Don't Speak to Strangers

Marion Rosen, Author St. Martin's Press $4.99 (314p) ISBN 978-0-312-95000-2
Fifth grader Jonathan Grady gets into a stranger's car after the driver convinces him that his parents have died in a terrible accident. The driver, Leon Hoffman, is a psychotic Vietnam veteran out to avenge himself on three of his old war buddies--whom he believes let him rot in a Viet Cong torture cell--by kidnapping their children. Three years ago he kidnapped one child, a girl named Maria. Now, with Jonathan also in his grasp, he is ready to snatch the third child and then to kill them all. It's a race against time for rookie FBI agent Kira Thomasian in her desperate search for Hoffman and the children. Yet this mundane thriller, a first novel, lacks both action and tension. Perhaps it's because Hoffman isn't identified and the search for him doesn't swing into high gear until more than halfway through the book, or perhaps it's because Hoffman is such a cardboard stereotype of a man driven insane by war. The only sparks of interest come from Jonathan's rebelliousness: he convinces Maria to run away from Hoffman and later shoots and wounds Hoffman when he tries to bury the children alive in a hole. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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