China Lake Summary
by Anthony Hyde

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China Lake

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Jack Tannis is a veteran of the Cold War campaign to safeguard the military technology of the U.S. from those who would betray the same to its enemies in the Soviet Union. David Harper, on the other hand, was once identified as a vital member of that insidious conspiracy to place the U.S. and its allies at peril. Tannis was not convinced of Harper’s guilt, but the evidence was difficult to disprove and despite his misgivings he remained silent as David Harper was branded a traitor.

Decades later, Tannis is forcibly reminded of the incident when a mysterious phone caller using Harper’s name sends him into the desert near the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake. When Tannis discovers the body of an East German emigre at the meeting site, he resolves to reopen the Harper file. Meanwhile, David Harper, pursuing a career as a nature photographer, is also reminded of the past in a deadly fashion. In consequence, he too determines to reconsider the circumstances which brought about his disgrace.

As the tangled web of the past unravels, each man finds himself drawn inexorably back to China Lake. And there in the wilderness, the final act of the tragedy unfolds to reveal an unexpected conclusion. The best-selling author of THE RED FOX is at his convoluted and obscure best in this latest work. So much so, that the reader may be compelled to reexamine relevant passages to discover nuances previously ignored.