By Kathleen Jabs

Black Wings

A Mystery

LT Bridget Donovan suspects the worst when her former Naval Academy roommate, Audrey Richards, perishes in a botched take-off from an aircraft carrier. The Navy says it’s an accident, but facts don’t add up. Could it be suicide, or murder? Donovan’s unofficial investigation into what really happened, both during their past Academy days and in Richards’ final hours, forces her to examine the concepts of honor, justice and the role of loyalty in pursuit of those ideals.

Kathleen Toomey Jabs Soars With Her First Mystery, Black Wings

by Charlene Giannetti on Reading Around

 The public has a fascination about women in the military, particularly women who choose to enter either West Point or the Naval Academy. Kathleen Toomey Jabs graduated from Annapolis in 1988 and her first mystery, Black Wings, is an absorbing read, not only for its storyline but also for its peek inside this male-dominated environment. Jabs was no doubt inspired by her experience, but aside from the setting, the uniforms, and some incidents that occurred during her plebe year, the plot comes from her imagination.

Two strong women are the main characters in the book, Lt. Bridget Donovan, a deputy assistant for media operations, and Audrey Richards, a Navy aviator, who dies when her plane plunges into the ocean on a training exercise. Bridget doesn’t accept the party line on how her former roommate died. She undertakes her own investigation and uncovers an organized campaign of harassment involving black wings and a wall of shame that sabotages reputations and military careers.

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Excerpt from Black Wings

by Kathleen Jabs

“We’ll start with the easy questions first,” Wilkinson said. He knelt beside her and taped a red wire probe to her right forearm. “We have to establish a base line.” He placed green wires on her left arm and looped them into a pad on her fingertip attached to the lie detector machine. She avoided looking at the wires and studied the faint blue-green streaks of her veins. A trickle of sweat leaked down her back. She tapped the armrest with her right finger, and the wires began to shake.


Black Wings is an intelligent, powerful, and thought-provoking novel.

Edward W. Jewell, CDR, USN (ret)


Part thriller, part whodunit, I couldn’t put the book down.

Todd Balf, The Last Jungle, The Lost River


Told in taut, fast-moving chapters, Jabs’s suspenseful novel rings with authenticity.

Jon Peede, publisher, Virginia Quarterly Review