In Defending College Heights, a veteran political reporter investigates
the murder of an Army recruiter within a tumultuous college community.
BEACON POINT, NEW YORK: U.S Army Captain and recruiting commander Kevin
Callahan is stabbed to death and his body is tossed in the guardhouse at
the main gate to Hudson Technical University (aka Hudson Tech), an engineering
school, historically friendly to the military, but also struggling to survive.
Regional media are not confident that the university administration and
law enforcement officials will be able to collaborate to solve the case.
At the same time, opposition to the war in Iraq and to military recruiting
at high schools and colleges in the Hudson River Valley has attracted favorable
Hudson Tech president
Martina Tiernan does not have all of the university trustees in her corner,
as she tries to rebuild the reputation of her school on the aftermath
of the murder. Some trustees believe that the negative publicity from
the murder has put the university’s future in doubt.
They prefer that Hudson Tech close—and its campus sold for a more
Angered by the lackadaisical
efforts of the media, politicians, law enforcement officials and the university
administration, Callahan’s uncle, Philadelphia
political reporter Jack Donnelly, sets out to conduct his own investigation,
unafraid to step on toes in a community where town-gown relations have
reached their worst.
Fearing an investigation
will further embarrass her school and set back eight years of institutional
progress, President Tiernan asks Donnelly to become her special assistant.
Tiernan allows Donnelly to investigate behind the scenes, provided he
helps her deal with the public relations fallout from the murder—without
speaking to the press.
Tiernan is trying to buy his silence to save her school, but, for the
sake of finding his nephew’s killer, he reluctantly
accepts her offer to come aboard. He learns that his nephew’s murder
was tied to much more than sentiments against Army recruiting. It was the
lynchpin to a much larger scheme—one that threatens to close Hudson
Tech’s doors—after 126 years—for good.