Email this review


Far less controlled or plausible than Forbes' Avalanche Express, this is simpleminded action-suspense in a mode somewhere between James Bond and Robert Ludlum. ""Telescope"" is a private, super-secret European brigade of anti-terrorists, most of whom--like their leader Jules Beaurain--have themselves suffered from terrorism. And Telescope is currently determined to expose and cripple the ""Stockholm Syndicate""--a super-powerful crime network. (""I suspect that soon whole countries will be practically run by this evil organization."") Meanwhile, however, the Syndicate--which uses threats and bribes to control almost everyone in the world--is out to expose and annihilate Telescope! So, through much of this hyper yet often talky novel, the Syndicate agents are trailing the Telescope agents--and vice versa, with lots of bodies falling on both sides. Eventually, however, Beaurain and lady-love Louise do manage to follow some Syndicate types to Denmark, where they foil a big Syndicate heroin deal. And then the focus switches to Sweden, where a Syndicate conference is about to take place: Beaurain & Co. are determined to discover the identities of the Big Four who direct the Syndicate--including ""the one they call Hugo, the man whose very name evokes terror, sheer terror."" Lots of at-sea action ensues, with car ferries blown up, faked suicides, and chases--while assorted possibilities as to the real force behind the Syndicate are suggested: The Kremlin? Big industry? Or ""a hideous new possibility--that the men behind this foul organization are the neo-Nazis!"" The actual solution, however, which comes to light after the Syndicate directors (meeting on shipboard) are annihilated, is both more mundane and more farfetched. Silly plot, dreadful dialogue, clichÉ upon clichÉ: a cartoony but agreeably zap/powie thriller in the most old-fashioned style imaginable.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1982
Publisher: Dutton