BULLET TRAIN by Joseph and Arei Kato Rance


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The only new twist in this all-stereotype terrorist-attack novel is the train itself: the bullet-shaped Hikari 109, which speeds the 729 miles between Tokyo and Hakata in just under seven hours--130 miles per hour. Three terrorists have planted a bomb on the train's underside, and it'll explode if the train slows to 50 mph--so the train must stay in motion while the ransom demands are met; only then will terrorist Okita (a middle-aged failure) tell Tokyo Central's Automatic Train Control exactly where the bomb is. There are nearly 1500 passengers on board, including ophthalmologist Laura Brennan and husband Matt, very pregnant 20-year-old Keiko, elderly electronics millionaire Takazana and his 22-year-old mistress, pop star Tee Togo (subject of a documentary being filmed in transit), beautiful stewardess Yoko, and many others in the usual Grand-Hotel cast lineup. While Tokyo police sergeant Goto chases about the city trying to deliver the $5 million ransom, Matt tries to help the bomb squad, and Laura herself delivers Keiko's baby (it dies, strangled in its cord, and Keiko is losing blood rapidly). One of the terrorists is killed in a car wreck after picking up the ransom; another turns himself into a human bomb when surrounded. At last Okita gets the money, Matt defuses the bomb, and Okita fries in jet blast while the money blows away in jumbo winds at New International Airport. The super-train and the Japanese setting offer a dab of extra interest; otherwise--strictly by the TV-movie numbers.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1980
Publisher: Morrow