cover image Linger


M. E. Kerr. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022879-8

Laced with strong antiwar sentiments, this Peyton Place -like drama set during the Persian Gulf crisis draws parallels between small-town politics and international warfare. Center stage are two waiters who work at the fashionable Pennsylvania restaurant known as Linger: Bobby, who quits his job to join the Army but never expects to be sent overseas; and his younger brother, Gary, who is left at home to muse on Bobby's sudden, angry departure. Other players in the troupe include the boys' parents, also employed at Linger; the rich, influential proprietor, Dunlinger, who methodically destroys anyone who threatens his rise to fame and fortune; Dunlinger's spoiled daughter, Lynn; and English teacher Jules Raleigh, whose passion for Lynn and outspoken stance against American involvement in the Middle East lead to his downfall. Kerr's ( Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! ; the Fell series) deft unraveling of interrelated events is startling and enlightening: readers will be absorbed in the intricate web of corruption and cover-ups as truths about hypocrisy, greed and manipulation come to light. Complex and challenging, this book is an intriguing examination of the power of propaganda. Ages 12-up. (July)