Mayday Man: A Novel of Nuclear Peril

William Beecher, Author Potomac Books $15.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-08-036729-3
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Beecher sets his first novel, a promising but ultimately disappointing thriller, in the early '80s. Egyptian radicals, frustrated by Sadat's recent peace with Israel, propose to introduce a nuclear option. Money begged from Libya, plutonium stolen from South Africa and a jetliner hijacked from the Soviet Union give the conspirators a bomb and a delivery system. Can Israeli intelligence--and an American reporter--foil the plan? Beecher, former assistant secretary of defense and longtime foreign correspondent, handles technical details convincingly. He is particularly effective in presenting the strategic advantages of a nuclear strike on Israel. The novel's structure incorporates successive shifts in focus that make the reporter's role embarrassingly redundant, and generate presumably unintended admiration for the Egyptians' skill in executing the preliminary steps of their scheme. More seriously, the novel's resolution depends on an unlikely plot twist by which readers are more likely to feel deceived than surprised. Despite its intriguing premise, the work sinks into the pack of routine adventure stories. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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