Excerpt: 'Breakpoint,' by Richard Clarke

If anyone is fit to write a government thriller, it's Richard Clarke, the veteran counterterrorism official and author of "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."

"Breakpoint" is an edge-of-your-seat adventure set in the year 2012. Clarke's story focuses on a computer software program that can outsmart the human brain. Designer children mingle with government plots in a tale that is gripping from beginning to end.

For any reader in need of a nonstop thrill, look no further than "Breakpoint."

Read an excerpt from "Breakpoint" below

0730 Eastern Standard Time Off the New Jersey Coast

The yellow flame leaped into the air where the ocean hit the land. It was followed by a boiling, churning blue-black cloud, climbing up around the now orange-red fireball. The cloud kept growing, forming into a pedestal shape above the water's edge. "Atlantic City, Atlantic City," the pilot said calmly into his chin microphone, "Coast Guard forty-one ten. We see what looks like a gas pipeline explosion at our ten o'clock position about fifteen miles ahead. Estimate position of flare as Pine Harbor. Over." From the flight deck of USCG 4110, an old twin-engine Casa 212 maritime patrol aircraft flying over the New Jersey coast, the plume had stood out against the dull-gray Sunday-morning sky. "Roger, forty-one ten. Proceed Pine Harbor for a visual and report," the radio cackled. "We'll check with Ops at headquarters to see if they know what happened."

Lt. Anne Brucelli had been out of the Academy for five years and loved flying, loved being part of the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.

She was looking forward to her new assignment in the vertical liftoff Osprey aircraft, but for now she was happy just to be in command of an old Casa. It got her up in the air, over the sea, and looking at things from a perspective that most people never had the chance to enjoy. Her copilot today was an Academy classmate, Lt. Chuck Appleton. He flipped down her visor and tapped it for telescopic mode. "Jesus, Anne, there's another flare way out there at our two o'clock," Appleton called. "That's over by Banning Beach." From the low cruising altitude of five thousand feet above the coast, the visual horizon was almost eighty miles. The second flame seemed to be coming from somewhere on western Long Island. Before they could report the second flare, they heard a crackling and then: "Coast Guard forty-one ten, this is Atlantic City, cancel that. Proceed south instead to Miller's Hook and perform low-level surveillance on white blockhouse at the end of point. Copy that? And, Anne, this one came to us from Department Ops, Homeland Security."

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