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M. L. "Matt" Buchman

Lightning (+ audio)

Lightning (+ audio)

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Miranda Chase—the autistic heroine you didn’t expect. Fighting the battles no one else could win.
Revenge? A terrorist attack? Or a declaration of war?
The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee lies dead. The murder weapon? An Air Force jet deliberately crashed into his DC hotel room.
Half a world away in the South China Sea, an F-35C Lightning II — America’s newest fighter jet — crashes during landing. It cripples the aircraft supercarrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. An accident? Or China’s next move toward world domination?
Miranda Chase and her NTSB air-crash investigation team are spread thin as they struggle to unravel multiple horrific crashes at once — and halt a global firestorm before it burns them all. Worst of all? The next target could be Miranda herself.
"Miranda is utterly compelling!" - Booklist, starred review
“Escape Rating: A. Five Stars! OMG just start with Drone and be prepared for a fantastic binge-read!” -Reading Reality

Listen to an Excerpt

Read an Excerpt

Friday evening of Memorial Day Weekend
Joint Base Andrews
Washington, DC
“Two to go,” US Air Force Captain Beth Johnston told her C-20C Gulfstream III bizjet as she brushed a hand on the high-polish paint. It wore the distinctive United States of America blue-and-white of a VIP transport for the 89th Airlift Wing. One of three identical birds kept in this auxiliary hangar at Andrews Air Force Base, but this sweet 20C was hers.
Tonight’s VIP lift mission was a flight to Georgia to return the Secretary of the Treasury to DC after a four-day vacation. Most people were headed out of DC for Memorial Day weekend, the secretary was headed in.
Beth would take her pilot’s job over any other. She didn’t care crap about glory or power or politics—she wanted to fly.
This flight would leave her with only the Secretaries of Interior and Veteran Affairs who she hadn’t transported yet. She had every other cabinet secretary’s signature in her log book.
Of course it would be nice to snag a VP or even Presidential lift, but that wasn’t likely. She’d followed their big planes any number of times for emergency coverage, but had not been needed. And as much as she’d like to snag their signatures, she’d rather not have the scale of emergency that would call for the Commander in Chief to climb aboard her little ten-passenger jet.
At 2007 hours, Captain Justin O’Dowd strode into the hangar and waved as he walked toward his usual 20C. She didn’t recall there being a second lift mission tonight, but it was Friday before a three-day weekend so anything was possible. Odd that his copilot wasn’t with him. It was easy to fly the plane solo, but it wasn’t certified for it.
“How’s your mother holding up?” she called out.
“Still mad for each other, they are,” he replied in a ridiculously overblown Irish accent. One of Justin’s running jokes was about his quiet Lebanese mother surviving his boisterous Irish father. His looks belonged to his mother, his sense of humor to his father, and his piloting skills to the US Air Force. He flew at least as well as she did.
She returned to her preflight inspection. Her copilot Reggie was following behind her so that everything was double-checked. She’d always loved the peaceful process of checking over her plane from fan blades in the engines to tire pressure—before they went out and ripped a hole in the sky.
“Hey, Reg, could you come take a look at this?” Justin’s accentless voice was overloud in the quiet hangar.
Reggie glanced at her for permission, then circled around to the other side of Justin’s plane.
Like her, Justin was always pure business when it came to flying. Another reason to like him, but she never quite felt that snap of attraction. She knew he was single and interested, but there was always something that had her keeping their relationship strictly professional.
Moments later, a shout of surprise echoed about the hangar.
Beth ducked low to look under the fuselage of her plane toward Justin’s plane—as Reggie’s body slumped limply to the scrubbed concrete floor.
She sprinted around the nose of both planes, then around the long wing to where Reggie lay crumpled by the open rear baggage access.
“What happened?” Beth knelt over him and reached for his pulse, but there was no need. His eyes were shot wide and his mouth was fixed in a rigid O of surprise. “What happened?”
Kneeling beside her, Justin rested a hand on her shoulder to keep her steady.
Then she saw his other hand. He held a needle-thin stiletto—with a blood-red blade.
He shifted his hand from her shoulder to clamp it over her mouth. With the other, he slid the blade into her chest, angling up below her left ribcage. A scorching agony overwhelmed any sense of fear as he plunged the blade into her heart and then circled the tip with a quick twist of his wrist. Minimal hole. Minimal blood.
She looked down in time to see the small stain of red on Reggie’s shirt where the blade had severed his heart inside his chest exactly as it severed hers.
“I’m sorry, Beth. But I need your flight clearance tonight.”
Captain Beth Johnston’s last thought ever as her head hit the concrete was that her look of surprise was going to exactly match Reggie’s.

Publication Details

Initial Publication: June 7, 2022
Print Pages: 398
Audio length: 10:18
Narrator: Read by Author

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