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Missing Man: A Stunning Thriler of Murder and Betrayal at NASA Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812577868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812577860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,213,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Can a skilled writer still mine nuggets of suspense from the overworked streams of NASA and its back-burnered space program? Michael Cassutt, who collaborated with Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton on his autobiography, Deke!, proves it can be done. In a technothriller as sharp and scary as any in recent memory, Cassutt tells the story of rookie astronaut Mark Koskinen, whose training partner--legendary veteran Joe Buerhle--is killed in a light plane crash after exhibiting some very strange behavior.

Even stranger is the way the NASA investigators looking into the crash seem to want to blame Koskinen. To save his career and quite possibly his life, Mark has to find out who inside the vast space agency wanted Buerhle out of the way. Cassutt, who also wrote the classic reference book Who's Who in Space, has enough insider knowledge to make it all seem totally believable and enough fictional talent to keep several strong plot lines floating around in space at the same time. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

As this exciting action thriller begins, Astronaut candidate Mark Koskinen manages to survive when a training aircraft crashes, killing chief NASA astronaut Joseph Buerhle, under what seem to Mark suspicious circumstances. Trying to complete his requirements as an astronaut-in-training while quietly investigating Buerhle's death, Mark becomes linked with the dead man's lover, astronaut Kelly Gessner, veteran of several shuttle missions. The plot gains momentum as Mark and Kelly set out on board the shuttle to capture a rogue astronaut. NASA is rarely used as background for thrillers; here the detailed description of training, equipment and maneuvers, plus the invocation of the ecstasy of sailing far above planet Earth, gives an invigorating twist to the suspenseful plot. Most impressive, however, is the poignant description of life as a second-generation hero. The original astronauts are old or dead, and the rest of the country is back to business as usual?only the few dedicated space-hunters like Mark can tolerate the politics and pain that must be endured in order to gain the opportunity to fly weightlessly in space. TV writer Cassutt (who coauthored Deke!, the memoir of astronaut Deke Slayton) delivers a winner for lovers of aerospace, action or suspense fiction. Editor, Beth Meacham; agent, Richard Curtis.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Cassutt has published fiction (six novels, thirty short stories) and non-fiction (five books, all in the field of human spaceflight, and over two hundred articles). He is also an accomplished television writer and producer, with credits on such series as THE TWILIGHT ZONE, EERIE, INDIANA, and THE DEAD ZONE.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Bozlee on April 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With MISSING MAN, author Michael Cassutt solidifies his credentials as a first rate storyteller.
The plot unwinds with breakneck speed, it involves Mark Koskinen, an ASCAN (Astronaut Candidate) who is the only survivor of the crash of a NASA T-38 aircraft during a normal training mission.
Nothing plays out the way one would think: The pilot of the T-38, Col. Joseph Buerhle, certified hero astronaut with four Space Shuttle missions to his credit, is cremated with no autopsy after his mortal remains are recovered. The board assigned to investigate the crash seems to be less than meets the eye. The paranoid could almost get the feeling that someone does not want the whole story to come out.
When Koskinen's girlfriend dies under odd circumstances the stage is set for a ripping good mystery.
Cassutt uses his experience in television writing to portray the characters as real, three dimensional characters, albeit characters who live in work in the rarified atmosphere of spaceflight. His protrayal of some of the politics, power games and behind the scenes manuevering that takes place at the Johnson Space Center are spot on target. The author of this review worked in the aerospace industry for years and this is the most accessable picture of the flavor and atmosphere of US manned spaceflight that is liable to come around for some time.
Like Tom Clancy who pioneered the techno-thriller, Cassutt provides plenty of nuts and bolts to satisfy the gearheads, but unlike Clancy the technology does not over shadow the human story.
In spite of the view we see on the all too brief TV coverage of Shuttle missions, spaceflight is not so much about the hardware as the people who build, use and fly it. Here Cassutt strikes a sharply focused balance.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Dont pick up this book if you have anything planned. I found myself ripping through this techno thriller, devouring each page as the story drew me in. Each main character is well fleshed out, and the pacing is perfect. Admittedly I found myself looking at this from a SF movie goers point of view, and this is destined to be an excellent romp on film. As in all good thriller/mysteries, there is enough (just barely) info about the story that the reader will make an effort to figure out the ending as it unfolds, but true to other great authors, Michael Cassutt knows how to twist the end around just enough to keep us reading and learning about the story as we go.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Keith Cowing, Editor, NASA Watch: When I first saw the cover of this book and read "A stunning thriller of murder and betrayal at NASA", I thought, "yikes, not ANOTHER "NASA insider" mystery novel. Luckily, that thought passed rather swiftly. This book had something going for it right off the bat: its author, Michael Cassutt, is the coauthor of the best seller Deke!", the author of the authoritative "Who's Who in Space: The International Space Station", and a well-known television producer and writer ("Seven Days" and the eerily prescient "Max Headroom" among others). Cassutt has certainly been sufficiently exposed to NASA such that he had the opportunity to see how it did/didn't work. Given Cassutt's resume, I thought I'd give it a read. I am certainly glad I did. Having worked at NASA I usually cringe at the way writers try and put forth an aura of NASA authenticity and, in so doing, invariably get an acronym woefully wrong, portray spaceflight so as to be in violation of the laws of physics, or develop their characters along absurd caricatures. Cassutt walks into the story armed with a crisp plot, real characters, and solid technical background. I never flinched once as he laid his tale out before me. From a technical standpoint, the author clearly knows the systems, the hardware, the acronyms and how NASA's team actually uses them. He also portrays NASA internal and external politics dead on. While the prominent characters are all fictitious, you can clearly see personality traits and reactions to events exhibited by the folks who actually run JSC and the Astronaut Corps. Cassutt stages his story against a fictitious backdrop of the Shuttle-Mir program during 1998-1999.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Benford on February 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the best thriller about NASA I've ever read. You'll learn more about how astronauts think, work & feel than in a dozen documentaries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Fasoldt on September 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
You like police procedurals? Call this a "space procedural." Good marks for the important stuff, like character development and nuance. Plot deteriorated in the last third of the book, however, and fell apart at the end. The NASA insights were welcome in the beginning, but enough's enough. They interfered with the arc of the story, perhaps because that arc was too flat. Note to author: Keep trying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By paul mason on October 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Kostinen a rookie astronaut trainee is in a t-38 plane with head astronaut Joe Burhle until he has to bail out and eject. Burhle an experienced pilot, womanizer and career Nasa man doesn't make it out and ends up perishing in the crash, then Mark is named with Kelly Joe's ex and fellow astronaut to the Nasa board of inquiry to find out what happened. A tissue sample Mark has analyzed soon shows that it wasn't a clear cut accident, but rather murder that ended the "popular" astronauts life.
Michael Cassutt does an excellent job bringing the world of Nasa to life in this novel. Some reviewers have commented that they felt the technical details bogged down the plot, yet I found them helpful to fully immerse myself in the fictional world Cassutt was creating. His writing style isn't extravagant or particularly flamboyant, yet technically sound without being dull. Over all I would say this isnt the most thrilling thriller/mystery I've ever read, but nonetheless a satisfying one with deep enough characterization to keep me intriqued.
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