THE DISCRETE CHARM OF CHARLIE MONK

David Ambrose, Author . Warner $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-446-52796-5

Only a few people know who Charlie Monk really is. Is he, as Monk himself believes, a highly trained government hit man? Or is he merely the laboratory fodder of scientists conducting mind control experiments? Ambrose, who has previously dabbled in such reality benders (Coincidence, etc.), handles this one with confidence, twisting the plot gently at first, then with a hard, satisfying crank toward the end. In between government hits, Monk leads a casual life in Los Angeles, partaking in the usual pleasures sought by virile young men. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Dr. Susan Flemyng toils away on the leading edge of her specialty: replacing visual memory in the minds of amnesia victims. She is doing so, however, under duress. A secret government organization has kidnapped her son and won't give him back unless she oversees several experiments. Monk, it turns out, is one of them. Ambrose has several surprises in store, including government planners who want to create a fighting force of warriors with human intelligence and simian brawn. Monk figures out much of what's going on, and he doesn't drag his knuckles in seeking vengeance. Featuring an intriguing cast of characters who never turn out to be quite what they seem, this latest from Ambrose provides several hours of exhilarating diversion and a scary glimpse of scientific possibilities. Film rights sold to APG/Studio Canal. (Mar. 17)

Reviewed on: 02/24/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-446-61408-5
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