The tag line ""This time it's personal"" comes to mind in Brown's 11th techno-thriller (after Fatal Terrain). Instead of foreign countries and the threat of WWIII, international terrorism hits the streets of Sacramento, Calif., in the form of Gregory Townsend, who is apparently out to unite California's motorcycle gangs and corner the amphetamine market. His one mistake is wounding the brother of Brown's series hero, veteran Patrick McLanahan, during the robbery of a mall. The resulting mayhem is a tribute to Brown's storytelling abilities; it's an unlikely but successful mix of a revenge plot, a meditation on vigilante justice and a superhero-origin story. McLanahan becomes a one-man army, known as the Tin Man, with the help of some cutting-edge technology from his current employer, a defense contractor. It turns out that Townsend's ultimate aims are not quite what they appear to be; Brown's intentions are just as slippery. While the dark side of vigilante justice has haunted pulp fiction heroes like the Avenger and comic book heroes from Batman to the Punisher, it's a rarity in thriller fiction, which usually likes to keep things black and white and far from home. Brown does the opposite in this novel--he gives this modern Batman a hard-edged twist and a dose of techno-reality, and through a neat plot twist shows how the power to survive and to commit violence is both painful and seductive. Bottom line, it's a page-turning start to a fresh new direction for both Brown and McLanahan. And now that the Tin Man is part of Brown's universe, it will be interesting to see what Brown makes of him. Major ad/promo; simultaneous BBD Audio. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998 Release date: 05/01/1998 Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-45581-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 464 pages - 978-0-553-58000-6
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