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MAN OF THE HOUR by Peter Blauner


by Peter Blauner

Pub Date: April 8th, 1999
ISBN: 0-316-03817-2
Publisher: Little, Brown

Taking a page from the Atlanta Olympics, Blauner turns a Coney Island high school teacher into a reluctant hero, and then a mercilessly persecuted suspect, in a terrorist bombing. Each day, David Fitzgerald teaches a course on the literature of heroism; each night, pondering the breakup of his marriage and his struggle to stay ahead of bills for his lawyers and for his son Arthur’s expenses, he wonders whether he could ever be a hero himself. But David finds out more than he ever wanted to know about heroism when Nasser Hamdy, an unsuccessful Jordanian alumnus whose younger sister Elizabeth is David’s star pupil, plants a bomb under the bus about to take David’s students on a field trip. Though the bus driver is killed, David’s delay in boarding his charges saves all but Seniqua Rollins, whom he pulls from the flames in a rescue that puts him on every front page in America. Blauner is particularly good on the ways David’s original qualms about his packaging as a ubiquitous eadlines, about the ironic interlocking of the roles of hero and traitor, is that it’s got nowhere to go; even readers gulping down the tale at one sitting will easily see how it’ll turn out. Despite the big push from the publisher, then, this smoothly predictable suspenser isn’t the big success that The Intruder (1997) was. But Blauner’s last thriller should be out in paperback just in time to read instead. (First printing of 175,000; $250,000 ad/promo budget)