CYCLOPS

Comic-strip specialist Cussler (Raise the Titanic!) returns with as implausible a tale as he can invent, again featuring death-proof underwater-recovery mariner Dirk Pitt. An antique blimp carrying multimillionaire publisher Raymond LeBaron is searching for the US Navy collier Cyclops, which went down in the Caribbean in 1918, when the blimp loses radio contact with land and disappears for 10 days. It reappears, manned by dessicated dead men, floating toward the Sonesta Hotel in Key Biscayne. Pitt, who is enjoying himself sailboarding, spots the colossus and snags a line from it, just averting a tragedy. Later, Mrs. LeBaron refuses to identify one of the dead, who is wearing her husband's clothes and jewelry, as LeBaron. As it happens, the three substitute corpses are Soviet cosmonauts whose bodies had been recovered and frozen a year ago. By whom? Meanwhile, the President is buttonholed by a caddy on a golf course who pretends to be carrying a bomb and reveals a fantastic private enterprise scheme which placed a US team on the moon six years ago and is now about to return its men to earth and go public. But the Russians are also establishing their own team on the moon! What is the connection between Cyclops and the moon colony? Only that LeBaron is among the rich founders of the colony, and had hoped to recover from the collier a secret treasure: a six-foot solid gold goddess with a 30-pound emerald for a head and giant ruby in her breast, stolen from a wealthy native tribe. But when Pitt locates and boards the sunken ship, the statue is missing. Also, the Russians have a ship loaded to the gills with explosive ammonium nitrate in Havana harbor and plan to blow up Havana and Castro in a tremendous fireball. Castro now wishes to establish peace with Washington. Can Pitt save Havana? As a matter of fact, he doesn't altogether and is himself caught up in the fireball. But he's immortal, right? Nicely paced junk, expertly set in motion for ultraescapists who like hollow noises between their ears.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1985

ISBN: 1451621027

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1985

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The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once...

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In Baldacci’s 19th (True Blue, 2009, etc.), boy and girl monster-hunters meet cute.

Evan Waller, aka Fadir Kuchin, aka “the Butcher of Kiev,” aka “the Ukrainian psychopath,” is one of those deep-dyed villains a certain kind of fiction can’t do without. Serving with distinction as part of the Soviet Union’s KGB, he joyfully and indiscriminately killed thousands. Now, many years later, posing as a successful businessman, he’s vacationing in Provence where, unbeknownst to him, two separate clandestine operations are being mounted by people who do not regard him with favor. Reggie Campion—28 and gorgeous—spearheads the first, an ad hoc group of monster-hunting vigilantes. Studly, tall Shaw (no first name supplied) is point guard for a rival team, shadowy enough to leave the matter of its origin ambiguous. While their respective teams reconnoiter and jockey for position, studly boy meets gorgeous girl. Monster-hunters are famous for having trust issues, but clearly these are drawn to each other in the time-honored Hollywood fashion. Shaw saves Reggie’s life. She returns the favor. The attraction deepens and heats up to the point where team-members on both sides grow unsettled by the loss of focus, singularly inopportune since, as monsters go, Waller rises to the second coming of Caligula—ample testimony furnished by a six-page, unsparingly detailed torture scene. In the end, the stalkers strike, bullets fly, screams curdle the blood, love has its innings and a monster does what a monster’s got to do.

The characters are paper thin, the plot twists mostly telegraphed, but the betting here is that the Baldacci army will once again show the stuff it’s made of.

Pub Date: April 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56408-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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POP GOES THE WEASEL

After a flight in fantasy with When the Wind Blows (1998), Patterson goes to ground with another slash-and-squirm psychokiller page-turner, this one dedicated to “the millions of Alex Cross readers, who so frequently ask, can’t you write faster?” By day, Geoffrey Shafer is a charming, 42-year-old British Embassy paper-pusher with a picture-perfect family and a shady past as an MI-6 secret agent. Come sundown, he swallows a pharmacy of psychoactive pills, gulps three black coffees loaded with sugar, and roams the streets of Washington, D.C., in a battered cab, where, disguised as a black man, he rolls dice to determine which among his black female fares he—ll murder. Afterwards he dumps his naked victims in crime-infested back alleys of black- slum neighborhoods, then sends e-mails boasting of his accomplishments to three other former MI-6 agents involved in a hellish Internet role-playing game. “I sensed I was at the start of another homicide mess,” sighs forensic-psychologist turned homicide-detective Alex Cross. Cross yearns to catch the “Jane Doe murderer” but is thwarted by Det. Chief George Pittman, who assigns sexy Det. Patsy Hampton to investigate Cross and come up with a reason for dismissing him. Meanwhile, Cross’s fiancÇe is kidnaped during a Bermuda vacation, and an anonymous e-mail warns him to back off. He doesn’t, of course, and just when it appears that Patterson is sleep-walking through his story, Cross nabs Shafer minutes after Shafer kills Det. Hampton. During the subsequent high-visibility trail, Shafer manages to make the jury believe that he’s innocent and that Cross was trying to frame him. When all seems lost, a sympathetic British intelligence chief offers to help Cross bring down Shafer, and the other homicidal game-players, during a showdown on the breezy beaches of Jamaica. Kinky mayhem, a cartoonish villain, regular glimpses of the kindly Cross caring for his loved ones, and an ending that spells a sequel: Patterson’s fans couldn’t ask for more.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-69328-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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