Maj. Sean Drummond is back, and, if his many readers thought he was an irreverent misfit in uniform before, they haven't seen anything yet. This time, Drummond is loaned by the army to a prestigious DC law firm, where he causes more than the usual amount of trouble. His sardonic attitude makes him as unpopular in the private sector as he was in the army. A serial murderer has killed a female army lawyer, and the law firm is up to its eyeballs in shady deals. Drummond is in danger from many directions. Along with the murders, there are graft, corruption, assassinations, and national security problems. Through it all, Drummond keeps his sense of humor and honor and even manages to find a little potential romance. Like its predecessors, Haig's fourth Sean Drummond novel is enormously exciting, timely, and entertaining. Recommended for all fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/03.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a fourth outing, JAG's superlawyer Major Sean Drummond (The Kingmaker, 2003, etc.) gets packed off to a Washington, DC, blue-ribbon, civvie law firm. Drummond isn't pleased with the posting. And, heaven knows, the expensive talent at Culper, Hutch, and Westin isn't the least bit happy with Drummond's abrasive, know-it-all style. Still, just because he's a lawyer-fish out of water doesn't mean he won't out-think, out-hustle, and certainly out-talk all those thousand-dollar suits either singly or en masse. For starters, take a Pentagon project called WWIP (Working With Industry Program), in line with which JAG attorneys are detached for a year to learn how the other half plies its Blackstone. As it happens, however, the learning experience is totally C, H, and W's-Major Drummond being the born razzle-dazzler that he is. Meanwhile, a cruel and cunning sociopath is settling down to some serious serial killing. JAG Captain Lisa Morrow-the previous exchange student at C, H, and W, and Drummond's good friend-is brutally murdered: neck snapped by hands both powerful and well-trained. She's the first of many unfortunate ladies linked by beauty and brains, plus one additional connector kept hidden for a time. Drummond, now released from the restraints of corporate law, takes on the whodunit challenge and won't rest until the killer is tracked down and confronted: a one-on-one deal that turns out more ludicrous than chilling ("We both chuckled, a couple of adolescents trading dopey insults and playground threats"). International terrorism, chicanery in the corridors of power, inept FBI agents, and sinister CIA operatives provide further complications for the ultraresourceful major before he canshoo off the suits and find, again, his peace and happiness among the uniforms. Drummond once showed dimension and nuance. Now he goes all smart-mouthed, shallow-and wearisome. Agent: Luke Janklow/Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446613934
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Series: Sean Drummond Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 232,158
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

BRIAN HAIG is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels featuring JAG attorney Sean Drummond. A former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he has also been published in journals ranging from the New York Times to USA Today to Details. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children. For more information on the author you can visit his website at www.brianhaig.com.

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Read an Excerpt



Private Sector




By Brian Haig


Time Warner



Copyright © 2003

Brian Haig
All right reserved.



ISBN: 0-446-53178-2






Chapter One


"I BELIEVE YOU CALLED ME," I INFORMED THE VERY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG LADY
seated at the desk.

She appeared not to have heard me.

"Excuse me, Miss. Major Sean Drummond ... the phone, you called,
right?"

She replied, sounding annoyed, "Yes. I was ordered to."

"You're angry."

"I'm not. You're not worth getting mad about."

"I honestly meant to call you."

"I'm glad you didn't."

"Really?"

"Yes. I was tired of you anyway."

She stared into her computer screen. And indeed, she was mad. It
occurred to me that dating the boss's secretary might not have been
a good idea. But she was quite good-looking, as I mentioned, with
smoldering dark eyes, bewitching lips, and, I recalled, beneath that
desk, a pair of splendid legs. Actually, why hadn't I called her?

I leaned across her desk. "Linda, I had a wonderful time."

"Of course you did. I didn't."

"I'm truly sorry it didn't work out."

"Good. I'm not."

I searched my mind for an appropriate sentiment and finally said,
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly
into the past."

"What?" She finally looked up.

"The Great Gatsby ... the final line."

"Fuck off-that's Jackie Collins, if you're interested." She added,
icily, "And take your hands off my desk. I just polished it."

Goodness. Now I recalled why I never called her after that first
date. Actually, I never called her before the first date-she called
me. But I learned long ago that what matters is not who starts it
but who ends it.

I straightened up and asked, "So, why does the old man want to see
me?"

