27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
There's a new star on the scene of the mystery/suspense genre: Brian Haig. I was suspicious at first of this brother of General Alexander Haig, thinking maybe Brian was taking advantage of easy celebrity. No way. Brian Haig proves his talent in Private Sector, written in an energetic, light-hearted style with a good dose of self-deprecating humor.
Sean Drummond is perfectly happy as an Army Attorney, not particularly excited about participating in an attorney exchange program between the Army and the "Private Sector", assigned to a high profile, high-billing law firm. But Sean signed up to follow orders. As the fledgling member of the prestigious D.C. law firm, Sean wastes no time establishing his reputation as a bad boy, unconcerned with keeping this particular assignment. Clearly, Drummond has no love for this arrogant group, specialized litigators who cater to the most elite of Washington businessmen. Sean readily disdains the smooth talkers with their extravagant lifestyles and has no intention of fitting into this particular niche.
Sean is baffled by the aura of menace that surfaces as soon as he begins to ask questions about his predecessor, a young woman recently found murdered. Naturally inquisitive, Drummond is especially interested, since he once dated the young woman. Any attempt on his part to uncover her activities at the firm before her death is met with a wall of silence, which, of course, only piques Sean's curiosity. He appears to spend his days cavorting through his duties in designer suits, driving a new Jaguar provided by the firm, but, in reality, he is intent on uncovering the circumstances that led to this strange death.
Not one to be easily thwarted or intimidated, Drummond enlists the aid of a D.C .cop and an Assistant D.A., who also happens to be the sister of the murdered girl. Continuing his pursuit of inside information, Drummond uncovers a convoluted plot with serious implications of government interference. Then other young women are killed, each in a similar fashion, although with progressively more violence. The police request help from the FBI, assuming they are dealing with a serial killer, but there is far more involved than the apparent serial murders. As Sean and Janet delve deeper than is prudent, their actions put them both in imminent jeopardy.
In Private Sector, Brian Haig serves up a volatile mix of sociopathic assassins, CIA operatives and FBI investigators, with frightening implications. A sly master of bluff and bravado, Haig's Sean Drummond is a sympathetic, even endearing, character, easy to like, imperfections and all. Oblivious to personal danger, Drummond stubbornly pursues the motive and the murderer, refusing to ignore conflicting motives that may impact his investigation. Take the infamous inter-agency conflicts between the CIA and the FBI, add a twisted plot with international criminal overtones and you have a nicely stylized mystery novel by a talented author. Haig knows how to tell a story. This young author is ensured a bright future, with his fresh voice and penchant for innovative plotting. Luan Gaines/ 2003.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2003
For 10 years I have anxiously awaited the release of each DeMille novel. With the arrival of each book, I would invariably finish it in 2 days and then lament having to wait another 9 months or so for the next offering. A few years ago, I saw a poster on a DC subway for a book called Secret Sanction by Brian Haig. I wouldn't have thought twice about the poster if it wasn't for a positive testimonial from Nelson DeMille that was printed on the poster. DeMille's rubber stamp was good enough for me. I immediately went out and bought Secret Sanction and was enthralled. I have since read Haig's other novels, including the recently published Private Sector, and each book was better than the prior one. Haig and DeMille are now interchangeable for me and my only negative with each of them is that I read their books too damn fast!! Sean Drummond is a phenomenal main character. His combination of intelligence, strength and wit combined with his self-recognized flaws make him intriguing, likable and, most of all, human. I hope that Haig sticks with Drummond in all future novels. Additionally, I hope that Haig continues to churn these stories out as quickly as possible. Private Sector took less than a day for me to read and it was gripping from the first page to the last. I already need another fix!! Nelson, it's now your turn!!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I was hooked on Brian Haig's central character JAG lawyer Sean Drummond when I read THE KINGMAKER (five star review of 5/13/03); thus, I resolved to read the earlier books in the series to watch both the character development and changes in the author's technique and style. I subsequently finished SECRET SANCTION (3.5 star review of 7/30/03) and found it enjoyable but not nearly in the same class as THE KINGMAKER. Before I could get to MORTAL ALLIES (#2 in the series), PRIVATE SECTOR was published and I decided to read it before starting the earlier book. I highly recommend both the author and this book, although for reasons summarized at the end of this review (some of which may be entirely personal) I did not find it as completely enjoyable as THE KINGMAKER. But it is a fast moving, excellently plotted, well crafted story and continues the character development of Sean Drummond, who has the potential to be one of the enduring protagonists of this genre.
