Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but many years passed before I heard of a place called China Lake. And even then it was mentioned in an overheard conversation, something that was none of my business.
Several years ago I was having lunch when a young man at a nearby table mentioned he’d reenlisting in the US Navy. Being a veteran myself, I naturally tuned him in. When his companion asked where he was headed, the sailor said, “China Lake in the California desert.”
I promptly dismissed it as a joke. I mean, who ever stood on the bridge of a ship while it sailed into a desert port?
Not long ago a neighbor hosted a community yard sale. Always on the outlook for cheap novels, I pawed through the collection and found “China Lake” by Anthony Hyde. Immediately, I recalled that conversation of yesteryear and read the brief description on the back cover.
The fact that it was published some 43 years ago did nothing to dampen the spy story that lay within. It’s an excellent read, the best twenty-five cents I spent in a while.