cover image Hard Fall

Hard Fall

Ridley Pearson. Delacorte Press, $20 (403pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30138-1

Good background detail about terrorism gives Pearson's ( Probable Cause ) new thriller an edge, as he juggles dramatic forensic revelations with taut, sometimes melodramatic personal relationships. Pearson pits FBI agent Cameron Daggett, obsessed with capturing the terrorist responsible for the Lockerbie-style plane bombing that killed his parents and paralyzed his son, against German terrorist Anthony Kort, a member of the radical environmental vigilante group Der Grund. Kort plots to kill the CEO of companies dealing with EisherWorks, a German firm implicated in a toxic waste disaster that led to the death of his wife and infant. Daggett's nose for scientific evidence connects the murder of a flight instructor at Seattle Duhning Aircraft with the capture of a high-ranking member of Der Grund in Washington, D.C. The trail heats up in L.A. with the explosion and crash (``hard fall'') of a plane carrying hazardous chemicals. Daggett and sexy explosives expert Lynn Greene track Kort and his right-hand woman Monique to D.C., where remnants in the wreckage suggest that they plan to blow up a second plane--very soon. Daggett's loved ones become pawns in a race to the photo-finish showdown at National Airport. The male-bonding antics hover around frat-house level, and Pearson freely plays loose with standard FBI procedures, but all in all this is an entertaining read. Major ad/promo; Reader's Digest Condensed Book; BOMC selection. (Jan.)