When Major Drummond is notified by his boss, General Clapper, that he is being assigned to the PRIVATE SECTOR law firm Cupler, Hutch, and Westin under a "loan out" program whose supposed goal is to broaden the experience of the JAG staff while creating goodwill in the public sector, he immediately begins to plot the best method to sabotage the assignment without creating such enmity between himself and Clapper that he effectively terminates his Army career. He realizes that the combination of his natural personality traits should easily be able to be honed to accomplish the task, and immediately begins to alienate those with whom he comes into contact. The one interesting element of the assignment is that Sean is replacing fellow officer Lisa Morrow, whom he has come to know and respect during previous assignments and for whom he harbors a great deal of apparently unrequited affection. When Lisa indicates a desire to meet Sean, he is both curious about what aspects of her experience at Cupler he needs to be briefed and hopeful that she may be more attracted to him than he expected. Unfortunately, their meeting never occurs due to Lisa's apparently random murder in a DC parking lot (this minor spoiler is included because it is revealed on the book jacket) and Sean immediately decides he should supplement the efforts of the DC police and the CID ( the Army's Criminal Investigation Division) in investigating Lisa's death. Since he quickly comes to believe that Lisa's death may be related to Lisa's work at Cupler, he realizes that in order to effectively further his goal of catching Lisa's killer he has remain in the good graces of both the partners of Cupler and General Clapper, not at all an easy task for Sean.
As the cliché goes, the plot quickly thickens as further increasingly brutal and apparently random murders occur. Meanwhile Sean is involved in helping the firm's largest client, Morris Networks, a telecommunications firm spawned during the financial market and technological excesses of the nineties successfully win a major government contract. He soon suspects that Lisa's death and the other murders might somehow be related to Cupler `s representation of Moriss and it's "new economy" CEO Jason Morris. As the story unfolds, there are as usual in Haig's novels many excellent lines from Sean, a well thought out although convoluted plot, and a knowledgeable and quite informative discussion of the latest uses of sophisticated financial instruments and their accounting implications (a la Enron, which is mistakenly referred to as Exxon).
This is an enjoyable and well told story; although I had the advantage of understanding the business aspects of the plot the details are not essential to the story. (I also had the disadvantage of knowing enough to be aggravated at his admittedly minor mistakes.) The author did excellent research and his information is essentially correct with regard to both the details and the overview. However, I was disappointed by the anti-corporate tone of the book, there are basically no honorable people either at Morris or Cupler. In addition, Sean's idiosyncratic characteristics actually were a little overdone at times during the early part of the story and stretched cleverness to the edge of inaneness, which bordered on losing credibility. My only major criticism is the technique of writing this story with Sean as the first party narrator but interspersing segments where the killer became the narrator. (There was no confusion when this occurred, it was identified with a change in typeface. I just found it a little disconcerting although I understand the author's reasons for utilizing the technique.) So, I highly recommend this book as a good legal/action mystery by a talented author. You will benefit from reading the earlier books in the series prior to this, but that is not at all necessary. But if you only have time for one Brian Haig book, I recommend THE KINGMAKER instead as a superior read. (It is now in paperback.)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'll begin by saying that this is a genuine thriller, and if you like thrillers, Private Sector is worth reading. It is the third of Brian Haig's novels that I have read, and it is the best. In the previous books, I was turned off by his wisecracking protagonist, Major Sean Drummond, a US Army lawyer. But in this one, Drummond is loaned to a snooty, Washington law firm, and his flippancy toward its arrogant attorneys is refreshing. He replaces Captain Lisa Morrow, an Army attorney and good friend. But Captain Morrow is brutally murdered, and Drummond soon suspects that she had learned something about the law firm that put her in mortal peril. Murders continue, and when Drummond finds how they are linked, he becomes the killer's target. The plot twists and turns until it reached a thrilling climax.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2003
Hot headed Army attorney Sean Drummond has been given a new job at a Washington law firm, and he's not happy about it, but he figures it can't be that bad for the short time he'll be there...he's wrong.
