CRITICAL MASS by David Hagberg

CRITICAL MASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Vengeful Japanese cowboy/industrialist seeks to build A-bomb; vengeful American cowboy/agent seeks to thwart same--in this expert rouser from dependable Hagberg (Countdown, 1990; Crossfire, 1991). After losing his parents in Hiroshima and his wife and daughter in Nagasaki, Isawa Nakamura resurfaces decades later as a self-made computer kingpin with the clout to take out three inconvenient CIA men on a Swissair jetliner with a surface-to-air missile. Also aboard is Marta Fredericks, girlfriend of retired Company op Kirk McGarvey, who goes on a cold-killing rampage. Nakamura's goons kill American agents by the carload, kidnap McGarvey's estranged wife Kathleen and adoring daughter Elizabeth, and use them as bait in a killing trap--since they naturally know who's on their trail and how fearsome he is. There must be a hundred killers, armed with the latest high-tech weaponry, arrayed against McGarvey, but they haven't got a prayer. (As Elizabeth ``confidently'' tells a kidnaper: ``My father is going to tear you a new asshole, sweety.'') Nothing can stop McGarvey: certainly not the French and American spooks set on his trail (he thumbs his nose at them, then signs on under his own terms), or a CIA info blackout (a Twinkie-loving hacker lets him in the back door), or the trap set by chief henchmen Ernst Spranger and icy lesbian temptress Liese Egk (McGarvey shrugs off the Navy SEALS dispatched to the Greek islands to help him--they naturally blunder into the trap in his place--and takes out the last thug with his last bullet), or the resulting wounds, which are supposed to keep him bedridden--and the bomb assembly thereby on track--for six weeks (he's en route to Japan two days later for the equally predictable showdown). Japan-bashing at its most cartoon-heroic, written with an eye for the fast clichÇ. Not really good for you, or for international relations, but there's no point in fighting Hagberg's crudely effective force.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-85255-X
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992




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