CHINA WHITE by Tony Kenrick


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Veteran suspense writer Kenrick (The Nighttime Guy, Faraday's Flowers), in a 12th novel with just enough zip and bang-bang to offset its feeble plot, blends a good cop's revenge quest with the passage of a huge heroin shipment. The cop is rugged Billy Marcus, whose partner died in an Atlanta shoot-out because Marcus was slow on the draw. Now Marcus has a score to settle, with Hinkler and Boyle, the lowlife ex-cons involved, and their employer Bendroit, a super-smooth British shipping magnate about to make 50 million dollars from a consignment of China White--a three-way deal with the Mafia and Hong Kong Triads. Marcus, improbably masquerading as another ex-con, is hired by Bendroit (can't he smell a cop?) to move the final hundred kilos out of the Golden Triangle. Along with Boyle and glamorous lawyer Claire Tanner (yes, romance soon blossoms), he flies to Thailand, hooks up with a bunch of mercenaries, collects the smack from a Chinese warlord in jungly Burma, and sails it downriver while the mercs stave off bandits. Marcus takes care of his own business by shooting first Boyle, and then Hinkler in Hong Kong, in tense, credible confrontations. But back in New York, where his ship comes in, Marcus is transformed into Superman as he escapes death by fire, death by water, and the combined onslaught of the Mafia and corrupt cops. Drugs and money end up on the ocean floor, Bendroit is killed by a Triad enforcer, and Marcus (ain't love grand?) ends up in the arms of the lovely Claire. The fights, and the Golden Triangle trip, are what's best here; Kenrick knows his guns and knives and exotic locales. The rest, lacking the connective tissue of logic and plausibility, is formulaic pap.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Little, Brown