"Ask him."

"I'd rather ask you."

"All right. Ask more nicely."

"Fine. Please, Linda ... why am I here?"

"I'm not at liberty to tell you." She smiled.

Well, what more was there to say? She was being petty and
unreasonable.

I backed away, far enough that she couldn't staple my hand to my
crotch or something. That smile, however, bothered me. "Absit omen,"
I mumbled- May it not be an omen.

I suspected it was, however. So I spent a moment thinking about
that. It occurred to me that nearly two months had passed since my
last session with the boss. These are never pleasant meetings. In
fact, they are never intended to be. The boss and I have a
relationship that might be described as messy, and he has developed
this really weird opinion that if he rides my butt hard enough, and
often enough, it will fix itself. He calls them preemptive sessions.
I call them a waste of time. They have not worked in the past, and
we all know that persistent failure is not fertile ground for future
success. But he stays at it. This must be what it's like to be
married.

"I'll just wait here till he's ready," I informed Linda. It fit, I
decided-General Clapper would toast my ears a little, and nosy,
vindictive Linda would press her ear to the door and indulge in her
vicarious retribution. I'd tune him out, as I always do, and I'd
assure him at the end, also as I always do, that he'd made some very
constructive points and had seen his last trouble from Sean
Drummond.

No big deal. Right?

Wrong-ahead lay murder, scandal, and deeds so odious and foul they
would turn my life, and this entire city, upside down. In fact,
while I cooled my heels in this office, the murderer was already
plotting the first of what would become many kills. And those who
would become kills were going about their lives, unaware they were
in the crosshairs of a monster.

But I don't think Linda foresaw that. I don't think she even wished
it.

Incidentally, I don't work in the Pentagon, where this particular
office was, and still is, located. I hang my hat in a small
red-brick building inside a military base in Falls Church, Virginia,
a tiny place with high fences, lots of guards, no signs, and no
confusing room numbers. But if you're into confusing room numbers,
Clapper's office is designated 2E535-2 connoting the second floor, E
signifying the outer and most prestigious ring, and 535 indicating
the same side of the building that got clobbered by Osama's boys. In
the old days of the cold war, the courtyard in the middle of the
Pentagon was called Ground Zero, the innermost A-Ring was Suicide
Alley, and the outermost E-Ring was the place to be. But it's a new
world and things change.

"He's ready for you now," announced Linda, again smiling.

I glanced at my watch: 1700 hours, or 5:00 P.M., the end of the
official duty day, a warm early December evening to be precise. I
love this season. I mean, between Thanksgiving and Christmas nobody
in Washington even pretends they're working. How good is that? In
fact, the last case in my in-box had just danced over to my out-box,
and it was my turn.

Anyway, I stepped into Clapper's office, and he seemed so delighted
to see me he even said, "Sean ... I'm so delighted to see you." He
waved at a pair of plush leather chairs and asked, "Well, my old
friend, how are things?"

My old friend? "I'm fine, General. Thank you for asking."

"Well, good. You've been doing great work, and I'm very proud of
you." His ass relaxed into a stuffed chair, and it struck me I was
getting enough phony sunshine stuffed up my ass to be a health risk.
He asked, "That Albioni case, has it been wrapped up yet?"

"Yes. This morning, in fact. We reached a plea agreement."

For some reason, I had the annoying sense he knew this already.

By the way, I'm what the Army calls a Special Actions attorney. If
you want to know, I'm actually a defense counsel in a specialized
compartment of lawyers and judges. We're specialized because we
manage the legal issues of the Army's black operations, a menagerie
of people and units so spooky nobody's supposed to know they even
exist. It's all smoke and mirrors, and we're part of that circus.

In fact, my office supposedly doesn't exist, and neither do I, which
often makes me wonder why in the hell I get out of bed in the
morning. Just kidding. I love my job. Really. However, the
sensitivity and seriousness of our work means we work directly for
the Judge Advocate General, a line on Clapper's organizational chart
he bitterly regrets, as we, and particularly me, are a royal pain in
his ass.

So, what else? I'm 38 years old, single, have always been single,
and the way things were looking, the past was lining up to be a
prologue to the future. I regard myself as a fairly decent attorney,
a master of the military legal code, clever, resourceful, and all
that. My boss might object to any or all of those points, but what
does he know? In my business, it's the clients who count, and I
rarely get complaints.

