BLOOD TIES by Warren Adler


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A crude but workmanlike Rich-Family novel--from an author whose modest promise (The Sunset Gang, Trans-Siberian Express) seems to be dwindling as he opts for quantity (two a year) rather than quality. Here he recycles a numbingly familiar premise: the Estonian von Kassel clan, tops in international munitions, is gathering at the family castle; the proud, anti-Semitic old Baron is dying, so there's the inevitable speculation about which of his three sons will be chosen to take over the business. But more pressing is the question of a possible plutonium sale--a vastly profitable project opposed by moralistic youngest son Albert (""If you traffic in doomsday weapons, you court your own doomsday""), who has brought along his Jewish bedmate Dawn but soon discovers that he prefers his young, widowed aunt-by-marriage Olga (who may be a KGB agent). All this is preachy, obvious stuff, with only a few character touches to enliven the clich‚s. But things pick up with the arrival of a mysterious middle-aged floozy, who, as we learn in flashbacks, is Helga--the supposedly long-dead mother of the three von Kassel boys: she agreed to abandon her babies when discovered flagrante delicto with the Jewish gardener, the actual father--horrors!--of all three of the Baron's ""Aryan"" sons. And now Helga has returned from her life as a U.S. prostitute to take revenge on her dying husband (who also, it seems, murdered his first wife) by telling him the truth about his ""sons."" She doesn't live long enough to do so--the Baron's fierce old sister clobbers her--but the sons do learn The Truth, with predictable angst-y results. Lots of unlovely sex (the Baron was a sadistic creep in his flashbacked youth, and obnoxious Dawn bounces from Albert to his older brother); and much sloppy writing. Still--solid enough formula fiction for readers with TV-trained expectations.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1979
ISBN: 1931304548
Publisher: Putnam