Occupational Hazard

John Chaloner, Author Severn House Publishers $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7278-4227-5
This slick yet intriguing novel begins when Max Beaumont, media tycoon, is given unwelcome publicity after saving the life of the American ambassador to England. To appease public interest and control further prying, Max chooses old acquaintance Felix Tolly, a highly regarded London newsman, to anchor a TV special on his life. Felix's early interviews elicit Max's own carefully edited autobiography. Born in 1924 Berlin to a Jewish mother and a Prussian father, he was sent to live with an aunt in London during Hitler's rise to power. After receiving rigorous military training at Sandhurst and distinguishing himself in battle, Max became friends with Felix in Germany late in 1945, when Felix was setting up radio services and Max, in what is perhaps the book's most compelling episode, started publishing his first newspaper. As the interviews progress, however, Felix is convinced that Max is surpressing something vital, and the final chapters indeed provide revelations about this self-made man. Even so, Max--obviously inspired by media mogul Robert Maxwell-- remains basically a facile, sterile prototype. This tale by the author of Three for the Road is told at a breathless pace, dominated by exclamation marks and marred by some egregious final melodramatics. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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