Cynically formulaic plot-by-numbers from Wilson, a competent, derivative suspense factory best known for his Nazi-vampire series, beginning with The Keep (1981). Taking a break from his mostly well-received medical thrillers (Implant, 1995, etc.), Wilson tries his hand at Washington intrigue with a tale so tiresomely unoriginal that not even the bad guy's nifty Internet techno-tricks can pique the reader's interest. Dr. John VanDuyne is the personal physician of liberal-leaning President Thomas Winston. Winston gives a televised speech, announcing that America has lost the war on drugs and that he's going to legalize and tax illicit drugs to prop up his administration's sagging budget. Soon after, VanDuyne gets an e- mail message informing him that his little daughter has been abducted. To get Katie back, he's told, he must inject Winston with an antibiotic having potentially lethal side effects, thus incapacitating, if not killing, him. It seems there's an international conference on illicit drugs coming up, and Carlos Salinas, a wily Colombian druglord who doesn't want his cartel's $50 billion business to disappear, thinks that only a scheme this stupid will prevent Winston from unleashing his awesome charismatic presence at the conference and making the dealers' global business evaporate. The author goes for a blood-is-thicker-than-money conceit as one of the kidnappers, a ditsy pill-popping Jersey woman named Poppy Mulliner, finds her maternal urges awakened by Katie. Poppy snatches the child from her gang and flees to a shack in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, not far from where Poppy was born. Confident that her relatives will protect her from her vengeful associates, as well as from Dr. VanDuyne, VanDuyne's klutzy ex- wife, bickering Secret Service and FBI agents, and, finally, a DEA mole, Poppy makes a stand for family values in a dark and stormy climax. Realistic techno and medical detail won't budge a novel mired with plot clichÇs and stale characters. (Radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 15, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-86264-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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