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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 111 x 181mm | 175g
  • Macdonald & Co
  • Sphere Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 074740139X
  • 9780747401391

Review Text

Former Edgar winner Hallahan (The Monk, The Trade) gives us a thriller about smuggling arms to Iran that combines edge-of-the-chair suspense with a passel of implausibilities. The well-matched adversaries here are Bobby McCall, a State Dept. biggie who monitors arms traffic, and Charlie Brewer, his best agent until he was flamed and given a nine-year sentence. McCall gets wind of an Iranian scheme to obtain American spare parts, all proscribed, and decides to stop arms-shopper Attashah by having the world's top three dealers murdered. . .simultaneously. (McCall has murder on his mind because somebody has just tried to throw him down a stairwell.) Meanwhile, Attashah, by bribing the Parole Board, has managed to spring Brewer and has given him an ultimatum: round up the spare parts within a month. McCall, too, has set a deadline for eliminating the dealers; implausibly, only late in the game does he realize that his adversary is Brewer (if McCall learns too soon that he has been sprung, the plot falls apart). By now, Brewer has executed a daring raid on a Silicon Valley plant to get that last vital microchip; McCall misses him by minutes at JFK, and later in Paris. An auto caravan moves the parts across Europe to Damascus, Syria, where Attashah will take delivery. In an ending that has way too many surprises for its own good, Brewer emerges as the good guy (he had deIivered defective parts) while McCall becomes the outcast (he had had Brewer framed to cover a job he had botched). Cheers and groans both for this uneven novel. Hallahan has as many moves as a wide receiver (that Silicon Valley sequence is dazzling), but they come at the expense of plot and characterization, Brewer going from patsy to mastermind, McCall from flawed hero to monster. (Kirkus Reviews)show more