Private Sector - Brian Haig I just love wise-cracking protagonists; they have a skill I've never been able to develop. Sean Drummond is the JAG attorney creation of Brian Haig, son of Alexander (you know, of "Don't worry, Alex is here. I'm in charge, so nothing to worry about" fame), but I won't hold that against him.
Major Drummond has been asked to spend a year working for a private law firm - Culper, Hutch, and Westin - that represent some of the District of Columbia's most respectable institutions, as an experiment in army/private sector cooperation. The fact that he is unpopular with his army superiors for his sharp tongue and insubordination might also have had something to do with it. Drummond begins irritating his stuffed shirt bosses from the moment he arrives. He figures if he makes himself sufficiently unpopular, he can get himself kicked out of the program, where he follows in the footsteps at the law firm of Lisa Morrow, another JAG officer and Sean's erstwhile old flame.
Lisa had been killed in the Pentagon parking lot just before a dinner date that Sean hopes might rekindle some of the former embers. Her death is followed by three others, all the ostensible work of a serial killer whose modus operandi appears very similar to that of the LA Killer of several years before, i.e., the victims' necks had all been snapped. There was no apparent connection between the victims.
Sean, in the meantime has become embroiled in an audit of Morris Telecommunications, a company that has retained his law firm. Sean discovers some unusual financial arrangements, but he has no reason to suspect anything particularly nefarious until his brother, a financial wizard with spreadsheets, points out that several "swaps" on Morris's books put Sean's firm in some financial jeopardy. (Swaps are what sank Enron. Basically, two entities get together to show revenue on their books for the largely insubstantial use of each other's services. It's a way of propping up income statements to keep stock prices up, all legal according to generally accepted accounting principles, but another reason to shoot the accountants before going after the lawyers. :)) ) Drummond also begins to realize that the firm's attorneys might be capitalizing on his inexperience with corporate law to set him up as a fall guy. They to reckon without his long experience as a criminal attorney for the army.
In the meantime, Janet Morrow, Lisa's sister and assistant district attorney in Boston, has decided to follow the investigation into her sister's death from close up. She and Sean discover that Lisa's emails had been hidden and quarantined in the firm's network behind a secure firewall. Sean is accused of malfeasance by the firm, but by some not-so-subtle pressure on the privates of his boss (in a very funny scene), Sean extorts the help of the firm's computer expert to examine Lisa's emails. It's there that he discovers a link between the victims. Lisa had known all of them.
Soon Drummond is snared in a mesh of conflicting loyalties, as he discovers that some governmental agencies are involved in some very secret business. A fun read. Drummond is a great character who ranks with Nelson DeMille's wiseacre CID investigator.