CAGING THE RAVEN by William Heffernan


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The kidnapping of Richard Nixon Well, more or less. The ex-President here is called Edmund Norris, but he's Nixonian through and through; and the added appeal in this terrorist/CIA tangle is the amusing projection of the smug, wily Nixon personality. Norris, retired in disgrace to a San-Clemente-style retreat in Palm Beach, is the kidnap target of a publicity-hungry Puerto Rican splinter group called WAR and led by photographer-philosopher Carlos Rivera: a six-person team (including three gringo radicals, two of them women) stakes out Norris' beach, kills his two Secret Service men, makes off with the ex-Prez to a hidden shack in the Everglades, and formulates its ransom demands (Puerto Rican independence and aid). Leading the strike force to recover Norris: FBI Assistant Director John Walter Henry, a much-beleaguered top terrorism expert. But as Henry investigates, he finds himself sandbagged at every turn by the CIA, which has shredded its files on Puerto Rican terrorists; in fact, the CIA wants Norris to be killed--because he knows some very damaging secrets about the CIA. And, meanwhile, kidnapper Rivera and kidnapee Norris are engaged in increasingly chummy dialectical discussions--about communism vs. capitalism, about the wording of Rivera's ransom demands, about negotiation tactics. Will Rivera kill Norris before he reveals his top-secret CIA info (about CIA sponsorship of Third World terrorist groups)? Or will Norris/Nixon wriggle out of the crisis in true pre-Watergate form? Some nice trimmings, then, for veteran Nixon-watchers. Otherwise: just-serviceable terrorist/CIA/FBI melodramatics--from the author of Broderick (1980).

Pub Date: June 1st, 1981
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster