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Weber (Targets of Opportunity, 1993) takes a vicious stab at Japan-bashing in a clunky, to-the-ends-of-the-earth thriller that makes the yellow peril in Michael Crichton's Rising Sun seem positively benign. When a gunbearing helicopter (painted in the colors of a local TV station) strafes Japanese tourists aboard a cruise ship near Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, America's already frayed relations with Dai Nihon take another turn for the worse. Concerned about counterattacks, White House insiders assign senior CIA officer Stave Wickham and FBI agent Susan Nakamura to the case. Before the two can even start their inquiries, however, a group of US sightseers is ambushed in Osaka. The intrepid, globe-trotting feds soon learn (but cannot prove) that Tadashi Matsukawa (a billionaire businessman intent on making Japan a military as well as economic superpower which will brook no interference from its erstwhile conqueror) is responsible for these and other terrorist acts that have heightened East/West tensions. While persuading Tokyo's shifty mandarins to stand fast against an increasingly obdurate Washington, the vaultingly ambitious industrialist dispatches assassins to kill the odd couple as they jet about the Asian-Pacific Basin in pursuit of the evidence that could expose him and his nefarious schemes. Although the dynamic duo survive all attempts on their lives, miscalculations on both sides of the geopolitical cheessboard produce an escalation that results in the sinking of a US carrier and nuclear submarine in the strategic Strait of Malacca. Wickham and Nakamura finally beard their renegade lion in his Marunouchi den, obliging an abashed Japan to back away from a climactic confrontation with America. At the close, wily Oriental gentlemen are again conspiring to rule the world by force of arms and commercial might. With some of the most stilted (and didactic) dialogue this side of Tom Swift, plus over-the-top plotting, an episodic exercise whose appeal appears limited largely to confirmed Japanophobes.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1994
ISBN: 1423391500
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Putnam