LIBERTY: A Jake Grafton Novel

Stephen Coonts, Author . St. Martin's $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-28361-2

Coonts's latest gripping espionage thriller (after America, Hong Kong and Cuba) continues the adventures of Adm. Jack Grafton as he pursues major malefactors. This time, a rogue Russian general has sold nuclear warheads to a Mideastern anti-American terrorist best known for "hacking some tourists to death with a machete" in Egypt. Grafton must identify and locate the terrorist and his cronies before he detonates the weapons in the U.S. The action moves from central Russia and Suez to the American east coast. Readers familiar with the series know that while Grafton's methods trample on the law, the FBI and, especially, the CIA, he will be supported by persons at the highest level of government. Coonts's naval background and his legal education bring considerable authority to the story, and the narrative is loaded with detailed information about terrorist networks, modern weaponry and international intrigue. The plot is so intricate and involves so many characters that readers might lose track of who's who, though Coonts delineates the major players skillfully. The best character is a computer hacker whom Grafton gets released from prison so that she can invade the databases of law enforcement agencies in Washington. The action is slam-bang, and shifts in point of view accelerate the tension. The climax, played out in the recently renovated interior of the Statue of Liberty, is made for the movies. By the novel's end, Grafton is so detested by law enforcement that the only thing for him to do is retire. Readers will hope it's only temporary. Regional author tour. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/27/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
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