But, back to my superficially perfect host. He inquired, "So tell
me, Sean, what punishment did Albioni take in exchange for his
guilty plea?"

"You know ... it was fair and just."

"Good. Now describe for me please your idea of fair and just."

"All right. Two years in Leavenworth, honorable discharge, full
benefits."

"I see." But he did not look happy.

The subject in question was Sergeant First Class Luigi Albioni, who
was part of a unit that collects intelligence on foreign targets and
who had been dispatched to Europe with an American Express card to
shadow the dictator of a country that must remain anonymous. If
you're curious, however, think of a large pisshole slowbaking
between Egypt and Tunisia, a place we once bombed after it sent a
terrorist to blow up a German disco filled with American GIs, and we
still aren't invited to each other's barbecues. Yet it seems the
dictator likes to don disguises on occasion and escape the stuffy
Muslim ways of his country to partake in the decadent ways of the
West, and Luigi's job was to skulk around and obtain photos of the
camel-jockey as he shot craps in Monaco and cavorted in Amsterdam's
brothels.

Exactly why our national leaders would want such disgusting pictures
is, you can be sure, a question I would like answered. But in this
business, don't ask. They usually won't answer. If they do, it's all
lies.

Anyway, a week after Luigi departed from JFK International, he-and a
hundred grand drawn on his charge card-disappeared into thin air,
whatever the hell that clich? means. Six months passed before Luigi
did something inexplicably stupid: He emailed an ex-wife. To inquire
if there was a bounty on his ass, she called the Army's Criminal
Investigation Division, who notified us; who swiftly arranged to
have that same ass collected from a well-known Swiss resort, which
accounts for when and how I came into the picture.

Actually, Luigi turned out to be a pretty good guy for a scumbag who
deserted his country. We bonded a little, and he confided that in
order to protect his cover he had tried his hand at blackjack, got
seriously carried away, lost ninety grand, then his luck turned and
he won nine hundred grand. It was a fingertap from God, Luigi was
sure-after seventeen years of loyal and courageous service, the time
had come to pack it in on his own terms.

But back to Clapper. He logically asked, "And what happened to the
money your client stole from the ... from our government?"

I pointed out, "You mean the hundred grand he borrowed? He always
intended to send a check with compounded interest. The rest were
winnings-his winnings."

"Drummond ... just don't." Well, it had worked with the prosecutor,
but that's another story.

"The remainder's being donated to the Old Soldier's Home."

"Is that so?" He raised his eyebrows and suggested, I think
skeptically, "A charitable gesture from a guilt-wrought man I take
it?"

"In his own words, the least he could do, you know ... considering
his crimes, his love for the Army, and-"

"And the ten-year reduction played no role? None whatsoever?"

Well, he obviously knew more about the case than he had let on. And
then he asked, "So what did we get for ten years of his life?"

"Seven hundred grand, give or take change. And be thankful-in the
private sector, half that would be sitting in my checking account
for services rendered."

"Yes, half would be about right." He chuckled and commented, "But
then you wouldn't have the grand satisfaction of serving your
country." This was an old joke that never goes down well, and he
then added, "Actually, it's ironic you should mention it."

But he did not elaborate on that cryptic thought. Instead he asked,
"Please remind me, Sean, how long have you been assigned to the
Special Actions unit?"

"Oh, let's see ... eight years, come next March."

"I think you mean since last September. Right? Four years
prosecuting and four defending. Right?"

I nodded. Yes, that would be exactly right.

But regarding me, I believe wholeheartedly in the eleventh
commandment: Thou shalt not fixeth that which is not brokeneth. The
Army, however, was created to wreck things that aren't broken, a
mindset that bleeds over into its personnel policies. Actually,
nobody in the Army believes there are personnel policies, just a
standing order that as soon as a soldier becomes acclimated to a
certain place, masters a certain job, or appears happy where they're
at, it's time to jerk their ass through some new knothole.

Professionally, I was very content where I was. Socially, I had
serious problems.

But Clapper was explaining, "JAG officers have to be well-rounded.
Contracts, negotiations, there's a whole world of law you've never
touched."

"Good point. You're right. Let's keep it that way."

"I ... I understand." He cleared his throat and continued, less
tolerantly, "I also understand you're up for promotion this year." I
nodded to acknowledge this fact before he added, "So, do I need to
remind you that promotion boards tend to choose officers with more
general knowledge and experience in the field of law?"