Sean is given the tour of his new firm, as well as being brought up to speed on the perks of his new job; new wardrobe courtesy of Brooks Brothers, expense account and brand new Jaguar. As Sean is settling into his new job, he receives his first client, a media giant vying for a contract with the Pentagon, and the news of his good friend Lisa Morrow's murder.
Not knowing who to trust, Sean teams with Lisa's sister Janet, a smart Boston Assistant District Attorney to investigate the murder and bring a killer to justice, but in the process he discovers his new client is not what they say they are, and the company's owner has a dark, sinister side.
Sean has never backed down from trouble before, and this time is no different as he makes sure nothing gets in the way of him avenging his friends murder.
`Private Sector' is the best novel yet in the Sean Drummond series. With each new novel readers see the plots getting beefier, and the suspense thicker, proving there is long life ahead of this gripping series. Political intrigue, and complex plot twists combined with sharp legal thrills sets this thriller apart from others in the genre. Brian Haig has quickly become one of my favorite authors; from his original plots, and smooth writing, to the relentless pacing, and fast action he keeps the pages turning, and the reader guessing.
The season of hot reads has begun, and `Private Sector' is a sure bet for an entertaining good time. Expect to see this novel on the bestseller lists, and fans anxiously awaiting the next appearance of Sean Drummond.
If you have not read any novels by Brian Haig do yourself a favor and read him.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If a good nights sleep is what you yearn for, do not under any circumstances begin reading this book in bed. You will find yourself drawn into Sean Drummonds fast-paced world, where witty sarcasm reigns supreme. His temporary foray into the "Private Sector" of a Washington law firm proves to be a fascinating thriller that is enormously satisfying. My only recommendation would be that you first read Secret Sanction in order to understand the connection/relationship between Sean and Lisa Morrow (the first murder victim in Private Sector).
Like a great chef, Brian Haig once again manages to cook up a story that pleases the literary palate with just the right mix of humor and suspense. You will find yourself reading into the wee small hours, but not regretting your loss of sleep.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2003
Brian Haig has written a compulsively readable novel in Private Sector and one that, if there is any justice, should be headed straight to the top of all the bestseller lists. Haig has taken his protagonist, the cynical and salty JAG officer Sean Drummond, into the civilian world as the Army loans him out to a high profile white shoe law firm in the nation's Capital. Before you can say "fish out of water" Haig has Drummond up to his collar tabs in a plot of corporate greed and duplicity worthy of Grisham around the time he wrote The Firm. Haig's plot is imaginative without ever straining credulity and the characters cast in the roles of villain are never cartoonish. The author wisely keeps most of the real villains of the piece (with two notable exceptions) off stage most of the time and has their lawyers function as their surrogates. Major Sean Drummond is his usual tart-tongued self, in contrast to all the self-important white shoe law firm types, and is welcome contrast to nearly every character around him. His descriptions of the Machiavellian machinations of lawyers and corporate honchos to keep a corporate ship afloat ring all too true in the world after Enron, Worldcom,and Global Crossing. Sean Drummond's bluntness and sense of fairness are a welcome change from the glut of morally compromised lawyers who seem to populate much of modern fiction. With Private Sector, Brian Haig has hit a home run.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
The series featuring Sean Drummond, the Army attorney, continues. Drummond, is a likeable and believable hero. In this story he is loaned to a white shoe civilian law firm as part of an exchange program with the military. The private law firm has people involved with a crime syndicate that is involved with suspect dealings with a communications company. The brutal murders designed to cover up the tracks begin. There is high level involvement with the FBI and CIA. This is a real page turner!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2003
PRIVATE SECTOR is the fourth of Brain Haig's novels to feature Major Sean Drummond, the redoubtable military lawyer whose presence in the Armed Forces seems to be the result of jamming an irresistible round peg into an immovable square-holed pegboard. Drummond is a smart aleck, and a brilliant one. Yet, his flip outward demeanor belies a tenacious attitude for righting wrongs and pursuing the truth, all the while steadfastly refusing to color within the lines. He would rather redraw them to fit the situation.
