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The President's illegitimate daughter is kidnapped by terrorists who haven't reckoned with the might of the Higgins regulars. Not many people know this, but back when Jake Cazalet was a lieutenant in Vietnam, he had a one-night affair with a French countess he'd just rescued that led to many warm memories and one lissome daughter, Marie de Brissac. Now an Israeli terrorist calling himself Judas Maccabeus has snatched her from a scenic Corfu villa to force her father to execute Nemesis, a series of surgical nuclear airstrikes that'll reduce Iran, Iraq, and Syria to rubble. In order to carry his demands to President Cazalet, Judas decides he needs the services of former IRA stalwart Sean Dillon. But using Dillon as a lowly errand boy (intending to execute him as soon as he's met with Cazalet) is one big mistake, since it gets Dillon's current boss, Brigadier Charles Ferguson, and his well-armed minions into the act. As Maccabeus's Stealth network of low-level moles, who've infiltrated all the official computer systems the President could use to get information, go up against the wiles of Dillon, Ferguson, and their friends-and- relations, Maccabeus heats up the brew by kidnapping Ferguson's assistant, Chief Inspector Hannah Bernstein, too. But it doesn't matter, because all the characters are too blank to be worth caring about: Newcomers like Cazalet and watercolorist Marie are such ciphers that they make Dillon, who's about as personable as the Energizer Bunny, look like Hamlet. What's left is a bevy of hijackings, druggings via hypos and coffee cups, caches of Semtex and Uzis, more handcuffs than at an S/M convention, and numberless dark threats with silenced pistols (in lieu of ``Zounds! After them!'' characters mutter, ``No one will hear a thing''). Higgins's 27th (Drink with the Devil, 1996, etc.), negligible as melodrama, shows the old pro giving Tom Clancy a run for his money as the most fetishistic of contemporary thriller writers. (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection)

Pub Date: May 19, 1997

ISBN: 0-399-14239-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1997

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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