Marcus Wynne, Author . Forge $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-87795-8

The love of pure violence fuels Wynne's breathless first thriller, populated by characters for whom bloodshed is a way of life. These people are not all criminals; they are athletes, police and soldiers who seek and thrive on a violent lifestyle, perpetually in danger of crossing the fine line between sane and psychopathic behavior. Jonny Maxwell, once the mastermind of the Defense Department's Special Operations Command, was a spy, infiltrator and killer—virtually a one-man army who loved every minute of his high-risk adventures. Jonny, unfortunately, had one serious flaw: he was insane, a serial rapist who used his skills to avoid detection for years. When his partner/protégé and only friend, Dale Miller, learned the truth about him, his testimony sent Jonny to prison. But at the start of the novel, Jonny has escaped. It is assumed he will either flee the country and join a mercenary army or use his talents to embark on a life of crime, and Dale is assigned to "bring him down." Naïvely, Dale interprets this to mean he must return Jonny to prison, but his superiors want Jonny killed. Wynne keeps technical detail about secret operations and weaponry to a necessary minimum, avoiding techno-babble, and his characters are well drawn—particularly Jonny, who is a formidable villain without ever becoming a caricature. At the heart of this thoughtful thriller is a compelling question: why does a man go bad? Intelligent in content and competent in execution, this is a most suspenseful and entertaining tale. (Sept. 26)

Forecast:This strong first thriller comes complete with a blurb from Stephen Coonts and the stamp of authenticity conferred by Wynne's experience as a paratrooper and counter-terrorism instructor—sales should be healthy.

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Mass Market Paperbound - 392 pages - 978-0-8125-4944-7
Ebook - 319 pages - 978-1-4299-8259-7
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