Extreme Prejudice

Guy Durham, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (362p) ISBN 978-0-399-13598-9
Retired CIA agent Michael Pretorius is lured out of retirement to take on agents of Armageddon in this ambitious but undistinguished thriller. Baffled by the apparent suicide of superspy Phillip Mathieson, the agency wants Pretorius to ``freelance'' an investigation in Vienna. What no one knows, however, is that Mathieson had stumbled into the path of a Soviet plot to start WW III. The ringleaders--the GRU brass and a demagogue named Feliks--will stop at nothing to protect their plans, and they break the rules against assassinating the agents of rivals. Several of the operatives who die are Japanese, adding an interesting dimension to Durham's ( Stealth ) yarn. However, when a KGB agent is murdered as well, the Soviets' ``white hats'' warily seek a meeting with Pretorius who up to then had been hidden and helped by a Sidney Greenstreet-esque German power broker. All the while, U.S. satellites are observing what seem to be Soviet preparations for war, but this story line is poorly developed. Another major flaw is the characterization of Feliks: his role is glossed over, and he is more comical than compelling. Moreover, the focus on Pretorius ceases halfway through the novel as overlong disquisitions on the Soviets and Japanese take over the plot. Admittedly, they play the key roles in the strong denouement, providing still another surprise just when it seems the killing is over. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 370 pages - 978-0-425-13574-7
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