THE LEGACY by Stephen Frey


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Cluttered, clumsy plot-boiler about a marginally sleazy but good-looking investment banker who’s dubiously blessed with a Zapruder-style video of the Kennedy assassination that shows a second gunman. This fourth finance-industry-based thriller from Frey (The Inner Sanctum, 1997, etc.) has all of the weaknesses of his previous books--dullish dialogue, preposterous violence, wildly paranoid plotting--with no new strengths. Thin, youthful, reckless trader Cole Egan has not only lost several millions of his firm’s money in bad trades but is also in hock to the mob for $150,000 in gambling debts and behind on his rent for his swank penthouse when a mysterious caller tells him his father is dead and that a package—the tape--awaits him at the front desk. He views the tape, which also shows that his father, a somewhat mysterious man who left Cole to be raised by an aunt and uncle after his mother was killed by maurading hippies, was at Dealey Plaza on that fateful day in 1963. Within a few pages, Cole’s dodging bullets along the streets of Manhattan, managing to escape by causing a traffic accident, and then, while dining with his fashion-model-manquÇ girlfriend Nikki, narrowly avoiding death when his apartment blows up. Meanwhile, numerous Washington types begin to show concern about Cole and his tape. It seems that a covert corps of US intelligence operatives have been doing dirty deeds for many long years, including smuggling crack cocaine into Iraq, hiding the President’s links to organized crime, muddying the Kennedy assassination conspiracy--and that Cole’s father Jim was among them. Frey adds a father-and-son theme to his already overburdened plot, letting Jim Egan, who may not be dead after all, use his son to avenge himself on too many bad guys, while Cole heroically decides how many millions he’ll get from selling the tape to the media. Inept storytelling, overheated action.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-94207-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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