CHAOS THEORY by Gary Krist


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Doubling the stakes of John Grisham’s The Client, Krist plunges a pair of young heroes into peril that starts with a bang and ends with a bang-bang-bang. Two bright, college-bound Washington, D.C., teenage friends, Jason Rourke (white) and Dennis Monroe (black), leave a dull birthday party to score some marijuana. They end up in a grimy Northeast neighborhood alley where their drug deal turns sour and the supposed dealer is injured. The next day they find out he’s an undercover cop and he’s dead. Before they know it, the boys have become targets of a vast political conspiracy. After they—re set up by a drug find in their high school lockers, each vamooses in a different direction. Krist (Bad Chemistry, 1997, etc.) works the parallel plot lines for nonstop action. Jason is involved in a grisly murder scene in the Rock Creek Park horse stables. Dennis is kidnapped and held —handcuffed and hungry— in a damp basement. But the boys have enlisted a respected white journalism teacher, Renee Daniels, who in turn seeks help from an ex-lover, black FBI agent Frank Laroux. Renee steals files and uncovers the conspiracy the boys have stumbled on. Soon —big men in trouble— are disappearing, replaced by the dead bodies of —little men on the margins.— Krist cuts back and forth between the dramatic, racially inflected perils of the boys and the emotional reactions of their distressed parents. Jason hides out with Renee’s mother on the Eastern Shore, setting the scene for a heart stopping chase scene in a moonlit swamp. Dennis’s rescue involves a bumpy dune-buggy race across a beach. And even though his nonstop activity would seem to forbid a break for anything deeper, Krist manages some observations on strained parent/child relationships, difficult friendships, political subterfuge, guilt, loyalty, and sins of the past. Most readers will remember this wild ride, though, as a page-turner with new dangers and set-pieces every two minutes.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-375-50080-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999


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