Anonymous Sender

M. McDowell, Author, Michael S. McDowell, Author Scholarly Resources $22.95 (349p) ISBN 978-0-8420-2589-8
It looks like Abbeville isn't the only publisher taking an unexpected plunge into fiction this fall season (see Small Worlds, Forecasts, July 29). Now Scholarly Resources, which specializes in reference and genealogy titles, is bringing out its first novel, an action thriller that provides brisk but modest entertainment. Debut novelist and former Navy officer McDowell lays out a 145-chapter plot that, in the manner of Clancy, traces the intersecting paths of myriad stories and characters, including FBI and CIA agents, Russian mobsters, drug dealers, a big-city homicide cop retired to a small town, several very rich and/or powerful men and a murderous but otherwise virtuous woman. Central to the plot, which spans three decades, are the trials of young Jake Weichert, who in 1986 settles down in Fox County, S.C., where he romances a beautician. Her violent fate, as well as that of another young woman killed by a cocaine overdose, spurs the quick-paced tale. McDowell's characters are only serviceable, and his prose barely that. Plotting is the thing here, however, and readers will enjoy the skill and ingenuity with which McDowell pieces together his intricate jigsaw puzzle of a tale. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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