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About Sweeney’s Run

In the early 1990s, after I’d had a run of suspense and intrigue novels rooted in World War II espionage, my editors suggested that I update and start writing about contemporary “tensions” against contemporary backgrounds. I’d already done a contemporary police procedural in Judgment in Blood, but their interest was not so much in traditional crime stuff (“Who Killed Uncle Bertie in the Greenhouse with a Croquet Mallet?”) but material leaning more toward the “James Bond Gives the Finger to Goldie” kind of thing.

As I was brooding about this one day in my office overlooking the headwaters of Chesapea ke Bay, I watched a large military transport plane circle and land at the Army’s humongous proving ground at Aberdeen about nine miles across the water from where I sat. What if, I brooded, that thing wasn’t really an Army plane but a disguised drug-running ship making a delivery to one of the civilians working for the military over there who was also working for a huge international drug cartel, and what if. . . . In other words, my author’s juices had begun to run, and by the time the flow had stopped a year or so down the line I was the owner of a thriller named Sweeney’s Run.

The dust jacket’s heavy breathing put it this way: “A riveting high-tech tale of the mid-1990s. Tom Sweeney, at 42 a pensioner from the Department of Defense Intelligence, is confounded when a dead man turns up in his house on Chesapeake Bay, an old friend and CIA agent who’s used his dying blood to scrawl a message on the bathroom tile. But what does it mean? And why was he there? The search for answers may kill Sweeney and his lovely friend Cap O’Brien very quickly. And change the face of America forever. Unless Sweeney can run fast enough. . . .”

My problem as an author is that I can’t be content with a simply constructed straight-line story. I get all tangled up in plot, counterplot, sub-plot, false leads, teasers, twists, character development and psychological motivations (obviously the dust jacket blurb writer had just given up and suggested that Sweeney, Cap, and the face of America were in pretty deep doo-doo), and airplanes. I love airplanes, as you might have noticed, and I usually manage to work them into my stories one way or another. In this case, the beautiful female lead, Cap, is a charter pilot and crop-duster, and her trusty mount is a restored WWII-era Stearman biplane.

It’s in this antique she and Sweeney make a mad dash for Washington, where they hope to turn over documents that will provide critical proof of the innocense of a beleaguered president. But the bad guys are on to them, and they send a state-of-the-art combat plane to shoot them down.

Copyright © 2008 by Jack D. Hunter.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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