A thought-provoking new thriller set in the tense moments of the Gulf War. When Clyde Banks, an Iowan Deputy with a newborn baby and a wife in the Gulf, starts looking into odd events in his town, he discovers a plot involving a new Triangle Trade of terrorists, chemical warfare, and training. Mixing the events staged in Washington, D.C. and those happening in the Gulf, a strange thread of deceit appears to be winding its way back to Iowa.
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When this latest wacky thriller from Bury (Interface, not reviewed)--a pseudonym for Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age, 1995, etc.) and J. Frederick George--puts a bunch of overweight, incorruptible Iowa huskers up against Saddam Hussein just before Desert Storm, you know the bad guy with the moustache is going to take a fall. Washington, D.C., couldn't be farther from Folks County, Iowa, where the murder of an Arab agriculture student sends the slow- talking Deputy Sheriff Clyde Banks poking into the drab closets of a high-tech bioscience laboratory that just might be cooking up Saddam's next biological warfare weapon. Meanwhile, Betsy Vandeventer, a meek, low-level CIA analyst, formerly of Folks County, makes the mistake of informing her superiors that not enough of the billions in Food for Peace foreign aid going into Iraq is being spent on soybeans. Targeted for bureaucratic extinction, Vandeventer forms an uneasy partnership with Richard Spector, a slickly confident CIA executive of uncertain loyalties. The authors play satirically with the humble cloth from which history stitches its tapestry, as the fate of the free world stumbles on, propelled by the random, inconsequential, frequently stupid, and often hilarious foibles of mere mortals. Slimy ``inside of the inside of the inside'' power-players join unctuous hit men and hopeless drunks to create mayhem for the plain Heartland types like Vandeventer, Banks and his bride, Desiree ``Deltoids'' Dhont, an Army Reserve nurse who sticks Banks with their five-month old daughter so she can win one for Poppy Bush when Desert Shield becomes Desert Storm. The plain folks take a few tumbles, Banks changes more than his share of diapers, and the world remains safe for democracy--until, at least, the authors bless us with a sequel. A charming, uproariously clever thriller, in the tradition of Ross Thomas and Richard Condon, with plenty of wry wit and deftly rendered characters. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Several months prior to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, when Iraq was still seen as an American ally against Iran, low-level CIA analyst Betsy Vandeventer steps outside her bureaucratic territory in a meeting by observing that the Iraqis might be misusing $300 million in U.S. agricultural aid to develop biological weapons. Betsy's theory throws a wrench in the long-developed foreign policy plans of high-level diplomat James Millikan, who deals with it by creating committees to study the problem, i.e., he "cobwebs" it. Meanwhile, a small-town sheriff in Iowa begins to stumble across the possibility that local Jordanian students are actually Iraqis in disguise, sent by Saddam to develop a dangerous germ-warfare weapon where his enemies would least expect it?at a small Midwestern college. Another bureaucrat, this time an academic determined to advance his career by a steady flow of grant funds and foreign-exchange students, makes the undercover enterprise easier. Bury (Interface) is at his best creating an elegant, sophisticated portrait of Washington. His capital is not a place of action and suspense so much as a more realistic place of intragovernmental turf wars and bureaucratic stalemate.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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