SECOND SKIN by Eric Van Lustbader


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 The sixth semioccult in the Nicholas Linnear series dances between generations, summons up characters from earlier novels, and deals with time past almost like Proust. Nietzschian superman Mick Leonforte murders the brutal Vietnamese husband of gorgeous Giai Kurtz, then in a Tokyo restaurant shows Giai the black Damascus steel blade with which he dispatched her husband for her. ``Dipped in a bottle of Chateau Talbot '70, his favorite wine and vintage,'' he tells her. Yes, the East!--where life can be sped to oblivion with great style. Mick heads an American Mafia family bent on wresting control of the Japanese underworld from Mikio Okami, Kaisho of the Yakuza (The Kaisho, 1993; Floating City, 1994) and the elderly great personal friend of Nicholas Linnear, whose father, Colonel Linnear, with the US Occupation Forces back in 1946, helped Okami get the Yakuza on its feet again by establishing the black market and also came between the rival Mafia forces of the Leonfortes and the Mattaccino family. Today, Black Paul Mattaccino carries on a half-century rivalry with the Leonfortes and the Yakuza. Why did Colonel Linnear help the Yakuza? Because the underworld is the keel of Japanese society and keeps the government and big business in balance. Now, Nicholas's Japan-based Tomkin Industries is helping Japan launch the TransRim CyberNet, based on his secret cellular phone that transmits astoundingly clear pictures of the speakers, can do a half-dozen other operations, and will monopolize Japanese electronics industries. But someone has been stealing the secret CyberNet data, and Lew Croaker, the detective with a biomechanical hand, returns to help Nicholas. The rivalry between generations climaxes with its birth back in the late 40's when John Leonforte, his crushed face remade by plastic surgery, becomes Leon Waxman but is outwitted by Colonel Linnear during the blackmailing of a McCarthy-like senator. As Lustbader creates a complex, giant microchip of a story, mere human readers enjoy sunrises of sexbliss and move like deathproof titans through a plot that bounces like a pinball from Tokyo to New York to West Palm Beach. Vacation fun.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-86810-1
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995


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