by Austin Bay ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 17, 1996
James Bond lives again in a wildly improbable, marginally absurd military thriller that forges high-tech hardware and ESP. Armchair military strategist Bay (A Quick and Dirty Guide to War, not reviewed; coauthor of From Shield to Storm, 1992, etc.) reworks the Bond formula, introducing Wesley ""Wes"" Hawkins, a psychic soldier and employee of an ultrasecret extrasensory-perception government spy bureau called ""The Shop,"" managed by a female psychic puppeteer named Chatterly. Wes is ordered to haunt a dingy bar in Toulon, posing as a mercenary, so that he can infiltrate the Texas-based high-tech empire of American billionaire industrialist Coleman Oswald Mosley, a failed presidential candidate and impassioned model railroader. Wealthy enough to own a fleet of 747's and military hardware sufficient for a dozen Third World dictatorships, Mosley wants Wes to assassinate former American President and avid golfer Grover Renwick as well as current President Randall Duncan. To make sure Wes cooperates, Mosley's paramilitary thugs abduct his daughter. What follow are several scenes of artfully executed military mayhem in Bosnia, Somalia, northern Virginia, and Montana in which Wes distinguishes himself. While Mosley and his army communicate by beepers and e-mail, Wes chats with Chatterly by focusing his mental powers on crystals. Alas, Chatterly keeps her powerful thoughts to herself, saying little about the assassination plot or the importunate temptations of Sari, a leggy femme fatale posing first as a French chambermaid, then as a topless Caribbean nymph. Wes also gets flirtatious glances from the President's ""tigress"" wife, Carolyn Duncan, who, we presume, has other things on her mind than universal health care. After some Byronic brooding on the dehumanizing aspects of being manipulated by nasty people, Wes finds the fate of the world in his hands, and also finds himself, his daughter, and the President's son in a hail both of gunfire and psychic blasts. Implausible but readable fantasy for Soldier-of-Fortune fans.
Pub Date: July 17, 1996
Page Count: 240
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996
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