CORSICAN HONOR by William Heffernan

CORSICAN HONOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sprawling, spirited follow-up to The Corsican (1983)--one of the violent crime dramas that Heffernan specialized in before his lighter mystery-thrillers (Blood Rose, etc.). Here, as in The Corsican, the nearly nonstop action--which ranges from 1947 to 1990--mixes spicy Corsican gangster lore and intense spy-vs.-spy intrigue. The story opens in 1980 Marseilles, where hero Alex Moran, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) office chief, sets out to ensnare German terrorist Ernst Ludwig, a sadistic killing machine who doesn't let his Soviet protectors get in the way of his pleasures--bombing innocents and rape-mutilating young women. Alex, aided by his Corsican mobster ``uncles'' Antoine and Meme Pisani--who served Alex's CIA-honcho dad before him--gets close enough to Ludwig to wound him in the cheek and push him into a vengeful kidnapping of Alex's wife, Stephanie. To save her, Alex turns international outlaw, strong-arming the local KGB chief for help--an act that doesn't save Stephanie from Ludwig's sadistic wrath but does force Alex into long exile at the Pisani's Corsica stronghold. Cut to a long flashback set in 1947, detailing how the Pisanis rose to power with the help of Alex's father, who in turn used them to control Red agitators in Marseilles. Cut to 1990, with Alex an unhappy teacher of English at a small New England college- -until Ludwig reappears in Europe and the CIA calls on Alex to take his best shot. Middle-aged Alex undergoes rigorous Special Forces retraining, then heads to Europe for a drawn-out but consistently exciting manhunt that brings him head-to-head against not only Ludwig but his father as well--and the devil's deal for power and fortune he made 43 years before. Busy, bloody, generally gripping--and tougher than a barrel of Corleones, though not nearly as clever.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-93465-0
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1992




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