FINAL TOLL by Roger Ormerod


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Johnny Parfitt’s been out of Parkhurst Prison only for a few hours when he steals a lorry from the driver who obligingly gave him a lift and heads for the place where his old girlfriend Laura’s living, perhaps with Den, the mate whose plans for a big liquor hijacking had landed him in Parkhurst in the first place. But Johnny’s boosted the wrong vehicle for the foul weather and the treacherous terrain, and his lorry, with its 20-ton cargo of Scotch, makes it only halfway across Prescott’s Bridge before the 150-year-old bridge’s supports begin to collapse, leaving the roadway dangling and Johnny’s foot crushed inside the cab. And that’s not the worst of it, civil engineer Colin Marson realizes when he’s called in to supervise the rescue attempt. Since the bridge was constructed by attaching the chains that support the roadway into rocky cliffs on either side of the swollen river that rages 80 feet below, the bridge’s likely collapse will send the cliffs crashing into the river as well, flooding the farms downriver. And new problems keep cropping up. The rescuers can’t agree on what ought to be done; the only crane in the neighborhood capable of lifting so great a weight is agonizingly slow, and may not be legally available; somebody is shooting at the imperiled rescuers; and the police superintendent in charge has reasons of his own for wanting it to fail. Versatile Ormerod (Parting Shot, 1998, etc.) keeps the telemovie pot boiling furiously with blooming threats, tense subplots, and heroes as adamantine as those cliffs.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7278-5407-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999