A Philadelphia arms-dealer/private-eye does episodic battle against a Mafia killer and a Red Brigade terrorist. . . while he...



A Philadelphia arms-dealer/private-eye does episodic battle against a Mafia killer and a Red Brigade terrorist. . . while he agonizes over his crumbling marriage and his terrible (though sometimes nobly-motivated) behavior. Georgie Fraser, 46, was--as we learn in periodic flashbacks--a delinquent kid, with a lousy background: he barely escaped a long prison sentence, went on to college and shamus/merchant success, all thanks to cop Danny Surrett. So now that Danny has become a lawyer with Mafia connections, George can't say no when his mentor/friend needs help. He arranges an arms sale for Danny to Liberia, then finds out (to his horror) that the guns wound up, with bloody results, in terrorist hands. In fact, Danny is helping Mafia don Magliorocco to set up a guns-for-cocaine trade network, and George is recruited to help out with the negotiations--which are interrupted by an attack by Magliorocco's enemy in a new Mafia power-struggle. Soon, then, George is trailing this Mafia nemesis, Baxter Dylis, but he doesn't quite manage to kill him in their first showdown--and Dylis leaves the country. Then the focus shifts to George's love-life for a few chapters: tensions with lawyer-wife Anne (of tony background) explode into ugly sparring; George turns private-eye again to catch Anne in bed with her law partner; he takes off for a moody breather in Italy, falling in love with chemical engineer Silvia. But once again Danny calls on George's loyalty: the Red Brigade/Mafia deal has gone awry, the terrorist negotiator escaping with $500,000; unless the money is recovered Danny will be Mafia-killed. So it's up to George to track down Calvacadi of the Red Brigade and extract the money from him --which he does, in Venice, by using Calvacadi's terminally ill child (with regret) and by surviving a shootout with one nice twist (the reappearance of that other nemesis). Finally, however, George finds a way to get free of the Mafia connection, save Danny's life. . . and regain some of his scruples. Far too much shallow Angst on George's part, with soupy lapses during that Italian romance--but as usual, Whitten (Conflict of Interest, Sometimes a Hero) writes his action/investigation sequences with visceral energy, making this sturdy, mostly entertaining fare for fans of one-on-one suspense.

Pub Date: May 1, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1983