The Last Family

John Ramsey Miller, Author Bantam Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-10213-0
Many thriller writers have cut their teeth against imagined homicidal maniacs-Thomas Harris, Robin Cook, Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follett among them. Here's another, and while Miller's first novel doesn't rank with the debuts of any of the above, it's a generally strong showing, suspenseful in spurts but burdened by awkward pacing and characters who are as generic as they are robust. Particularly disappointing is the novel's villain, Martin Fletcher, a rogue DEA agent escaped from prison who begins the novel-in a flurry of smart, brutal scenes-by wiping out the family of one of a team of DEA agents who took Fletcher down and whom he blames for the death of his own wife and child. For all his vicious cunning, Fletcher remains almost a cipher, boasting none of the warped charisma of Hannibal Lecter or sleek lethal sexiness of the Jackal. Fletcher has one family left to hit, that of the team's leader, Paul Masterson, who, maimed and soul-shattered by Fletcher's last assault, has been hiding out from both his family and the DEA. Pressed back into action, Masterson reassembles his team for a vengeful hunt and counter-hunt. Masterson makes an appealing hero, but the wounded vet returning to battle isn't exactly an original conceit. Miller keeps readers guessing with unexpected twists-at least right up to the sea-set climax, way too long and bombastic, which ends the novel with a thud as surely as it begins with a scream. Rights sold in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Brazil; Major ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
Paperback - 978-0-553-65686-2
Paperback - 978-0-553-65687-9
Paperback - 978-0-553-65688-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-553-57496-8
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