Set in 1975 during the Cold War, this novel is based on an actual project the US Navy was introducing. This project, known as Outlaw Shark, was designed to give US submarines the capability to effectively attack surface targets at much longer ranges than had ever been possible. The new generation of submarine-launched missiles would extend the attack range beyond the distance at which a submarine could positively identify and locate a target.
Rick Halsted is a submarine officer with seven years of service. His ambition is to rise to command of a nuclear submarine, and he’s laid out a plan to achieve that goal. Hs plan is disrupted by orders cancelling his postgraduate school assignment. Instead, he finds himself drawn reluctantly into the naval intelligence community, and tasked with determining whether any civilian employees of a defense contractor are passing highly classified Outlaw Shark information to the Soviets. Posing as a new civilian recently separated from the Navy, Rick becomes an engineer working on the project from which the secrets may be leaking. He’s actually holding down two jobs – his engineering job and the counterintelligence task of finding the traitors. The Navy doesn’t know Rick’s real personal history. His background will play a major role in how he solves the espionage problem.
Shortly after beginning this task, Rick finds himself falling in love with one of the potential traitors. His search – and his life – are complicated by his lover being one of the people he’s investigating. She joins in the effort to find the spies, even though Rick hasn’t eliminated her as a suspect. Rick is under constant pressure from his intelligence boss to treat her as a prime suspect. It doesn’t take long until a murder forces Rick to realize that someone’s playing for keeps in this game.
As the romance becomes more serious, an old nemesis of Rick’s reappears in his life. Attempting to use this enemy as a tool to find the spies, Rick and his lover find themselves entwined in a life-threatening situation. Rick has to trick this wily adversary to save her life and to keep his career goals within reach. It comes down to a situation where either he or his enemy must die