by Arthur Hailey ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 5, 1990
Hailey here eschews his customary attention to industrial detail in favor of action-packed melodrama with trendy bells and whistles. Early on, a band of Peruvian revolutionaries under the command of a hired gun for one of Colombia's drug cartels stages a well-planned abduction from a supermarket parking tot in New York's Westchester County. There axe three victims: the wife (Jessica); preteen son (Nicky); and father (Angus) of Crawford Sloane, star anchor-man at CBA-TV. A local stringer with a police-band radio stumbles on the crime, which soon becomes a media circus. Whilst the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies dither, the network swings into high gear, assigning its top correspondent, Harry Partridge (a sometime contender for Crawf's megabuck job and Jessica's first lover) to head the investigation. Meanwhile, the kidnappers fly their hostages (drugged and in coffins) to a remote hideaway in the Amazon rain forest. From this seemingly safe haven, they announce that CBA can ransom the prisoners by broadcasting propaganda tapes extolling the Maoist philosphy of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). Although Partridge and his resourceful crew track the terrorists to their jungle lair, Margot Lloyd-Mason, a chilly blonde who was put in charge of the network after its acquisition by a multinational conglomerate, undermines the task force's efforts. Her intent is to keep career-threatening costs to a minimum and spare the parent organization any chance of embarrassment on the score of its unsavory dealings with high officials in Lima. Spurred on by the murder of Angus and piano-playing Nicky's loss of two fingers, noble newsman Harry overcomes the daunting odds. He leads a daring raid that results in the rescue of Crawf's family (minus father) and, after a climactic chase-cum-gun-battle, his own death. At the close, the good-guy survivors are winging homeward to uncertain futures while the earthbound mercenaries scatter to escape the lethal fates their failure has earned them. A blood-and-thunder thriller that, though unwontedly shy of nuts-and-bolts background, seems sure to keep Hailey's undemanding fans turning its 576 pages at rapid clips.
Pub Date: April 5, 1990
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1990
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