BLACK FIRE by Stuart Fox


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 Beijing sends a one-man death squad to Hong Kong to stem the exodus of edgy capitalists before new landlords take over the Crown Colony. Fox--a 'former editor and parachute jump-master'--has also published under the name of Stephen Forbes. The end to colonial rule in Hong Kong is drawing to a close, and the dour new owners from Peking have begun to measure for windows and carpets, even though the British have only just begun to pack their bags. Meanwhile, the presence of the avant garde of heavy-handed communists has thrown the city's untrammeled free- marketers into a panic, and they've begun to abandon ship in record and unauthorized numbers. The People's Republic is in a huff since the city without its entrepreneurs is pretty much worthless. Doyle Mulligan, an Irish-American reporter for one of the wire services who's been investigating the illegal wave of emigration, finds that he isn't the only one interested in tracking down the mastermind behind an underground railroad that leads from the colony to the Western World. Somebody is following him every step of the way--and sending Mulligan's suspects to a series of gruesome deaths just before the reporter can get his hands on them. It turns out the bad guys have more to worry about than the mass exit. The last uncaptured leader of the aborted 1989 revolution has slipped over the border into Hong Kong, bringing with him videotapes of the slaughter at Tiananmen Square, evidence of the true nature of the Beijing government and a possible impediment to the city's peaceful turnover. Assisting Mr. Mulligan is the attractive young cousin of the fleeing revolutionary. Mulligan will need all the help he can get: the ruthless communists have sent their ultimate secret weapon, a super-ninja-from-hell, to clamp down on the colonial disorder. A good plot in a good setting, but the reliance on swashbuckling smoke and mirrors takes the story perilously and needlessly close to farce.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-85269-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992