Kirkus Star


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Maling's stockbroker-detective series is strong on financial shenanigans, and so is this swift London/Holland suspense. But more important, it features a hero who's tough enough to fend for himself and vulnerable enough to care about--John Cochran, an ex-U.S. Treasury agent who became an England-to-Europe money smuggler after the trauma that left him penniless, jobless, and guilt-ridden in London: he spirited his little daughter away from his cruel ex-wife, only for the girl to die of meningitis (was it his fault?). And now John has new problems, though he's unaware of how serious they are. He's been hired to smuggle a wimpy English aristocrat's dwindled fortune to Switzerland--that much Cochran knows, and it won't be easy, considering the bulk of the cash. What he doesn't know is that the aristocrat's faded family lawyer has also hired a psychopathic thug to ambush Cochran in Holland and steal the cash for the lawyer's own benefit. While Cochran prepares for the boat run to the Hook of Holland and finally meets a woman who might be able to rehabilitate him, we watch the psychopath--a truly terrifying, xenophobic Irish bisexual with a knife who makes a dry run and kills a shouting woman while stealing a getaway car in Switzerland; he doesn't realize she's just telling him to observe the ""Rauchen Verboten"" (No Smoking) sign. And all the principals converge on the scenic bridges of Amsterdam, where the lawyer kills the aristocrat, the psychopath kills the lawyer, and Cochran escapes alive enough to consider starting life over at 40. Tautly plotted, distinctively populated, convincingly romantic--perfect material for a Hitchcock film or an all-in-one-sitting late-night read.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row