"Who cares?" Actually, I care. I'm as ambitious as the next guy, I
just want to succeed on my own terms.

This, however, was neither the appropriate nor desired response. He
got up, turned his back on me, and gazed out the window, across the
highway at Arlington National Cemetery. He obviously had something
up his sleeve, and I had the sense he was about to transfer it up my
ass. That aside, you have to ponder the logic that placed the
Pentagon and the cemetery next to each other-the living and dead,
past and present, lucky and unlucky-right there. The sight of those
endless rows of white stones tends not to promote those aspirations
and ambitions that beget hard work, long hours, and diligence. But
more sensibly, those markers do remind the powers who rule this
building of the price of stupid blunders, which perhaps was what the
designer intended.

I wondered if Clapper was staring across that road and pondering his
mortality. How foolish-he was apparently pondering mine.

He asked, over his shoulder, "Have you ever heard of the WWIP?"

"Sure. I had a friend who caught it once. Very rough. His dick fell
off."

He was not amused. "The full title is the Working With Industry
Program, Sean. It's where we put an officer in a civilian company
for a year. The officer learns what's new and state-of-the-art in
the private sector, then brings that knowledge back into the
military. It's a highly regarded program for our most promising
officers-good for the individual and good for the Army."

"It does sound like a great program. I'll even name ten guys who'd
love to do that." I then added, "But my name won't be on that list."

"In fact, yours is the only name on that list." He walked back in my
direction and ordered, "Report for duty at Culper, Hutch, and Westin
first thing in the morning. It's located here in D.C., and it's a
damned fine firm."

I said nothing.

He said, "Don't give me that look. It'll do you good. You've worked
a lot of hard cases, and you'll benefit from the break. Actually,
I'm envious."

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Private Sector
by Brian Haig
Copyright © 2003 by Brian Haig.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    Served under him in the Army

    Brian Haig was an exceptional officer. Having served under him at Ft. Carson Co. 20+ yrs ago I can attest that the author is a fair, honest, extremely funny guy. The finest officer I served under. Way to go Brian. Jim Hardesty HHC 1st. Bn 11th Inf. 4th Inf Div.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Great suspense

    Drummond is funny!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Sean Drummond, thinking man's Jack Reacher

    Glad I stumbled onto Brian Haig's Sean Drummond series. This character is so cool, a skeptical radar for BS, forever the smartass especially when the chips are down and the underdog's advocate. He's also smart as a whip but regarded as a rube by high flyers because he likes it right where he is as an attorney in the military righting wrongs. The high and mighty looking down their noses at him better walk the straight and narrow because they'll not get up early enough tp put one past Sean Drummond.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Great book!

    Love the Sean Drummond series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    FANG HEAD TO THE 35TH RESULT FOR PRIVATE

    Xavier

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    Good but not great!

    I couldn't put this book down because I wanted to find out what was really going on. But once I found out, it was kind of a letdown. This was definitely a one time read. --K--

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2004

    Awesome

    One of the best books I have read all year. When is the next one coming out?!?! I took this book on vacation to San Diego. Usually I leave what I read instead of repacking and dragging books back home. Not this one! It was so good, I brought it home just to pass around to friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2003

    A FAST PACED NARRATIVE

    Stellar voice performers John Rubinstein and Michael Emerson give can't-stop-listening-to readings of this thoroughly entertaining thriller. Happily, author Haig reprises his attractive but prickly hero Sean Drummond. An Army attorney Drummond seems to thrive on being a burr under anyone and everyone's saddle. He's loaned out to a prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm where he proceeds to nettle and needle. There's not a one of his new compadres with whom he has anything in common, although the perks and office space are commendable. JAG officer Lisa Morrow is brutally killed. Murdered, in fact, when she's going to meet Drummond. He has barely begun investigating this crime when other professional women are murdered and Drummond realizes there's a psycho serial killer on the loose. In addition, he is beginning to detect a foul odor emanating from the firm's most important client. Something is not only wrong - it's dead wrong. Soon the indefatigable Drummond finds himself in the middle of doings more heinous than any he has ever seen. A fast paced narrative and rapid fire action propel Haig's latest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2003

    Better and Better

    I swear I'm addicted to these Brian Haig novels of Sean Drummond. And since I've turned several of my friends on to them we all like to read them at the same time to compare notes -- to simplify the findings, we love them. I got hooked on the Michael Connolly novels and wondered if I'd like a military type. I wasn't disappointed. I get hooked on page one of these Brian Haig books and I hate to seem them end. Can't wait for the next one -- when will it be out?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2003

    Welcome back, Seand Drummond!

    Brian Haig has written a compulsively readable novel in Private Sector and one that, if there is any justice, should be headed straight to the top of all the bestseller lists. Haig has taken his protagonist, the cynical and salty JAG officer Sean Drummond, into the civilian world as the Army loans him out to a high profile white shoe law firm in the nation's Capital. Before you can say ' fish out of water' Haig has Drummond up to his collar tabs in a plot of corporate greed and duplicity worthy of Grisham around the time he wrote The Firm. Haig's plot is imaginative without ever straining credulity and the characters cast in the roles of villain are never cartoonish. The author wisely keeps most of the real villains of the piece (with two notable exceptions) off stage most of the time and has their lawyers function as their surrogates. Major Sean Drummond is his usual tart-tongued self, in contrast to all the self-important white shoe law firm types, and is welcome contrast to nearly every character around him. His descriptions of the Machiavellian machinations of lawyers and corporate honchos to keep a corporate ship afloat ring all too true in the world after Enron, Worldcom,and Global Crossing. Sean Drummond's bluntness and sense of fairness are a welcome change from the glut of morally compromised lawyers who seem to populate much of modern fiction. With Private Sector, Brian Haig has hit a home run.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2003

    A complex, sharp thriller.

    Hot headed Army attorney Sean Drummond has been given a new job at a Washington law firm, and he¿s not happy about it, but he figures it can¿t be that bad for the short time he¿ll be there¿he¿s wrong. Sean is given the tour of his new firm, as well as being brought up to speed on the perks of his new job; new wardrobe courtesy of Brooks Brothers, expense account and brand new Jaguar. As Sean is settling into his new job, he receives his first client, a media giant vying for a contract with the Pentagon, and the news of his good friend Lisa Morrow¿s murder. Not knowing who to trust, Sean teams with Lisa¿s sister Janet, a smart Boston Assistant District Attorney to investigate the murder and bring a killer to justice, but in the process he discovers his new client is not what they say they are, and the company¿s owner has a dark, sinister side. Sean has never backed down from trouble before, and this time is no different as he makes sure nothing gets in the way of him avenging his friends murder. `Private Sector¿ is the best novel yet in the Sean Drummond series. With each new novel readers see the plots getting beefier, and the suspense thicker, proving there is long life ahead of this gripping series. Political intrigue, and complex plot twists combined with sharp legal thrills sets this thriller apart from others in the genre. Brian Haig has quickly become one of my favorite authors; from his original plots, and smooth writing, to the relentless pacing, and fast action he keeps the pages turning, and the reader guessing. The season of hot reads has begun, and `Private Sector¿ is a sure bet for an entertaining, good time. Expect to see this novel on the bestseller lists, and fans anxiously awaiting the next appearance of Sean Drummond. If you have not read any novels by Brian Haig do yourself a favor and read him. Nick Gonnella

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A delighful hero + great plotting = a good book

    Major Sean Drummond loves the army and his job as a defense attorney representing soldiers in black-ops who broke the law. His boss General Clapper needs a rest from the major and his enthusiasms that always seem to get out of hand so he takes advantage of a loan out program where army lawyers work for a year in a civilian corporation.<P> He arranges a date with his predecessor in the loan out program but before he can meet her, she is viciously murdered in the Pentagon parking lot. Her sister Janet, also an attorney, comes to town and teams up with the major to try and find Lisa¿s killer. While working on a case for the law firm, he gathers some information from Lisa¿s computer that might lead to her killer and in the process gets the army, the FBI, the CIA and several corporate and criminal attorney¿s very angry at him for interfering in their business.<P> Anyone who likes an action thriller won¿t want to miss reading PRIVATE SECTOR. The protagonist is unique and refreshing with a memorable sense of humor that will have the audience chuckling out loud in the middle of a very tense scene. He is not a rebel but he likes doing things his way and that always gets him in trouble with his superiors. Brian Haig has written a work that will return him to the bestseller lists.<P> Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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