Warner, August 2001, 24.95, 417 pp.
Thirty-four years old Fritz Tulley is a tenured professor at a prestigious Texas university. The teachers and students at the college consider the daredevil a bit of a golden boy not just because of his youthful academia success, but because he is a maverick risk taker. His future is rosy until he meets and falls in love with Marnie, whose husband uses his clout with the university to get Fritz fired.
Fritz returns home to his family's isolated Maryland estate, but resides in a ramshackle cottage doing drugs and screwing himself into oblivion. His one passion is bird watching in the swamp adjacent to his shack. He's busy taking pictures of the birds when he sees a plane land nearby with three men exiting before one is shot. He later finds out the victim is a Russian stationed in Washington DC and the corner of the land where he was shot belongs to James Roach, an Undersecretary of State with a very shady reputation. Although Fritz does not report the shootings to the police he has done some investigating on his own, which places him and those he cares about in danger.
Even though BIRDS EYE VIEW is a very serious thriller, J.F. Friedman has a breezy light-hearted style of writing. Thus, when something actual happens to one of the characters, the audience feels shock and disorientation. Although Fritz is no saint he is a decent person caught between a rock and a hard place. Even so, he is trying to do the right thing by bringing a criminal to justice. He is the kind of character that readers want in a series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner