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There's no question that MacLean (The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra) is Mr. Adventure, and Goodbye California--an adventure-disaster novel hybrid--will lose him no readers. But after a suave opening, super-technically describing the tectonic plates on which the continents float and which determine the earthquake zones, with special attention given to faults around Los Angeles, the new novel descends instantly into hackwork not much above Batman and Robin Meet the Joker. In this case the dynamic duo is wisecracking Detective Sgt. Ryder and his Highway Patrolman son Jeff, both of the L.A.P.D. Ryder's wife Susan, the director's secretary at the San Ruffino nuclear power plant, has been abducted with some nuclear scientists and other hostages and removed along with twenty barrels of hijacked fission fuel to--well, Von Streicher's Folly, a San Simeon-like Xanadu built on a mountaintop (Von Streicher had a deathly fear of tidal waves) 50 miles back from the coast. This architectural monster has been commandeered by Morro, a one-eyed burnoose-clad mad Muslim whose terrorist gang is now holding all of Los Angeles hostage and threatening to slide much of the state into the Pacific by way of exploding ten bombs at once, with a force 2000 times that of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombs. To show that he means business, Morro blows up one bomb in Santa Monica bay and sends a twenty-foot tidal wave through L.A. And so on. Non-fans need not apply.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday