I really enjoyed reading RED SKY and
could not put it down. Chris Goff has really done his research
when writing RED SKY, because there is so much attention
to the smallest details. The setting is perfect for not
only a crash scene but the investigation that follows
making this book seem extremely realistic.
I easily got
caught up in the story trying to figure out who done it
and why. The list of characters is interesting and adds
depth to the story with their intriguing backstories. All
of this meshed together creates that perfect storm for a
thriller you just cannot put down.
After the crash, an
agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service arrives to
investigate. There are many passengers on the flight that
could easily be the suspect. All of whom must be
questioned. Eyebrows are raised when evidence is found
that the plane was shot down and another attack is
thought to have been planned on the convoy carrying the
remains. A twist in the story comes when the lab report
confirms that the remains are not the fugitives that was
suppose to return to the US. After this discovery, the
agent gets sent to China to track down the letter and
find out what it contained. But this mission is not so
secretive because a reporter who senses a big story in
the works is quick on the agent's trail. Will the agent
solve the case or will her case be blown by the noisy
RED SKY is full of action, suspense, chase
scenes, stolen identities, and enough second guessing to
make you wonder what the next page will bring. A true
page turner that will have you hooked from page one. The
ending is perfect and makes this action-packed thriller a
When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern
Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent onboard, U.S.
Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to
investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from
Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it
quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally
downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard?
To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what
the Americans knew that was worth killing hundreds to cover
up. With Russia deeply entangled in the Ukraine and the
possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring
its own plane, tensions are high.
As international relations and even more lives hang in the
balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War. Red
Sky, Chris Goff's pulse-pounding follow-up to Dark
Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans
of Gayle Lynds.
Jordan stared out across the smoking debris, her gauze mask
ineffective against the smell of burning flesh and jet fuel.
Small fires still flared in the rubble of People's Republic
Airline Flight 91, and the stench and devastation were
overwhelming. Bodies anchored the wreckage—some still strapped
into seats, others flung like rag dolls onto the scorched earth,
some in pieces. Fragments of the plane's fuselage along with
luggage, computers, phones, books, blankets, pillows and
clothing littered the ground for miles.
She shifted her gaze. The mid-summer sun hung low on the
horizon, partially obscured by clouds and smoke. Occasional rays
of sunlight danced across the lush Ukrainian farm fields,
touching the wreckage and highlighting colors in the otherwise
scorched remains. To her left, an orange teddy bear sat propped
against a tangle of twisted metal, as if set there by the hands
of the child who had carried it onboard. Near the shell of the
aircraft, a yellow hand bag waited on the ground to be
Looking down, her gaze lit on a mangled Barbie doll clad in a
bright red dress near her feet—a miniature, plastic version of
the bodies strewn on the ground. Jordan's vision blurred. Her
tears streamed unchecked.
"Shcho ty tut robysh?"
The sound of the voice jarred her. She didn't understand the
words. Getting a hold of herself, she swiped away her tears and
turned to find a Ukrainian soldier standing behind her, a
captain by his insignia.
"I'm sorry, I don't speak the language," she said. "English?"
"Ni. Presa tut ne dopuskayet'sya."
Jordan got the gist. He didn't speak English and he thought she
was a member of the press. She pulled down her mask, then
lifting the card and lanyard hanging around her neck showed him
her credentials. "Vy govorite po-russki?" Do you speak Russian?
"Ya ne iz pressy. Ya zdes' po gosudarstvennym delam." I'm not
press. I'm here on government business.
"Da," he said, switching to Russian. He gestured with his rifle
for her to move closer and squinted at the badge. "What business
does the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service have out here?"
"We had a DSS agent on board this flight, escorting a fugitive
from Guangzhou back to the U.S. I've been sent here to help
identify and recover the bodies."
Truth be told, she was still adjusting to the change of plans.
Five hours ago when she'd arrived at Kyiv Boryspil International
Airport, she'd been looking forward to a few days at the
Intercontinental hotel. She'd escorted the Israeli Ambassador's
wife from Tel Aviv to Kiev to participate in a week-long
International Women's Leadership Alliance, held annually in some
international city every year in July. Why they'd chosen Kiev in
the middle of a war was anyone's guess, but Jordan looked
forward to using her off-hours to research her family history.
Then, David Lory, the Regional Security Officer in Ukraine, had
thrown a wrench in her plans. He'd sent agents to take charge of
Mrs. Lindwood, along with orders for Jordan. Rent a car and set
off immediately for Hoholeve.
