IXTAPA by E. Howard Hunt


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 Another return to arms for Jack Novak (Mazatl†n, 1993), the ex-DEA agent who seems to have built up so much energy sleeping through the consciousness-raising of the '70s and '80s that now he can't stay retired. Jack gets his chance for more action when the assassination of a drug courier leaves the killer dead as well--and Jack's old DEA contacts slip him into the courier's identity for a meeting south of the border with entrepreneur/trafficker Pedrito Ibarra. Before Jack gets a chance to try his luck with Ibarra, however, he's bushwhacked at his hotel by Paula Mar°a Quiroz, a woman of parts. Some possible parts: Is she Ibarra's runner or a Mexican agent? Jack gets to try out some of the other parts himself, but just when he forgets his ladylove, Melody West, enough to convince himself to go along with Quiroz's scheme to steal Ibarra's books in order to avenge her dead brother--a suicide after his involvement with Ibarra--she gets the drop on him again, taking the books and leaving him for dead. While Jack's licking the wounds of defeat and humiliation (``I'd swallowed a big lie''), he finds out that Quiroz not only isn't Quiroz--she isn't even Nina Victoria Mendez Peralta (whose brother, incidentally, isn't really dead). She's really Shari Valour (neÇ Valorin), a freelance terrorist whose latest cause is the Lebanese Patriotic Army, a group whose aim has ironically made her both a rival and an ally of the Mossad types who urge Jack back into the field one more time to settle her hash for good. Like the aging James Bond, Jack is given a License to Regress as he goes up against the new world order's worst bogeys: Latin American drug lords, Middle East terrorists, pointy-headed DEA bureaucrats, and uppity broads. Even Neanderthals, though, won't find this any more nourishing than a bale of cotton candy.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1994
ISBN: 1-55611-404-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1994


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