GLITTERBUG by Tony Kenrick


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 Humbug is more like it for thriller #14 from Kenrick (Neon Tough, 1988, etc.): an absurd and nearly monotonic tale of an amnesiac caught in an international power struggle. The single note is a strong one, though, as the narrator wakes up amnesiac in a hospital bed. He is told that he is Jerry Parrish and that he lost his memory in a car crash. Visits by his brother and girlfriend fail to jog his brain, but Jerry goes back to his old job anyway, as a finder of missing persons for Acis Corp., where he shone because of his hot hunches; apparently he was on the trail of Kurt Frohman, a credit-jumping German scientist, when he crashed. Revelations, including prowess at street-fighting, abound as Jerry retraces his steps; they culminate, after he catches his Acis boss in a lie, in Jerry's being shanghaied by men who tell him that his new/old life was a lie. He's really Jack Penrose, federal intelligence agent, who, after his accident, was kidnapped and set up in a false life by Acis, which wanted to use his hunches to find Frohman for the Chinese, covetous of his mysterious new breakthrough, ``glitterbug''--which the feds are after too. So Jack begins life anew, with a fresh family and girlfriend, and sniffs further along Frohman's trail--until he catches his ``father'' in a lie, whereupon he's snatched by men who claim to be the real feds and who explain that his latest new/old life was yet another lie engineered by Acis and that he's really a divorcÇ with a daughter and can he please help them find Frohman? Kenrick keeps this up longer than you might think or want, until ``Jack'' kills the bad guys and finds both Frohman and a life he can live with. With formulaic action, glossy scenery, and mechanical twists, this reads just like a film novelization; in fact, Tri-Star has already bought up the story as a Bruce Willis vehicle.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-88184-748-8
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991