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Tim Currie, an American ex-hostage in Iran, becomes obsessed with assassinating Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi when a Libya-subsidized Palestinian assassin in Washington, D.C., deliberately kills Currie's fianc‚e while carrying out a reprisal murder for Qaddafi. (Currie's dead girlfriend, Nori, is nicely drawn and granted enough attractive humor that her loss to Currie seems genuine to the reader.) Currie then recovers a silver cigarette box the assassin was seeking on his original victim and within it a code in Arabic, which he breaks with the help of a computer. Soon, however, he is being chased by the FBI as well as by four murder-minded East German security men of Qaddafi's. Currie, it happens, is on record as being a psychiatric ""time bomb"" who feels that he failed to react violently enough when he was an embassy prisoner in Iran. Now the urge for violence sweeps over him, and he teams up with another exhostage, Zarek--who has become a well-armed international bounty hunter--to kill Qaddafi. Zarek is none too well himself, having Lou Gehrig's disease and not long to live. In Italy they try to buy the necessary weapons from a retired arms dealer--who secretly happens to be an agent for Qaddafi's secret police. So, as they continue on, with Zarek the mercenary training Currie, the four East Germans show up and kill Zarek while trying to force the code out of Currie, who escapes. But the FBI is also tracking Currie through Europe, knowing he's after Qaddafi, and so is his ex-wife Anna. Anna helps him, in bed and out, until he buys his way into Libya. There he's captured by evil security chief Jamal and about to be fed alive to giant ants when Qaddafi asks to see his would-be assassin. . . Fast action, some spunky characterizations, and a satisfyingly unexpected climax--but the whole is short on originality.

Pub Date: June 11th, 1985
Publisher: Little, Brown