Again, this idea started when I read that there was a place in Pakistan that was so barren, back in the 60s, NASA used to send its Apollo astronauts there to give them some idea what the Moon was going to look like up close.
Pakistan also has a very long runway somewhere near Karachi I think that is a back-up place for the space shuttle to land if it ever had to.
This started me thinking about what would happen if someone was actually able to hijack the shuttle and force it to land someplace. So, that’s the plot of this book, essentially terrorists force the shuttle to land somewhere in southwest Asia and demand ransom, or something.
By the time I got to the end of this book, I knew there would be no more Chopper Ops. Berkley had offered me a contract to do a fourth, but at the time, the Starhawk books looked like they were going to be a go, so I turned them down, a very rare circumstance. Some readers got really PO’d at me for leaving the main character sitting on the edge of a cliff in the last scene, missing this beautiful woman he’d fallen in love with, and who was killed during the mission.
The end of this book also has a sort of sci-fi twist to it, and it also gave me an excuse to reintroduce the place called “War Heaven,”which was a book I’d done nearly ten years before.
The cover art on “Shuttle Down” is very, very lame. I don’t think many people at the publisher were paying attention by this time, knowing the series had reached its end. But, come on, at least draw a good cover.