In route she'd managed to wrangle a few more details on her
assignment. There'd been a plane crash. PR Flight 91 had
departed from Guangzhou on mainland China, headed for Krakow,
just after 7:00 a.m. Halfway through the flight, without so
much as a mayday, the plane had gone down. Wreckage was strewn
across six miles near the small farming community of Hoholeve,
roughly halfway between Kharkiv and Kiev.
George McClasky, sixty years-old and a forty-year
veteran of the service, was on board. A DSS legend, he'd been
forced to retire from active duty at age fifty-seven, but still
contracted part-time with the agency helping with highly-
classified missions. Lory had texted her McClasky's picture.
Tall, beefy, with thinning gray hair, he reminded her of Brian
The fugitive's name was Kia Zhen, a thirty-two year-old Chinese-
American from San Francisco, suspected of gang affiliation and
charged with espionage. No photos were currently available. No
more specifics forthcoming.
While the captain spoke to his supervisor, Jordan contemplated
the debris field. It reminded her of pictures she'd seen of
Malaysia Air Flight 17, with one obvious difference. That had
been mayhem. This was organized chaos.
According to Lory, within an hour of the crash, the Ukraine Head
of Air Accidents and Incidents Investigation had taken control,
declaring himself the International Investigation Commander, or
IIC. His job was to oversee the hundreds of people swarming the
scene—everyone from the aviation specialists to the first
responders to the military and media. On his watch, there would
be no indelible photographs of dead bodies plastered on the
internet, no looting and no destruction of evidence.
"Tak," said the captain, signing off the radio. He waved,
commanding her attention and nodding to her credentials. "DSS
Special Agent Raisa Jordan, it says you are an Assistant
Regional Security Officer-I. What does the I stand for?"
"Well it will have to wait until tomorrow." He gestured toward
the road. "We are closing this area for the night. It will be
open again at dawn. Check-in with the IIC command center as you
leave. You must have an official sticker for your credentials or
you won't be allowed back inside the barricade."
"Thanks." Jordan took back her credentials and headed toward her
car, making a mental note to also give the IIC a picture of
McClasky for ID purposes.
She cut south and walked the other side of the fuselage as she
picked her way east. Heat from the smoldering wreckage kept the
chill of the night air temporarily at bay. The setting sun
colored the clouds a deep red and provided little light. The
fires made walking treacherous and slow. She wished now that
she'd remembered to put her duty belt with her flashlight on.
Studying the mangled remains, it was impossible to imagine what
happened. While the Malaysia Air flight had been shot down by
pro-Russian rebels, Hoholeve was hundreds of kilometers north
and west of the war zone. The only logical conclusion she could
draw was that PR Flight 91 had experienced some type of
equipment failure that caused the plane to break apart mid-air.
Near the skeleton of the plane's mid-section, she nearly
stumbled over the bodies of a man and woman, their arms
entangled as if holding tightly to each other as they fell from
the sky. Near them lay the body of a young woman wearing an
Jordan fought back another onslaught of tears. The idea that
there had been time for passengers and crew to contemplate their
fate horrified her. She remembered being in a car accident at
the age of sixteen and the fear that had gripped her in the
moments before the sedan had flipped. She could attest to the
fact that in what you perceive to be your final moments your
life flashes before your eyes. Anyone who tells you they are
ready to die is lying.
She kept her eyes peeled as she neared the end of the mangled
piece of fuselage. According to the airline, McClasky and Zhen
had been seated in row 30, seats A and C. The seating chart
placed them aft of the wings in a two-seat configuration. Based
on her assessment of the aircraft, she should be near the right
section of the plane. However, the odds of finding either man in
the gathering darkness were slim.
When the end of the burned-out hull came into view, Jordan
picked up her pace. All she wanted right now was to be clear of
the devastation. In a few more yards, there should be a path to
the left leading to the road. Then for the second time that day
her plans were derailed.
Near the end of the fuselage, in a row of seats that had landed
upright on the ground, sat George McClasky and Kia Zhen.
McClasky's neck was twisted at an unnatural angle, but otherwise
he appeared relatively unscathed. She would have recognized him
anywhere. His eyes were open, and he seemed watchful of the
prisoner shackled into the seat beside him.
Zhen's corpse was mangled, his face unrecognizable, the features
sheared away leaving a bloody pulp and his body canted sharply
to one side. One of his legs twisted behind the chair at an odd
angle and his right arm dangled from tendons, his fingers
brushing earth darkened by his own blood. Both men were dead.
"I found them," she blurted out, her shout triggering an echo
that traveled downline from person-to-person and back again. A
flashlight flared at the edge of the road near the press
barricade, and Jordan immediately wished she stayed quiet. If
she wanted to insure the protection of any classified materials
McClasky might be holding, the best thing to do was take them
off his body. If she'd kept quiet she would have had more time
to search. Now all she had were seconds.
She knew he would carry documents allowing for Zhen's transport
to the U.S., along with his and Zhen's passports. But Lory had
alluded to the fact that McClasky possessed some critical Intel
pertaining to national security—information he had refused to
share with his boots on the ground in mainland China. He told
his supervisor he couldn't trust the secured phones and internet
at the station or his contacts in Guangzhou. With what she knew
about the recent security breaches of U.S. corporations and
government data by the Chinese, Jordan didn't blame him. All
anyone could hope for is that he'd written down what he'd heard
rather than entrust it to his memory.
Jordan did a quick glance around. The closest people to her were
several Ukrainian soldiers and the pack of journalists they were
keeping at bay near the edge of the road. The nearest soldier
was three, maybe four hundred yards away. She estimated she had
sixty to seventy seconds before he could reach her.
Flipping open the agent's jacket, she checked McClasky's left
inside chest pocket first and found two U.S. passports and the
travel documents authorizing Zhen's extradition to the U.S. In
McClasky's right inside pocket, she discovered a small top
security envelope addressed to the Director of the Diplomatic
"Schcho ty robysh?" a soldier yelled, running toward her from
the road. He spoke in Ukrainian, but taken in context his
meaning was clear. He wanted to know what she was doing.
Holding up her left hand, she shook the passports and travel
documents, while using her right hand to stuff the envelope
under her waistband at the small of her back.
"I can identify these men," she explained in Russian.
The soldier started to reach for the papers, when the captain
she'd spoken to earlier pushed him aside and snatched the
documents out of her hand. "What are you yelling about? I
thought I told you to leave?"
"These are the men I was searching for." She pointed to
McClasky. "He's a diplomatic agent in possible possession of
The envelope burned against her spine.
"This area is closed," the captain said. "You must come back
Jordan shook her head. "I can't leave this man's body
A bit of an exaggeration given the area was under the protection
of the IIC and Ukrainian military, but she preferred to arrange
immediate transport if possible.
"There is no other alternative," the captain insisted.
Jordan stood her ground. "According to the Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations, the Ukraine may not detain a U.S. citizen
protected by diplomatic immunity. Nor may it ever seize U.S.
documents or property."
The captain looked incredulous. "Your man is not being detained.
"It doesn't matter. Let me make a call and I can have a Marine
detail here in one hour to transport him back to the U.S.
Embassy in Kiev."
She doubted she would win the battle, but she had to try. She
hadn't been able to check more than McClasky's jacket pockets.
Crossing her arms, Jordan waited for the captain to determine
the next course of action. Night had closed in around them, and
she was struck by how it dark and chilly it had grown. A half-
moon hung low in the western sky, its light weak behind heavy
cloud cover. In the distance, warm light shone from the windows
of a few farmhouses. There were no streetlamps or perimeter
lights to illuminate the crash scene, only the glow from the
fires burning in the wreckage.
The soldier who had first arrived leaned over and spoke to the
captain. He in turn shook the paperwork in her face.
"Sergeant Hycha says when he arrived you were searching this
man's pockets. What were you looking for?"
"As I explained, he's a DSS agent accompanying a fugitive. Any
items in his possession are the property of the U.S.
An argument could be made that the envelope tucked in her
waistband should have been turned over to the Ukrainian soldiers
to deliver to the U.S. State Department through official
channels, but Jordan couldn't see any reason to use a middleman
when possession was nine tenths of the law. She resisted the
urge to reach back and make sure the envelope was secure.
The captain looked at the paperwork in his hands, and then
barked something to the sergeant in Ukrainian. As he trotted
away, the captain turned back to Jordan. "I need to report to
the IIC before we proceed further. And I need to find someone
skilled in reading English."
"I can read English," she volunteered. "I'm happy to tell you
what the paperwork says. It identifies that man as a fugitive of
the United States." She pointed at Zhen. "He was being returned
to the U. S. for prosecution of crimes against the country."
The captain stared at her for a moment, looked at the Chinese-
American's desecrated body, then stepped away and spoke into his
radio. After what sounded like heated discussion, he turned and
barked orders to the soldiers still standing around. The men
jumped into action, spreading two body bags on the ground.
"What's going on?" she asked. It looked like the captain might
be preparing to release the bodies, which surprised her. Unless,
of course, he was simply preparing to take them away.