Gary Hardwick, Author . Morrow $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-057584-7

Hardwick, a veteran film and television producer, screenwriter and director who also writes books (Color of Justice ), has a moderately interesting story to tell in this political thriller about an African-American assassin working for an elite government intelligence agency with ties to the CIA. But despite his publisher's attempts to promote him as the black Elmore Leonard, Hardwick's prose isn't really up to the job, making even the more exciting scenes hard going. What he does share with Leonard is the ability to quickly capture the hard edge of Detroit street and crime life, as his lead character Luther Green uses what he learned growing up in that Michigan city to track down the man who hired and mentored him. Alex Deavers is now suspected of killing a U.S. senator on a fact-finding trip to AIDS-ravaged Africa, and the head of Luther's agency wants him dead. Despite his doubts about his friend's guilt, Green follows orders and sets off after Deavers. Few readers will be surprised to discover that they soon share these doubts, which increase with every twist of Hardwick's plot. A rewrite—or some better editing—could have made this a winner. Agent, Bill Fawcett at Sarah Lazan Books. (Jan. 4)

FYI: Film rights to the novel have been sold to Sony Pictures and Original Films, with Jamie Foxx to star.

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-06-057585-4
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-212773-0
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