Catalyst

Philip Conford, Author, Philip Cornford, Author Bantam Books $19.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07122-1
This first superpower suspense thriller by Cornford, a seasoned Australian news reporter and author (a previous novel, The Outcast , was published in England and will be issued here next year) is a zinger. Archreactionary D. M. Lysenko, powerful member of the Politburo Central Committee, is assassinated by an explosives-wielding assailant who then blows himself up as well, leaving only smudges in the blood-spattered snow as forensic evidence. Colonels Klimenti Amalrik and Simis Nikishov are called in by their KGB bosses to investigate. The Russians are convinced the CIA is behind the killing until a conservative U.S. senator, the American equivalent of Lysenko, meets the same fiery fate. Credit is claimed by the Vigilantes for Peace, a group seeking total nuclear disarmament. Cornford's smoothly intricate plot, ricocheting through realistic settings and featuring vibrant, believable characters, earns the reader's full attention. Though he will inevitably be compared to Martin Cruz Smith, Cornford brings his own distinctive, original voice to the the genre. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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