Codename, Cipher

Chuck Freadhoff, Author Walker & Company $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1150-2
Freadhoff's slick, well-written debut is lent an air of authority and authenticity by recent events in Europe, most notably the reunification of Germany. Holding a U.S. Army major hostage, terrorists have gained control of a cache of nuclear weapons housed in an Army ammunitions depot in Ochsenburg, Germany, and have threatened to detonate the weapons unless infamous terrorist Hamid al Hamani is released from prison. Jonathan Cane, a journalist for an L.A. newspaper who had once lived in Ochsenburg, requests and is granted the assignment. As Cane delves deeper into the incident, he raises myriad questions. Why are Henry's captors attempting to free Hamani, previously denounced by his own comrades? And why don't the terrorists simply take the explosives and flee? Is it really Hamani they want or are they using his release as a cover for some other demand? As Cane approaches the truth, he realizes he is also perilously close to his own demise. Freadhoff builds suspense well throughout, but a too hasty resolution detracts from his otherwise taut novel. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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