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 A banal chiller from Reiss (The Last Spy, 1993, etc.), this set at an American research base in Antarctica, in which a lone scientist battles the elements, colleagues, and superiors to solve the deeper mystery of his sister's death. Against administrative orders, gifted seismologist Jack Amirault (engaged in classified sounding work for the US Navy) and best friend Brian Phillips venture out to save sexy environmentalist Robyn Cassidy, who's marooned on Purgatory Road, a perilous mountain pass she's traversing to dramatize the dangers that development poses to the polar continent's ecology. The rescue mission succeeds, albeit at the cost of Brian's life--and Jack's status as a reliable team player. One year later, Evylyn Amirault, also working at the base, is found dead, floating in the frigid waters bordering the remote US station. While Jack believes his sister's been murdered, the official verdict is that she was the victim of an unfortunate accident. And fellow scientists--unwilling to jeopardize their government grants on the eve of a treaty that could open the resource-rich land to commercial exploitation, and wary of the grieving Jack's mental stability--decline to help. Jack nonetheless persists in his unwelcome inquiries and unearths evidence convincing him that there's a more sinister conspiracy. Circumstance obliges him to join forces with Robyn (who has her own agenda), and the two light out through the treacherous wilderness to confirm Jack's suspicions. Before they can come in from the cold to expose the schemes of the Western world's military/industrial complex, however, they must survive a fearsome blizzard, great sex on the glacier, and a lethal shootout in a craggy redoubt that houses mummified seals. Despite intentions good enough to pave an alternate route to hell, a preachy tract largely unredeemed by entertainment value.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1996
ISBN: 0-684-81119-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1995


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