Drummond accordingly seems a somewhat unlikely choice to be loaned out to a high-powered, buttoned-up Washington, D.C. law firm pursuant to a joint U.S. government private sector program called "Working With Industry." The loan out program seems well intentioned. The Army sends one of their best and brightest attorneys to the private law firm for one year in order to expose the attorney to other areas of practice, while the law firm gets another brilliant mind to work with. The results are darkly hilarious.
Drummond is like a fish out of water almost from the minute he walks into the offices of Culper, Hutch, and Westin, and all the perks --- from the corner office to the company sports car --- can't make him walk the straight and narrow. Drummond figures that he can be just obnoxious enough to be sent back to the Army in a week or two.
All of this changes, however, when Lisa Morrow is murdered. Morrow is Drummond's fellow JAG officer and his predecessor in the Working With Industry project. She is also the object of Drummond's love/lust interest. Drummond was to meet Morrow on the night she was murdered. He in fact carries some guilt over the murder, given that he was late for their meeting. His timeliness might have prevented her death. Drummond finds that the offices of Culper, Hutch, and Westin contain resources ideal for investigating Morrow's murder. Within days, however, more women are found slaughtered in apparently unrelated murders. Drummond slowly comes to the realization that the path of the murderer leads back to the doors of his private sector employer and the firm's biggest client, a communications firm on the verge of signing a contract with the Pentagon that has a potential value of billions of dollars.
Drummond finds himself in a position where he can trust absolutely no one --- except for a rough-around-the-edges CID Agent named Dan Spinelli, with whom Drummond establishes a grudging camaraderie, and Morrow's sister Janet, a brilliant, capable and beautiful ADA from Boston. Drummond finds that in order to stop the murders and bring justice to Lisa Morrow, he will have to put himself --- and Janet --- in the path of mortal harm as they are pursued by a foe with apparently limitless resources and almost inhuman skill.
Haig's decision to move Drummond into private practice, if only temporarily, is brilliant. Drummond is a fish out of water, even in his own sea, and letting him play with the sharks in the ocean of private practice gives Drummond plenty of room to exhibit his always rapier-sharp wit. Haig also veers away from courtroom drama here, another welcome variation from his previous novels. And for those of us who wondered if Drummond would ever become lucky in love ... well, that appears to be the case toward the end of the novel. The best book in what has proven to be an excellent series to date, PRIVATE SECTOR has it all.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2003
Corporate lawyers and JAG officers are, by nature, opponents and Major Sean Drummond, JAG officer extraordinaire, has no desire to get sucked into that pit. But he's about to anyway. When told he's to become part of the "Working With Industry Program" which places him in the midst of a private sector firm, he's determined to make the most of his notorious reputation - and get kicked out.
His resolve wavers, however, when the military officer previously assigned to the same office is murdered and others follow. Now, Drummond is on the path of a serial killer and may end up the next target. With "partners" Janet Morrow and David Spinelli, he uses tactics not employed by law enforcers to get the information he needs.
At the same time, there is suspicious activity going on at the firm that keeps landing at his door. Drummond has an aversion to people assuming he's incompetent enough to become a fall guy, so he's on a mission to put a stop to that also.
He may have become embroiled with more than he can handle this time. There are agencies involved he never would have dreamed of, and - for their own purposes - they may be far too willing to look the other way when it comes to punishing the truly guilty parties. As a man who has dedicated his life and loyalty to the government, what can he do but let them?
Brian Haig's fourth novel is undoubtedly his best to date. It once again features the roguish and proudly antagonistic Sean Drummond who is rapidly growing into one of the genre's favorite legal eagles.