SCIMITAR by John Abbott
Kirkus Star


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Clever, cartoonish thriller about a deep-cover assassin on the trail of George Bush. Abbott, a pseudonymous first-time novelist, weaves a witty, zigzagging plot that's bolstered with liberal graphics--photos, maps, handwritten notes, etc. The stylish action begins when L.A. medical intern ""Sonny"" Hemkar is telephoned by a woman who alerts him that his day has finally come--for Sonny is really an incognito hit man for an Arab dictator (guessing which one serves as one of the plot's several puzzles). On the train to N.Y.C., Sonny picks up naive UCLA coed Elita Randall, who notes the tiny green scimitar tattooed on his chest; meanwhile, in New York, the woman who phoned Sonny is shot (by whom?), and the cops, finding her British passport, check her i.d. with Geoffrey Turner, a young British consulate hack. Arriving in New York, Sonny dumps Elita, who, heart-stricken, tries to locate him through the British consulate--and through Geoffrey. At the same time, Sonny learns his targets: George Bush and, if possible, Margaret Thatcher, either at the Plaza Hotel (at a dinner) or the Statue of Liberty (during a speech). In scenes detailed in the assured manner of Frederick Forsyth, Sonny explores both potential killing fields and concocts an exotic poison; he then takes some r&r in the Hamptons, where he unwittingly picks up...Elita's sexy mom. She smells a rat; he dismembers her. Back in the city, Sonny stalks the Plaza dinner but is spotted by Elita, who's been invited by Geoffrey--and so the narrative spirals to a suspenseful climax on Liberty Island, where Sonny, bug-sprayer in hand, takes an end-run at Bush.... Lack of a proper foe to supervillain Sonny (Geoffrey et al. add up to fleabites) comprises the only big flaw in an otherwise swift, crafty, and roundly enjoyable--if farfetched--entertainment.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Crown