cover image Revolution #9: A Thriller

Revolution #9: A Thriller

Peter Abrahams, Author Mysterious Press $18.95 (325p) ISBN 978-0-89296-481-9

Radical terrorists of the '60s, now fugitives, face the karmic consequences of their past mistakes in this suspenseful but uneven thriller by the author of Hard Rain. Implicated in a campus bombing that killed an innocent boy, protagonist Blake Wrightman took on the identity of Cape Cod lobsterman Charlie Ochs and lived in solitude for 20 years. But early in this tale, Charlie falls in love and marries Emily, who is pregnant with his child. On the couple's wedding night, two government agents collar Charlie and threaten to hold him accountable--unless he helps them nail his former accomplices. The next morning Charlie sets off on a perilous journey across the continent and deep into his own past. Abrahams adroitly juggles the initially unconnected stories of his large cast of characters, building tension steadily as he brings their paths closer together. But other elements are less convincing. The federal agent who contacts Charlie is dying of cancer and pursuing an unauthorized personal vendetta. The frequent '60s flashbacks are too pat and verge on caricature. And the novel's central ironic refrain--yesterday's radicals as today's materialists--is hardly fresh, though Abrahams certainly milks it: the kid who built the radicals' bomb now supplies SDI software to the Pentagon; the group's old leader now develops real estate and has appeared on Jeopardy! Still, expert pacing and an intriguing plot hold the reader's interest. (Aug.)