GAYNOR'S PASSION by Norman Garbo


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Vigilante terrorism--in an earnest, confused, slow-moving thriller from the often preachy-and-pompous author of Turner's Wife, Cabal, and The Artist. Richard Gaynor, frustrated artist and sole survivor of a plane-crash (his son was among those killed), recovers physically from his injuries but suffers from deep depression--until he discovers a new reason to live: ""This was the time for wild ideas and savage notions, for loud cries for justice shouted into the night. This was the time for someone oblivious to death, someone desperately in need of a mission, to take action and do something about it."" Yes, before you can say Death Wish or Bernhard Goetz, Gaynor becomes ""The Apostle,"" an anonymous vigilante who captures and/or kills criminals who would otherwise escape justice. And soon, for no very plausible reason, his focus shifts from N.Y. rapists and drug-dealers to Fundamentalist demagogue Rev. Clayton Taylor: Gaynor kills Rev. Taylor's most abominable henchman; then, as ""The Apostle,"" Gaynor announces that he'll kill Rev. Taylor himself at a big Yankee Stadium rally on July 4! So: can--or should--The Apostle be stopped? That's the question for boozy, cynical N.Y.C. cop Jay Newman--who has all sorts of groaningly coincidental connections to The Apostle. First of all, it was Newman who saved Gaynor's life after that plane-crash, with a subsequent friendship forming. Second, Newman is sleuthing after The Apostle for the NYPD. Third, Newman--as a prominent Jew--is being courted by Rev. Taylor, who wants to shake off his anti-Semitic image. (Newman plays along, on orders from Israeli Intelligence.) Eventually, then, Newman does figure out that Gaynor is The Apostle. But when the cop Later discovers that Rev. Taylor is behind the neo-Nazi violence of the American Crusade Party, he himself (after a tedious July 4 countdown) becomes the noble assassin. . . while Israeli agents kill off the Crusade Party's five top men. Feeble and derivative as suspense, murky and unpleasant in its shifty manipulation of serious issues.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1985
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin