The first of a pulp series of books, "Stormbirds" is more self-contained than many more serious novels. The story of this first book begins with VE day. The end of the war in Europe heralds a newer war with the Soviets. Monopolizing and exploiting German technological breakthroughs will be critical in the new cold war. In "Stormbirds", a cadre of USAF officers gathers captured German rockets and planes in a remote desert base. They've got captured pilots and scientists as well - but can't trust them much. Instead, using ENIAC, they amass a small number of USAAF pilots with the idea of forming the first of America's jet fighter squadrons. Distrust of the Germans and their planes is only one the problems - our heroes must also contend with an insane chain of command determined to make the cranky planes work and fight in ways they were not designed to be used. Kelleher obviously devoted a lot of time to detail other writers would have glossed over (especially in one unforgettable scene describing a hideous end for the luckless pilot of a rocket plane). If the characters aren't exactly out of Henry James, they're better than the mannequins of other books, and the flight scenes prove the author has an uncommon interest in the adventure of aviation.