HIGH VOLTAGE by Thomas Chastain


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Case #3 for sybaritic, Saville-Row-suited, cigar-smoking Max Kauffman (Pandora's Box), who is faced here with a new type of extortion. Somebody has mastered Con Ed's power system and can call the shots on blackouts; just to show off, he blacks out the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and then police headquarters. He wants $3 million. Chastain soon divides the interest between Kauffman and the six criminals (including one girl) who are behind the plot. What four of the hoods don't know is that the girl and the fifth criminal have false identities and plan to pull a payment switch and escape with all the loot themselves while the others are left holding the bag. Kauffman's team eventually dismantles the plot, though Kauffman is shot, almost fatally, and the girl and her buddy (he's really her dad) retire to Buffalo--with a bag full of worthless paper money. Well-made, but weak on character--so (like earlier Kauffmans) little more than a lot of threats, twists, and bullets.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday