The Sentry

Ross Kasminoff, Author
Ross Kasminoff, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $23 (312p) ISBN 978-0-517-59715-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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When an elderly homeless man is set on fire in the doorway of a Manhattan building, fire marshals Matt Kincaid and John Williams find themselves on the trail of the ``Sentry,'' a pyromaniacal cult leader with a grudge against the two. Though first-novelist Kasminoff vivifies the dangerous work of fire marshals, who are charged with investigating all cases of arson, he gives the city's promising locales and personalities short shrift while offering too many scenes of sexual sadism. He also relies on thriller cliches: the interracial buddy dynamic; comically inept supervisors; characters who fall in love at first sight in a cheerless (hospital) setting; and a self-centered political aide. After tragedy strikes one of the partners, the narrative takes off. But the exciting climax, which involves the mayor, hundreds of guests and fire extinguishers filled with gasoline, leaves too many loose ends, and the vigilante-style conclusion may leave readers with the bitter taste of ash in their mouths. (May)
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