CAPITAL CRIMES by Stuart Woods


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Liberal? Feeling alienated from the political process? A disenchanted Lefty is taking matters into his own hands by murdering right-wing politicos.

The execution of Sen. Frederick Wallace (R., S.C.) is so expertly handled and the crime scene so clean that the Feds are convinced from the starting gun that it’s the first of a series, and sure enough, a sequence of victims is soon dispatched in increasingly improbable ways. Right Radio talk-show star Van Vandervelt’s car is blown up; conservative New Jersey TV commentator Tim Brennan is poisoned by the old umbrella ferrule; another dose is planned for televangelist Dr. Don Beverly Calhoun. As Republican lawmakers denounce the killings as part of a vast left-wing conspiracy with links to President William Henry Lee IV (The Run, 2000, etc.), the First Lady, CIA director Katharine Rule Lee marshals her troops to generate leads. Their first suspect, a retired CIA agent with a liberal bent, would be perfect if he hadn’t been crippled by a stroke, and their second, another ex-CIA type, has vanished without leaving behind a single photo or fingerprint. But the Woods regulars are not without their resources. Felicity Devonshire, of Her Majesty’s Military Intelligence, is helping tie the unknown to a radical British group, and Kate’s old mentor Ed Rawls, now doing hard time for treason, swears he knows the perp’s identity and location, and he’ll swap his information for a full pardon and a million dollars. Will Robert Kinney, the colorless deputy director of the FBI, and his guys zero in on the assassin before he has ultra-right Supreme Court justice Thomas Graydon in his sights? And if they don’t, so what?

Mercurial Woods’s most recent thrillers (The Short Forever, 2002; Blood Orchid, 2002) have been so ludicrous that it’s a pleasure to report that this fleet, workmanlike entry is merely uninvolving and unbelievable.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-15090-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003


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