FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT by Sabi H. Shabtai

FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Still another terrorist extravaganza pivoting about the legendary Carlos, the Jackal, the world's most infamous assassin (see, for instance, Ludlum, above). This one hops speedily through familiar incidents and treacheries and, as ever, winds up with Carlos escaping into the darkness. The strangely unlikable hero here is ex-National Security Agency agent Sam Sartain (now a professor of political science and commando-oriented novelist), who is asked to become second-in-command of the newly formed international anti-terrorist organization, Triple C (Counterterrorism Coordinating Committee). A widower with an adult son, Sam declines, but then finds himself caught up in Carlos' nefarious plots anyway. For one thing, Sam's new girlfriend Linda, an investigative journalist, is murdered by Carlos in Berlin when she discovers too much about Carlos' latest ploy: the madman plans to hijack three nuclear plants in Illinois--just 50 miles from Chicago--and use the threat of three meltdowns as terrorist blackmail. First, however, Carlos has to get his international terrorist team together, including plucking a famous female German terrorist from prison, and then transported into the States. Even more, he has to show that he means business and so, as a warm-up, he hijacks a Potomac sightseeing boat with 180 aboard, and blows it up, terrorists and all. Now the big move begins on the Illinois plants, where he already has a German nuclear scientist planted, and at the same time Sam discovers that his own son is a co-conspirator with his archenemy, Carlos. . . . Minimum characterization, maximum convoluted action. And what next? Carlos Melts the Icecap? Carlos and His Moon Laser?

Pub Date: March 28th, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte