36 RIGHTEOUS MEN by Steven Pressfield


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In the spring of 2034, during a relative cool spell in New York—it's only 112 degrees outside—a lone assassin has targeted 36 men whose elimination promises to bring about the end of the world.

The letter-shaped bruises found on the crushed throats of four early victims point to a Jewish legend, Biblical scholar Jake Instancer tells NYPD Detective James Manning: After the flood, God promised that "so long as there are Thirty-Six Righteous Men somewhere on Earth, He will never again take action to destroy the human race." Unaware of their special status, these men are hidden around the world. As long as any one of the righteous men remains alive, things are safe. Manning is a "troglodyte," says his hip 28-year-old underling, "Dewey" Duwai, who narrates the story. "The closest he comes to conversation is thinking out loud." In going up against a seemingly invincible villain, Manning puts his Neanderthal traits to good use. With its caustic sensibility, fast and furious action scenes, and brusque dialogue (which is presented in a boxy screenplay format), the book boasts a lively comic-book sensibility. The action extends to Israel, where an intense do-or-die climax takes place in archaeological tunnels beneath accursed Gehenna. This leads to a conference in Cyprus dubbed "Earth's Last Chance," which may leave you wondering whether Pressfield, had he known when he started the book just how fast climate change is progressing, would have put global warming on a more equal footing with his human serial killer as an immediate threat.

Cop mentality meets religious fanaticism meets the future in a highly entertaining pop noir.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-324-00289-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019


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