Review

Secret Sanction

by Brian Haig



So what do you do when your father is a personality larger than
life, a former Secretary of State, and incidentally, one of the
most savvy strategists ever to sit at the right hand of any United
States president? If you're Brain Haig, you excel at everything you
do, from getting accepted to West Point, to graduating from that
august institution, to carving out a career as a military
strategist in your own right, to...writing novels. Writing novels,
that is, that incorporate all of the above as well as a few stories
overheard, no doubt, at the dinner table. SECRET SANCTION is the
first manifestation of Brian Haig, novelist.

SECRET SANCTION serves as a vehicle for introducing Major Sean
Drummond, an Army lawyer who is placed in charge of an
investigation into allegations of a mass murder committed by Green
Berets serving in a bottomless quagmire known to the rest of the
world as Bosnia. Drummond is not a 100 per cent likable character.
He's a bit of a smartass, more from the Fletch than the Spenser
side of the street and, of course, he's a lawyer. There is more to
Drummond than there appears to be at first blush, however. He was
not born in an office; he actually spent some time in combat in a
top secret division, doing things that armies and countries need to
do for a critical and unappreciative nation and that, accordingly,
never make the newspapers. Drummond, as a result, has some real
insight into how the job of combat is done. He therefore smells
"cover-up" when he finds himself being steered toward a conclusion
that that the Berets were under fire and acted in self defense.
When an obnoxious reporter who has been harassing Drummond is found
murdered on the Army base where the investigation is taking place,
Drummond has every reason to believe that the murder is tied
directly to his investigation. And when the evidence relating to
the murder suddenly and inexplicably points to Drummond as the
murderer, his priorities suddenly must shift to clearing his own
name and saving his own life. At the same time, Drummond finds that
his duties to his country and to justice --- whatever that may be
--- are suddenly in conflict.

While SECRET SANCTION may be flawed in spots --- the beginning of
the book, particularly, drags a bit --- Haig certainly succeeds in
telling a compelling story and, almost as importantly, creating a
compelling character in the persona of Sean Drummond. Haig has
subsequent books planned around Drummond that, hopefully, will give
his readers more insight into one of the more unique characters
recently introduced into modern mystery fiction.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Secret Sanction
by Brian Haig

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vision
  • ISBN-10: 0446611816
  • ISBN-13: 9780446611817