THE ONE-SHOT WAR by Brian O'Connor


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A minor-league Day of the Jackal spinoff--unimaginative and quite blandly delivered. The assassination target this time is British Prime Minister Charles Douglas, who's been cracking down harder than ever on Northern Ireland insurgents and the Irish living in England. So ""the Leader"" in Dublin plots to wipe out Douglas, who's embarking on a trip to America: an unknowing decoy assassin is dispatched to N.Y., and, as planned, he's quickly nabbed by the nervous FBI and miscellaneous security types. But a real assassin has also been sent--ruthless, fanatical Kevin Dalton, whom we follow as he carefully sets up his plan to hit Douglas when he appears at the Statue of Liberty (Dalton hires an unsuspecting helicopter pilot to fly him over the area). But the FBI gets onto Dalton's trail when he bungles a meeting with one of his informants (the Irish-born, blackmailed wife of an Embassy official) and winds up killing a British security officer. The Statue of Liberty ploy is foiled. So Dalton, switching disguises and framing an innocent bystander to gain time, moves on to Douglas' next exposed stop: Arlington National Cemetery, where the PM is going to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Dalton plants three radio-controlled bombs, disguises himself as a cemetery guard, socks it to the PM (via bombs and bullets), escapes (in drag), and. . . is neatly disposed of by the Leader: an admirably downbeat ending. But, despite the use of flashbacks to fill in character motives, this is a paper-thin scenario, and the action only heats up in that cemetery getaway: routine assassination suspense, then, with neither emotional pull nor colorful derring-do.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1980
Publisher: Times Books