There is a book that I pick up, for either a moment or an hour, just about every day. It is by Don Passman, an entertainment attorney, and it is entitled ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS. It takes several complicated topics and explains them in a breezy, entertaining manner, and has probably pulled more attorneys' fat out of the fire than a McDonald's grill cook with a 20-year service pin. Passman is no slouch when it comes to writing fiction, either. He favors the adventure/suspense genre, and does quite well at it, actually.
Passman published THE VISIONARY a year or two ago and has followed it up with MIRAGE --- a fish out of water tale that concerns John Berger, a computer software near-genius, who is in the process of starting up his own cyber encryption company when his world literally begins exploding around him. Berger, after competing in, and winning, a two-day chess tournament, finds his office building bombed and several people dead. The locus of the explosion appears to be Berger's office. Worse, Berger is placed in the building shortly before the explosion...and the chess tournament he played in never took place. Berger begins to doubt his own sanity; he fears more for his safety, however, when his home is bombed. Berger understandably goes on the run, which does nothing more than cast further suspicion upon him.
Jill Landis, the FBI agent assigned to investigating the bombing --- and Berger --- initially pursues him but slowly seems to make a connection between the bombing of Berger's office building and a similar incident on the other side of the country. She also connects the incidents to a covert military project known as Mirage, which was supposedly disbanded several years previously; all of the personnel who were connected to Mirage supposedly disappeared. At least some of them, however, appear to be involved in the pursuit of Berger. Berger's grip on his sanity, meanwhile, appears to grow more and more tentative. And although he doesn't know it, he has only a few precious days to live, short of a miracle.
One of the trademarks of Passman's writing is his ability to bring his subject matter and his characters to life. This talent is exhibited to great effect in MIRAGE, which demonstrates that, should Passman decide to make the jump from the practice of law to writing full-time, he should have no problem keeping food on the table.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on October 1, 2000