GREEN ICE by Gerald Browne
Kirkus Star


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Emeralds, of course--in a glittery, if somewhat less gripping, follow-up to Browne's book/film success, 11 Harrowhouse. Here, as in Harrowhouse, the complicated heist is what we're all waiting for, but this time it takes Browne rather a long time to get there. First we meet Paul Newman look-alike Joe Wiley, a restless executive whose latest get-rich-quick scheme has fallen through, along with his marriage--so he just grabs clothes, cash, and a plane for Mexico. On the way to posh Las Hadas, he meets up with deceptively sloppy Lillian Holbrook, a stunner whose past (an overextended flashback) is the standard neglected-rich-kid-goes-flaky routine, but whose present is the servicing of Meno Argenti, mastermind of the Concession, the Colombian black-market syndicate that ruthlessly monopolizes the world's emerald trade. Cut to Bogota--where Wiley becomes a courier for the Concession and makes wild love with Lil (Argenti doesn't mind; he has teen nieces to cavort with). But Lil has still another erotic allegiance: Colombian revolutionary Miguel, for whom she and Wiley try to smuggle some emeralds and thus wind up in a shoot-out with the military (Miguel needs mucho dough so he can anti-imperialistically drain the Panama Canal). Whew. . . Now it's time for the heist at last, as Wiley and Lil decide to rip off $300 million worth of green ice from the Concession's impenetrable penthouse vault room--using hydraulic bullets, parachutes, scaffoldings, a decoy barrio fire, photographs, and tape recordings. Then--the usual ironic final twists and fade-out. A wise screenplay would focus in on the good things here--the heist, the marble games between Wiley and Lil, the scenery--and dim out the rest; a lot of readers will no doubt do the same thing for themselves and manage to enjoy this paste job as if it were a gem.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1978
Publisher: Delacorte