Balboa Firefly

Jack Trolley, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0117-9
Trolley, who under his real name of Tom Ardies published several thrillers in the '60s and '70s (Kosygin Is Coming; Palm Springs), returns to thriller writing after 16 years with this first-rate page-turner about a madman who plans to shoot down a commercial airliner in the glide path into San Diego's international airport, Lindbergh Field, already the center of controversy because it is situated over a residential neighborhood. This is an intriguing enough concept by itself, but Trolley ups the ante with a second madman who has the same plan, more or less. Both men, struggling realtor Joseph Foley and tobacco executive Grayson Grenier III, hope to make a financial killing in real estate holdings if the airfield is closed or moved. Neither is aware of his counterpart's efforts, but Grenier knows Foley from an earlier meeting and plans to frame him for the crime, using a sadistic ex-KGB assassin as his agent. Meanwhile, Foley plots on his own, after a fashion: he suffers from a multiple personality disorder that results in his taking on three diverse personas. All this isn't nearly as convoluted as it sounds-and at least twice as exciting. Pitted against the villains is San Diego police sergeant Tommy Donahoo, drawn in the familiar mold of the middle-aged, hard-drinking, divorced and unappreciated cop but still a most engaging hero, one worthy of a sequel-as is Trolley, who, judging from this gripping yarn, has stayed away from the genre for 16 years too long. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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