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Broken Wings Hardcover – November 1, 1999

28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After five nonfiction outings (including the best-selling Mindhunter), Douglas and Olshaker jump into the deep end of the thriller pool with a creditable series opener that establishes the swift-response flying squad of agents that former FBI agent Douglas never got a chance to implement in real life. The team is led by fictional ex-FBI profiler Jake Donovan, who not only shares the initials of one of his creators but his nickname as well (he's called "the Mindhunter"). After getting himself fired for insubordination, Donovan is called back to investigate the apparent suicide of FBI director Thomas Jefferson Boyd, who's found dead in his San Francisco home along with a compromising picture that suggests he was being blackmailed. Donovan, who had earlier refused a blank-check offer from wealthy widow Millicent De Vries to create his flying squad, reconsiders and gathers a crack team of experts to assist him in his investigations. The team's adversary is a criminal mastermind who will undoubtedly be showing up in future episodes of the series, and Donovan is provided with a worthy love interest, fellow agent Kathleen McManus, herself suspended for posing for a pantyhose catalogue. As the team crisscrosses the country in its private plane, enough red herrings are introduced to keep the plot lively. Though the novel is not as assured as Douglas and Olshaker's authoritative nonfiction, and Jake Donovan tends to read as a watered-down version of Douglas, this is, overall, a solid, promising debut. Still, fans of the clinically detailed Mindhunter and Journey into Darkness may well be disappointed when they discover that in this case fiction is not as gripping as fact. Agent, Jay Acton. 7-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Douglas, the FBI's famous Mindhunter of Thomas Harris's novels, has collaborated with Olshaker on four previous nonfiction books about profiling serial killers and other baddies (The Anatomy of a Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals, p. 770, etc.). But the competition they offer isnt quite serious enough to make Harris fear that one of his characters has returned to a previous life, split into co-authors, and now written his, or their, first Mindhunter novel. Here, Douglas morphs into Jake Donovan, an FBI profiler who is on hand for an Agency attack on right-wingers besieged in a country shack in Wyoming. As with Waco and Ruby Ridge, things go horribly wrong, and Jake is retired from active service by FBI Director Thomas Jefferson Boyd, supposedly for having undermined the organization with an earlier memo he wrote showing how the tragedy could be avoided. It's clear Jake was right, but he's sent off to Quantico to teach. Jake's big dream is to have a specially equipped plane and fly-in team of Mindhunters to track murderers and others when they first strike. But his idea has always been quashed. When Director Boyd is found a suicide, service pistol in hand, Jake's team goes into action. Harris would never write such dusty stuff as ``he always prided himself on his survival skills'' or ``he . . . removed the business end of the gun from my face.'' Even so, Douglas and Olshaker keep the pages burning. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671023918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671023911
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Broken Wings is absolutely intriguing, but what else would we expect from best-selling authors Douglas and Olshaker? These two authors have traditionally written amazing non-fiction books, but I absolutely could not wait, aftering hearing Douglas was coming out with a novel, to delve myself right into reading it! The main character in Broken Wings, Jake Donovan, fulfills Douglas's actual vision by starting up a flying squad that will be ready to fly to the scene of a crime, fully prepared to analyze and solve criminal cases. This novel gets a strong five stars and a pat on the back to Douglas and Olshaker, for another job well done.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was great. Typical Douglas, keeping you tense all the way through. Seemingly autobiographical, the plot is very real and beleiveable because it's backed up with actual cases and methods and behavioral models. Only an author with the experience Douglas has could compile such a suspensefula and real story.
If you've ever enjoyed books about crime and behavior, read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jake Crawford, longtime FBI agent and serial killer profiler, has been forced into retirement after a hostage-type standoff goes south, even though Crawford's not to blame. So ends a brilliant career. Even a tempting, if a bit ill timed, offer from an eccentric widow fails to pique Jake's interest. Discredited, divorced and dejected, Jake crawls into a self-imposed banishment and alcoholic stupor. Just a day or two after Jake's retirement party, agents are at his banging at his door, demanding his presence at Quantico, and not even leaving him enough time to brush his teeth. It seems his former boss, FBI Director Thomas Jefferson Boyd has just eaten the wrong end of a bullet at his home in San Francisco. His old nemeses, now in charge of a real public relations nightmare, plead with Jake to take a look at the crime scene before the local cops foul it up. Jake is immediately dispatched to the crime scene. Even when all the evidence points to suicide and even when delicate photos of the Director and a woman not his wife are found at the scene, Jake can't bring himself to believe the man would end his life this way. Sensing something is terribly wrong, and that whatever it is just might be found within the walls of the FBI, Jake returns to the rich widow, accepts her challenge to put together a team of experts and sets about to crack the case of Director Boyd's suspicious demise. From his long list of contacts, Jake recruits former professors, fellow officers and some disgraced agents, each of them a 'broken wing' (a term for someone no longer able to handle active duty) in one way or the other. With no budgetary or supervisory restraints, Jake and his group are free to look more closely at the events leading up to the Director's death.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The FBI considers him to be one of its most spectacular manhunters, but this profiler wishes he were somewhere else than where he is. The FBI has laid siege to the compound of the militia group the Wyoming Defenders. The agent in charge decides to attack over the vociferous objection of his on-site profiler Jake, who believes this will become Waco II. Jake is right, as many lives are lost. However, Jake takes the fall for the incident and the FBI Director, the Honorable Judge Thomas Jefferson Boyd "retires" a distraught Jake.
However, one day after his enforced retirement, Quantico recalls Jake to help with an internal crisis. Thomas apparently committed suicide and the acting director wants Jake to investigate the incident independent of the agency so no one can claim cover-up. Jake thinks his former boss is a murder victim. With the backing of wealthy Millicent De Vries, Jake gathers together a cadre of "retired" agents to form the Broken Wings squadron. Their missions are to investigate Thomas' death and to stop Napoleon, an international criminal who took over Millicent's family business. They soon learn that people in high government places needed Thomas out of the way so that Napoleon could play.
Any one who wants to understand profiling in terms of how an expert can get inside the mind of a psychopath needs to read BROKEN WINGS. That is expected from any work that includes John Douglas as a co-author since he is one of the pioneers of the program. The complex investigation is fascinating as readers find themselves needing to complete the plot in one sitting to learn what really happened. BROKEN WINGS is an entertaining winner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love true crime and of course, know John Douglas' name well. I ordered this, not realizing until I was running out the door with it in hand to read on the subway that it was a novel. I was a little disappointed, because I generally am more interested in true stories. I did read the whole book and I enjoyed it. I am guessing that there is probably a lot of John Douglas in the main character (Jake Donovan - same initials, even). The idea of the Flying Squad on which the book is based, is fascinating. And, of course, solving the mystery is half the fun. Well written, a good story, believable characters and even a few good chuckles.
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