A SLOW SUICIDE by William Jovanovich


Email this review


The former chairman of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, who gets to write pretty much what he wants to (his most recent works were the steamy thriller The Money Trail and the Auchincloss-ish The World's Last Night), tackles the spy thriller with a story about the pursuit of an agent who doesn't know what he knows. It is the very near future, and the two once-superpowers have a very big, very nice secret that they don't want to share with Filthy rich Europe or embarrassingly rich Japan. They've at last hit on a cheap, easily managed, room-temperature fusion process that they plan to use along with the Third World--but that they want to keep from their wealthy neighbors until everybody has a chance to catch up economically. The US is protecting its part of the secret with The Commission--the small, secret federal force whose primary business is keeping all the other federal agencies honest. The glitch in the protection plan is Commission agent Alex Petrie, who, before The Commission hired him, was Alexandr Vladimirovich Pyotorov--a Princeton-educated businessman who had become the friend of a, Professor Turcheff, a Soviet scientist who may have told Petrie more than he needs to know about the new energy source. So, in the way of American secret agencies, The Commission tries to work their need to bottle up Petrie in with a plan to foil a minor assassination. But the baffled Petrie escapes and flees, pursued not only by The Commission but by some interested Mafia types. He heads for a rendezvous in Mexico with fellow fugitive Turcheff, picking up an attractive ex-hippie on the way, and learns that the Mexican government has joined the forces looking for him. Nobody seems terribly interested in taking him alive. Those who can swallow the power-source bunkum will find a perfectly adequate chase-the-spy thriller. Very nice scenery.

ISBN: 15-183095-9
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online: