David Grogan served on active duty in the post-Vietnam-War United States Navy for more than twenty-six years as a Navy Judge Advocate. He’s now retired, but his experiences in prosecuting and defending court-martial cases around the world inform and enrich his writing of legal thrillers, the first of which was The Siegel Dispositions.
That book introduced Grogan’s main character, ex-JAG Corps officer Steve Stilwell. The Sapphire Pavilion (Camel Press, 280 pp., $15.95, paper; $4.99, Kindle), another mystery thriller, involves Stilwell fighting to get justice for his old buddy, Ric Stokes, who is incarcerated for possessing heroin in Vietnam. Stokes was sharing a hotel room with Ryan Eversall, now dead of an overdose while with a prostitute, herself now among the missing.
Stilwell is convinced this is a frame-up and travels to Saigon to get to the bottom of the affair. The bad guys who set up his friend immediately go after Stilwell. There’s a file involved in this thriller labelled “The Sapphire Pavilion,” a catchy and convenient title for this book.
The villains underestimate Stilwell, who refuses to roll over and play dead. Helping him fight these forces of evil is a plucky and lovely female former Army pilot, Casey, who has one leg—a beautiful one—due to injury in a helicopter accident.
Stilwell gets through all of this derring-do in one piece, but it seems possible that Casey could lose her other leg. I won’t give that plot point away. It also looks as though our hero, Steve, might lose his wife, who has had it with his globe-trotting and consorting with beautiful female spies.
The case file for Sapphire Pavilion looks as though it will be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s McGuffins, but it works well enough to carry the book’s plot along until the exciting end.
If you enjoyed the previous book in this series, you’ll love this one, too. Read and enjoy.
The author’s website is davidegrogan.com