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 A none-too-bright protagonist rises (with a vengeance) to the rococo occasion in another overblown thriller from Jones (In Deep, 1991, etc.). Would-be playwright Chris Nielson and his baby-makes-three family have moved from southern California to the foothills of the Colorado Rockies; their lakeside A-frame, supposedly inherited by Chris's enigmatic wife Matty, is invaded of an autumn afternoon by a mysterious stranger named Frank Springer. Initially introduced as Matty's cousin, the glib intruder soon claims to be her husband and bars Chris from his own home. An outraged Chris gets no help in asserting his rights from either the local police or Matty (a lady with a past who fears for the safety of her infant son Nicky). At wit's end, he eventually falls in with CIA operative Sarah Rawlings. She offers to aid him in return for his help in killing a wily Russian arms-dealer whom Springer (a freelance hit man) let off the hook. Desperate, Chris accepts her bizarre deal and tracks his quarry to a mountain lair where he manages to best him in hand- to-hand combat during a blizzard. Unfortunately, the suggestible hero's troubles are far from over, since Sarah dies in the violent course of the successful assassination. With timely assistance from aging but adventurous attorney Abe Goldstein, however, Chris soldiers on while the homicidal Springer dispatches inconvenient witnesses and degrades Matty (to whom he was indeed married) with kinky sexual demands. At wearisome length, Chris and his estranged wife, sporadically in touch, hatch a complicated plot to slay their maniacal nemesis. Approved by Goldstein, the scheme involves luring Springer to Niagara Falls (where he honeymooned with Matty) for a cliff-hanging confrontation marked (among other things) by a last- minute rescue of little Nicky. An eventful thriller that's almost too silly for words.

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-94231-9
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1996


FictionSPRINTER by Bruce Jones
by Bruce Jones
FictionIN DEEP by Bruce Jones
by Bruce Jones