MacKinnon's Machine

Sarah Wolf, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (315p) ISBN 978-0-671-70051-5
A retired British sergeant major is duped into training an assassination squad in this unlikely, refreshingly unpretentious thriller. Employed as a rancher, A. C. MacKinnon is lured away from New Zealand by a Yank, Kenneth Glover, who tells him the target of the guerilla raid will be Moammar Qaddafy. But it is actually the presidents of Egypt and Israel and the leader of the PLO--and then the assassins themselves--whom powerful interests want killed. After MacKinnon turns Glover's soldiers into a ``machine,'' the outfit's shady arms buyer, Kherman Shahabad, tries to murder him. MacKinnon escapes and, after a librarian helps him ascertain the real targets, resolves to head off the very men he trained. Wolf ( The Harbinger Effect ) does not wring much tension out of his intriguing premise. This miscarriage has two chief culprits: Wolf's hands-off approach to the motives for the assassination plots--attributing a scheme to ``geopolitical evil'' is unsatisfying--and, worse, his failure to build sympathy for MacKinnon. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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