PATH OF THE ASSASSIN
If Thor's second international thriller had any more testosterone, it would grow hair. This follow-up to The Lions of Lucerne is loaded with explosions, gunfights, car chases and hairbreadth escapes as Secret Service agent Scot Harvath battles religious extremists and incompetent CIA spooks to save the world from WWIII. The Hand of God, an apparent Israeli terrorist group, is blowing up mosques in Saudi Arabia, assassinating Arab leaders and hijacking airplanes, all in an effort to provoke the Arab world into war with Israel. Harvath tries to derail the terrorist plot and avenge the deaths of buddies killed in the first book. Aided by Meg Cassidy, a beautiful Chicago public relations expert, Harvath chases the terrorist leader and a silver-eyed assassin from Hong Kong through Europe to North Africa. However, since Cassidy is the only one alive who has seen the face of the terrorist leader, the assassin chases them, too, trying to kill Cassidy before she can point him out. The story is one bloody episode after another, with a touch of romance and colorful turf battles between the CIA, FBI, Delta Force and Harvath himself. Thor stacks the deck in favor of his hero—Harvath never makes a mistake, and his view of how counterterrorism operations should be conducted is invariably proven correct. To top it off, he boasts about his remarkable talents. With its infallible hero, fetching sidekick and wicked bad guys, this international shoot 'em up sticks close to formula, but the well-choreographed action and thrills will keep readers engrossed. Agent, Heidi Lange, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)
Forecast:Thor is the host of a PBS travel show, Traveling Lite. Cross-promotion with PBS, plus an eight-city tour, will give him an edge in this crowded genre.