cover image City of War

City of War

Neil Russell. Harper, $7.99 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-06-172168-7

Russell’s uneven debut pits hunky billionaire adventurer Rail Black against an unlikely combo of villains. Stuck in L.A. freeway gridlock, Rail is shocked to see drop-dead gorgeous Kimberly York, entirely naked, escape from a nearby van. She winds up in his Rolls-Royce and soon reveals that she possesses information of a highly sensitive nature, which has made her a target. Rail wants to help her, but his only lead is the enigmatic phrase “city of war,” and there’s little excitement in his efforts to glean further clues from the kind of offbeat friends and colleagues that only billionaire adventurers seem to have. There’s not enough action for a thriller and not enough intrigue for a mystery, and a glut of description and dialogue will leave readers snoozing. (Mar.)