EXOCET by Jack Higgins
Kirkus Star


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Considerably less zippy than Touch the Devil (1982), this new exploit for Brigadier Charles Ferguson of British Intelligence does, however, have an extra attraction to give a slight boost to the just-serviceable plotting: the war in the Falklands--used for the first time as background for an international thriller. On the eve of the British/Argentinian conflict, Ferguson orders super-beautiful agent Gabrielle Legrand (ex-wife of agent Tony Villiers) to seduce Col. Raul Montera, special air attachÉ at the Argentine Embassy in London: Gabrielle succeeds in her mission--all too well, of course, falling in mutual True Love with ""gorgeous"" Montera--just as the fighting begins. And Gabrielle will find herself forced to betray her adored lover toward the end of the war. Argentina, you see, desperately needs more French-made Exocet missiles, which France has stopped sending. International tycoon Felix Donner has offered to arrange a secret sale to Argentina off the French coast--with Montera sneaking off to Paris for the transfer of the goods. Meanwhile, Ferguson has gotten wind of the deal, sending Gabrielle (backed up by Villiers & Co.) off to Paris to foil the misssile sale. But. . . what neither Montera nor Ferguson knows is that Donner is really a KGB agent!--and that the supposed Exocet sale is really a Soviet plot to implicate Argentina in scandalous aggression against France and thus bring down the Argentinian government. (""Fear, chaos, and uncertainty. . . . The classic situation for your kind of takeover,"" Villiers eventually says to Donner.) So, finally, there'll be showdowns, captures, rescues, and shootouts at the French-isle missile installation, with the good guys racing to prevent the Soviet skulduggery. Most readers, however, won't find the imaginary crisis here either very believable or very involving. Likewise, Gabrielle's love/loyalty conflict (her half-brother is fighting in the Falklands) is tepid and mechanical. But the action moves along at the customary Higgins gallop, and the Falklands angle might be just fresh enough to compensate for the lack of tension--not to mention Higgins' sloppiest writing yet.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1983
ISBN: 1453200649
Publisher: Stein & Day