SIMPLE SIMON by Ryne Douglas Pearson

SIMPLE SIMON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A crowded, violent thriller involving an autistic boy who effortlessly cracks a supposedly unbreakable government communications code--and then becomes the target of murderous villainy from shady Washington spies and a sadistic Japanese hit- woman. In this fourth outing, African-American FBI agent Art Jefferson, who previously saved America from a bomb-throwing white supremacist (Capitol Punishment, 1995), has recovered from a heart attack and is now happily married to child-psychologist Anne. Among Anne's patients is Simon Lynch, a cute, childlike, Dustin Hoffmanstyle autistic teenager with astounding mathematical abilities. Given a magazine of puzzles to solve, Simon decodes a series of numbers that instructs him to call an 800 number to receive a prize. The number rings into a top-secret National Security Agency spy den that has just spent $10 billion developing this code for use in all sensitive government communications. (The code had been dropped into the magazine to test its supposed invulnerability.) A tracer on the call alerts a series of fiendish bureaucrats, one of whom dispatches an assassin to Simon's address. Meanwhile, Keiko Kimura, a Japanese terrorist who tortures and cannibalizes her victims, comes to America to steal the government code. Agent Jefferson becomes a target for warring government bureaucracies, as well as a possible meal for Kimura, when he protects the now-orphaned Simon from yet another enemy, a diabolical computer-hacker known only as Rothchild. In a story crammed with too many characters, most of them villains speaking in clipped, enigmatic bureaucratese, Pearson's plot takes a while to work up to speed. Though hastily rendered, Agent Jefferson and Simon nonetheless become anchors in the resulting storm of bloodshed as people are killed off as fast as they're introduced. The Chicago landscape, meantime, is dimly glimpsed, and the climactic, glass-shattering shoot-out on top of the Sears Tower seems lifted from the Die Hard movies. (Film rights to Universal)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-14296-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996




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