NORTHERN EXPOSURE by Michael Kilian

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Assorted secret-agents and double-agents are plotting and counter-plotting to push Canada over the edge into Civil War--in a laboriously contrived but sporadically involvhag conspiracy/chase thriller. Kilian's innocent-bystander hero: Dennis Showers, newly appointed DCM for the US Embassy in Ottawa, an unhappily married man who (for not-quite-convincing reasons) has become obsessed in a search for his childhood-sweetheart Felicity. Unbeknownst to Dennis, however, Felicity is now a drug-addict and the mistress of environmental fanatic ""Ric"" Porique--who's traveling around while deciding whether to go ahead with a terroristic gesture in Ottawa. (The Canadian PM, you see, is doing anti-environmental evil.) Furthermore, it just so happens that Porique once saved Dennis' life. So the CIA is following Dennis, hoping he'll lead them to the terrorist. And meanwhile: French-Canadian terrorists are planning their own Ottawa bombings (in response to the PM's upcoming anti-Francophone legislation); there are secessionist murmurings out in the Western provinces; there's a double-agent somewhere in the PM's office. Plus: who has hired a ruthless hit-man to follow Dennis around and repeatedly try to kill him? (The KGB, confused, have sent out their hit-men to follow the hit-man.) So it goes--as Dennis and new young love Alixe follow the Felicity trail to California, Vancouver, and Ottawa (along with a nouveau-stereotyped black private-eye, whose every other word is ""My man""). And finally: the PM is almost assassinated, Alixe is molested by the hit-man, Felicity is killed. . . and Dennis must shoot his old friend Porique to prevent chaos from overwhelming Canada. Kilian (The Valkyrie Project) over-tangles his subplots here, taking focus away from the promising but unfulfilled Dennis/Felicity/Porique material. Also unsuccessful: the attempts at erudition-in Porique's broodings on Camus, in the literary quotation-trading of two CIA types. But Dennis is an inoffensive hero, there's a surprise or two in the secret-agent department, and the Canada-apocalypse material is relatively fresh--so those who don't mind an excess of conspiracy and a shortage of credibility should find this slightly-above-average in the suspense-folderol department.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's