cover image Payback


J. C. Pollock, Author Delacorte Press $18.95 (371p) ISBN 978-0-385-29830-8

Halfway through Pollock's ( Mission M.I.A. ) latest right-wing techno-thriller, a character asks, ``One KGB illegal has it within his power to cause Gorbachev's downfall?'' That is what readers are meant to believe as top KGB agent Nikolai Malik gets his hands on a portable, U.S.-made nuclear weapon. Deployed, the weapon could make fateful enemies for America and allow Malik's anti-Gorbachev faction to return to the ``good old'' Cold War days. But Malik, a sadistic pervert, has brutalized, raped and killed Kate Gannon in New York, and uses diplomatic immunity to get off scot-free. However, Kate's husband Jack, civilian consultant and veteran of the top-secret Delta special forces, is set on revenge. Uusing his old-boy contacts, Gannon manages to elude both the FBI and CIA in pursuit of Malik; meanwhile, Soviet military intelligence is also after the KGB agent. The action scenes fall oddly flat, but Pollock's gift for lovingly detailed descriptions of various weaponry may satisfy fans of the genre. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)