HEAT by Stuart Woods

HEAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Woods (L.A. Times, 1993, etc.) offers a high-concept action thriller that never lives up to its potential. Just imagine movie titles rolling over a helicopter as it ""beats its way"" over Atlanta Federal Prison. There's a loud Dolby track of the engine as the camera pans the prison walls and zooms in on a crowd of nasty convicts swarmed around two fighting men. ""What's going on down there?"" asks Kipling Fuller of the US Attorney General's office. What's going on is that Jesse 'Warden, 6' 3"" and 220 pounds of toughness (maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger or Steven Seagal; forget Bruce Willis) is serving two back-to-back life sentences because a dead cop and $500,000 in drug money were found in the trunk of his car. He's spent the first 14 months of his sentence in solitary confinement because each time he comes out, he gets into another fight. And why are all these hard-assed cons after Jesse's blood? Naturally, because he's heat -- a cop. Kip and his boss, the creep who framed Jesse, offer him a deal. They will let him go if he will help them convict a seemingly indestructible Vietnam vet who heads a well-armed religious cult in the Idaho panhandle. They will also get a letter to his young daughter, Carrie, who was adopted after his wife died of cancer. In the working out of Jesse's victory (he finds his daughter, gets the bad guys, and screws the federal government) there's nothing to distract us from the predictable conventions. Jesse finds romance with Jenny, his large-breasted landlady, who has a daughter named Carey. After the climax, a Fourth of July of plastic explosives, he flies off into the sunrise with his woman and the homonymic girls. Naturally, he pilots his own jet. Roll credits. Woods never keeps up the power of his hard-muscled beginning. But he writes fairy tales for guys that continue to find a market.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HarperCollins