JUST CAUSES by Malcolm MeConnell


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Terrorism and anti-terrorism yet again--but McConnell (Matata, 1971) is a strong enough suspense-crafter to keep his entirely conventional plot moving along convincingly. Middle-aged, Italian auto-industrialist Mario Conti is separated from his world-traveling wife and happy with mistress Sandra--but Mario's young daughter Laura is insane; and now Laura has escaped from her asylum, has withdrawn all her own and her mother's money from the bank, and has given all those lira to a terrorist team (she wants them to murder Sandra, whom Laura believes to be a CIA spy with devilish brain-wiring techniques!). The terrorists--a polyglot anarchist band--humor Laura for a while, but then they decide to kidnap Mario with help from Laura's inside info (they need a big success to recoup their image). So they set off a bomb in a postbox in one part of the seaport where Conti's yacht is anchored, draw off the police to the bombing, then take over the yacht and pull out for Libya. In Rome, however, an anti-terrorist team is mounted to find the yacht: Yuri Zonar from Israel, Donald Litton of SAS, a confused German, and an exhausted American Intelligence officer. And this foursome tracks the kidnappers by means of a giant computer, deciding to attack the yacht quietly in international waters and overpower the terrorists. Mario, though, has his own escape plan underway: he tries to sink the ship and get away by rubber dinghy with Sandra, but his plan goes awry, she gets raped--and when the boat starts sinking while under attack, he and Sandra learn how easy it is to kill with a just cause. Thickly detailed, consistently readable--a solid thriller that never quite rises above its routine outline.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Viking