A Slow Suicide

William Jovanovich, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $18.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-15-183095-4
This latest book by publisher/novelist Jovanovich begins with promise. A small-time thug has been recruited to execute a hospital patient who is about to reveal the secrets of his mobster-employer's financial records. Intercepted by the FBI, the thug is replaced by Mark Petrie (born Alexandr Vladimirovich Pyotorov), member of a commission created by President Ford to investigate other government agencies. It is his colleagues' intention to double-cross Petrie, prevent the killing, and have Petrie arrested and detained. They fear he and his Russian friend, chemistry professor Victor Ivanovich Turcheff, will inform the world of a scientific device, newly developed by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. and capable of creating almost unlimited energy--a disclosure that would thwart the sub rosa accord permitting the U.S.S.R. a three-year head start on exploiting the invention. Petrie eludes the elaborate trap as well as the ensuing complex international manhunt for him and Turcheff. Jovanovich ( The World's Last Night ) writes literate prose, but his plot fails to achieve credibility, leaving the reader with the feeling of having opened a beautifully wrapped, empty box. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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