John R. Maxim, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (374p) ISBN 978-0-380-97301-9
By hinging plot twists on mistakes in reasoning and identity, Maxim (The Shadow Box) puts a smart spin on this tense, clever new thriller. What seems to be the main objective in the tale--an Islamic group's plan to gain access to nuclear weapons in a guarded warehouse--turns out to be the McGuffin that pits unknown bad guys against former Israeli-backed killer Elizabeth Stride (aka the Black Angel) and former East German terrorist Martin Kessler (aka Reineke the Fox). Elizabeth is trying to build a normal life in Hilton Head while Kessler is trying to rekindle their romance. Soon, however, Elizabeth discovers that the local tennis academy is fronting an underground railroad that spirits Muslim women into the West. Among the women is Aisha, the niece of master plotter Gamal Bandari, who needs her to get into that warehouse. During a national tennis tournament in Hilton Head, the two lovebird ex-killers find themselves staving off a crisis that threatens to turn into a nuclear conflagration. In Elizabeth and Kessler, Maxim has created vivid characters who have a witty take on their mythic reputations. There's hard-edged cynicism here: Elizabeth was lied to by her superiors when they set her up as an avenging angel, and the foulest villain is a nameless banker who thinks that causing a war among the countries of the Middle East would be for their own good. In the end, however, it's the smartly executed play of misunderstanding that makes this high-octane thriller stand out from the pack. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
MP3 CD - 978-1-4233-5439-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-380-78669-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-750-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-380-80397-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-771-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56740-550-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 2 pages - 978-1-56740-256-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4233-5440-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-8625-4
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