Review

Private Sector

by Brian Haig



PRIVATE SECTOR is the fourth of Brain Haig's novels to feature
Major Sean Drummond, the redoubtable military lawyer whose presence
in the Armed Forces seems to be the result of jamming an
irresistible round peg into an immovable square-holed pegboard.
Drummond is a smart aleck, and a brilliant one. Yet, his flip
outward demeanor belies a tenacious attitude for righting wrongs
and pursuing the truth, all the while steadfastly refusing to color
within the lines. He would rather redraw them to fit the
situation.

Drummond accordingly seems a somewhat unlikely choice to be loaned
out to a high-powered, buttoned-up Washington, D.C. law firm
pursuant to a joint U.S. government private sector program called
"Working With Industry." The loan out program seems well
intentioned. The Army sends one of their best and brightest
attorneys to the private law firm for one year in order to expose
the attorney to other areas of practice, while the law firm gets
another brilliant mind to work with. The results are darkly
hilarious.

Drummond is like a fish out of water almost from the minute he
walks into the offices of Culper, Hutch, and Westin, and all the
perks --- from the corner office to the company sports car ---
can't make him walk the straight and narrow. Drummond figures that
he can be just obnoxious enough to be sent back to the Army in a
week or two.

All of this changes, however, when Lisa Morrow is murdered. Morrow
is Drummond's fellow JAG officer and his predecessor in the Working
With Industry project. She is also the object of Drummond's
love/lust interest. Drummond was to meet Morrow on the night she
was murdered. He in fact carries some guilt over the murder, given
that he was late for their meeting. His timeliness might have
prevented her death. Drummond finds that the offices of Culper,
Hutch, and Westin contain resources ideal for investigating
Morrow's murder. Within days, however, more women are found
slaughtered in apparently unrelated murders. Drummond slowly comes
to the realization that the path of the murderer leads back to the
doors of his private sector employer and the firm's biggest client,
a communications firm on the verge of signing a contract with the
Pentagon that has a potential value of billions of dollars.

Drummond finds himself in a position where he can trust absolutely
no one --- except for a rough-around-the-edges CID Agent named Dan
Spinelli, with whom Drummond establishes a grudging camaraderie,
and Morrow's sister Janet, a brilliant, capable and beautiful ADA
from Boston. Drummond finds that in order to stop the murders and
bring justice to Lisa Morrow, he will have to put himself --- and
Janet --- in the path of mortal harm as they are pursued by a foe
with apparently limitless resources and almost inhuman skill.

Haig's decision to move Drummond into private practice, if only
temporarily, is brilliant. Drummond is a fish out of water, even in
his own sea, and letting him play with the sharks in the ocean of
private practice gives Drummond plenty of room to exhibit his
always rapier-sharp wit. Haig also veers away from courtroom drama
here, another welcome variation from his previous novels. And for
those of us who wondered if Drummond would ever become lucky in
love ... well, that appears to be the case toward the end of the
novel. The best book in what has proven to be an excellent series
to date, PRIVATE SECTOR has it all.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Private Sector
by Brian Haig

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446613932
  • ISBN-13: 9780446613934