STATE OF FEAR by Mary Napier

STATE OF FEAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the author of Forbidden Places (1981): a rather odd and unsuccessful mixture of the introspective-personal-growth novel and the action-adventure yarn. Faith Milburn leaves her home in the North of England after her mother dies; she's determined to see the world. She gets a posting to Central America through Prodam, a relief agency, but in Mexico learns she's been reassigned to a small town in Comayagua, a poor, coup-ridden state. En route to Comayagua she meets Pete Zeller, a brutal man hunting an old enemy. Faith perseveres through rampant violence and terror, and finally reaches Quihuli, her assigned town. But Quihuli reeks of corruption and fear; a new coup strikes, and Faith must then find refuge with Brace Shryver, an American living with a tribe of Indians as a one man relief corps. Bruce masterminds the heist of Prodam's current shipment, but in the mountains a band of guerrillas seizes the chow, and when Bruce confronts the rebel leader, machetes clash. Bruce and Faith flee to Quihuil; by now, of course, they are very much in love. In town, Bruce spies a large consignment of American napalm and he vows to blow up the entire army base there. Before he can, Pete Zeller reappears and seizes Bruce, who has been Zeller's target all along (Bruce was Zeller's CIA boss years ago in Bolivia). By the end, though, Bruce and Faith, who's now lost her naive do-gooder idealism, have bluffed their way onto a plane to safety. An action-intensive story, yet implausible and much too slow-paced, thanks largely to the author's insistence on examining Faith's emotional growth through all these many travails.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Century Hutchinson--dist. by David & Charles