DEEP AS THE MARROW by F. Paul Wilson


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 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 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-86264-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1997


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