DEAL ON ICE by Les Standiford


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 Mild-mannered supercontractor John Deal tackles a crazed cyberevangelist and his murderous minions--in the least finely nuanced, and most conventional, of Standiford's five thrillers (Deal to Die For, 1995, etc.). There can't be much worse than having a superconglomerate ``media sales center'' move into the same Coral Gables neighborhood as your mom-and-pop bookstore, threatening to undersell you, offer a more diverse stock, and drive you out of business so that it can jack up prices and cut back services- -unless of course it's getting murdered by a pair of comic-book killers just as you've come up with something that might have stopped the Mega-Media project from ever getting off the drawing board. Of course, Deal doesn't know why his old friend Arch Dolan, mainstay of Dolan's House of Books, was killed and his inoffensive Uncle Els left in a coma--but we do, and that's just the trouble. In the opening chapter, even before Arch Dolan is cooling on the mortuary slab, Standiford fingers the Rev. James Ray Willis, megalomaniacal messiah of the Worldwide Church of Light, who's convinced that the way to escape the international conspiracy of one-world, liberal-humanist thought control is to get there first with the most. In the Rev.'s case, that means a close bonding with Mega-Media and sending in the shock troops- -Dexter and Iris Kittle, a graying pair of killers from Omaha- -when negotiations stall. It's fun watching these saintly assassins dispatch Willis's more venal obstacles, but the fun is strictly one-dimensional, as is the reunion of Deal and his estranged wife Janice (paging Geena Davis) to overcome the emotional wounds in their marriage and inflict some serious wounds of the pleasanter kind back in the Nebraska tundra. A mega-villain bent on world domination, a pair of grotesque husband-and-wife hitfolk, a damsel in heavy-breathing distress, a pure avenger and his lady, a blizzardy finale. And you thought James Bond was passÇ. ($30,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-017620-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996


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