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RETRIBUTION by Michael Grant

RETRIBUTION

By Michael Grant

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017640-7
Publisher: HarperCollins

 Kill George Elgin's kid with an experimental drug and the morally numb Vietnam vet stops at nothing to exact his revenge. In his third thriller, ex-NYPD cop Grant (Officer Down, 1993) paints broadly: a white hat for the good guy, a black hat for the bad guy, with a Manhattan office tower at stake. The bad guy nearly steals the show. Michael Devlin, the new head of corporate security for Taggert Industries and an ex-cop himself, has all the resources money can buy to protect CEO Jason Taggert atop his 40-story fortress. Goaded in the boardroom and bedroom by Taggert's ruthless ``right-hand woman'' in charge of experimental drugs, Devlin hires professional security guards and off-duty former colleagues from the NYPD's elite TAC team to fend off crazed assassin Elgin. As Elgin closes in, Devlin readies every state-of-the-art gizmo from customized encryption software to elevators opened only by palm prints. He brings in a team of computer whizzes: a faux-Rasta giant of a black ex-con and a foul-mouthed computer hacker who happens to be the widow of Devlin's ex-partner. Can they get all 40 stories of their electronic fortress de-bugged in time to keep their security systems safe from Elgin? Problem is, George Elgin hacks into computers almost as well as he hacks up humans. Over three weeks, the body count approaches double figures, some of it imaginatively (Elgin is partial to dismemberment), and his ingenuity, courage, loyalty, tenacity, and deep but twisted sense of justice drive him almost to success against overwhelming odds. The full-bore action rises into a ludicrous made-for-Bruce-Willis climax on the 40th floor. Did it never occur to any of the top cops in the moonlighting TAC team that investigating George Elgin is their on- duty job, too? Don't read here for plausibility; Grant has the all the technical details right, but they go with a by-the-numbers plot as relentless as an elevator with every button pushed.