New book: Hard Target, by Howard Gordon ’84 (Touchstone)
The author: A television writer and producer, Gordon was the executive producer of the TV show 24, which featured the federal counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer. He also is executive producer (with Alex Gansa ’84) of Showtime’s psychological thriller Homeland and executive producer of Awake, which is scheduled to premier on NBC in January. Gordon wrote his first novel, Gideon’s War, last year. In this sequel, he brings back main character Gideon Davis, a Princeton alumnus, diplomat, and presidential adviser who had helped stop terrorists intent on blowing up an oil rig.
The plot: In Hard Target Davis has returned to academia, but is pulled back into action when an informant provides a tip that a terrorist attack is imminent on U.S. soil — the target is the U.S. government during the State of the Union address. With the help of an FBI agent and his brother, a former covert operative who goes undercover to infiltrate a white-supremacist group that may be involved, Davis tries to untangle the homegrown plan before it’s too late.
From Chapter One: “Gideon Davis scrutinized the Windsor knot in his yellow tie in his rearview mirror as he waited for the stoplight to change. It had been eight years since he was last in a classroom, and tying a knot was just one of the skills he had lost. Now, as he fiddled with it in the mirror, he missed his days as a diplomat and presidential adviser, where he’d conducted business in rolled-up shirtsleeves. At least his tuxedo had come with a clip-on bow tie.”
Reviews: Blogger Harriet Klausner called the novel “an exhilarating ultra fast-paced tale that starts in first gear and accelerates from there.” Publishers Review wrote, “Familiar plot elements include the FBI bureaucrat who throws obstacles in the paths of the maverick operatives racing the clock, hairbreadth escapes, and a down-to-the-wire climax.”
Read more: PAW’s story on Howard Gordon in the April 6, 2011, issue.