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Macarthur Must Die: A Novel

Macarthur Must Die: A Novel

by Ian Slater

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Apparently trying for something like ``The Eye of the Jackal Has Landed,'' Slater ( Firespill ) has cooked up a goulash that goes down pretty easily even though the good guys' final ruse lacks spice. In order to save Axis holdings in the southwest Pacific, Japanese war minister Tojo is determined to kill General Douglas MacArthur, who is in Brisbane, Australia, plotting a counter-offensive against Japan. Having spent a year in Brisbane as an exchange student, young Tomokazu Somura is given the assignment: to pilot a U.S. Navy Wildcat launched from a Japanese I-boat submarine and drop a bomb on MacArthur's headquarters. After losing his plane in the initial unsuccessful bombing attempt, Somura heads to Brisbane and MacArthur, using his onetime Australian girlfriend as dupe and eventual hostage. The fight between an Australian destroyer escort and the Japanese sub is the best part of the book: the action is tautly detailed, and the good guys win. Otherwise, the love interest is pretty sappy, the characters are not deeply delineated and the writing ranges from serviceable to clunky. Readers will recognize the ``old Japanese proverb . . . `Once bitten, twice shy.' '' 50,000 first printing. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Gent ( North Dallas After 40 , Random, 1989) reliably delivers an entertaining novel with authentic sports portrayals. In this scathing indictment of big-time college basketball, Pat Lee is an assistant coach who loves the game and cares about his kids. But his real job is recruiting, a soul-destroying job. He reconciles his revulsion for the exploitation of these kids with heavy doses of alcohol. When one of the black players rapes a white girl, Pat's coach covers it up and sets up a smear campaign to destroy the girl's credibility. When the girl is murdered, Pat has finally had enough; it may take him 30 years to get around to taking a moral stand, but it is purifying when he does. It is disturbing that a novel condemning institutional racism depicts so many of its black characters as classic racial stereotypes. Nonetheless, this will appeal to general and sports fiction readers.-- Mary laine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Joe Collins
Convinced that eliminating General MacArthur will destroy Allied morale, the Japanese send figher pilot Tomokazu Somura in a captured American Wildcat plane to attack MacArthur's Brisbane headquarters. Somura's connections to the Allies run deep: Before the war he was in love with beautiful Aussie Elizabeth Lawson, who still pines for him despite disapproving stares from family and neighbors. Somura starts out as a sympathetic character, but when the mission is under way, he becomes a changed man, bent on killing MacArthur no matter the cost. The book's initial scenes are routine (and the Somura-Elizabeth romance is somewhat derivative of Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific"), but once the mission begins, the action streaks nonstop. Unlike other fictional assassination attempts, such as Frederick Forsyth's detailed "Day of the Jackal", this one focuses on the action, making the novel a quick and enjoyable but not indelible take on the Australian theater.
George Needham
This is a curious hybrid of true crime and mystery story. On Easter Sunday 1937, a beautiful young model named Ronnie Gideon, her mother, and their boarder were murdered in their New York apartment. The city's nine daily newspapers had a field day, recounting all the lurid details of Ronnie's life, reprinting nude photos taken during her days as a figure model, and fabricating suspects at random. Gossip columnists Walter Winchell, Ed Sullivan, and Dorothy Kilgallen also chased the story. Months after the murders, another boarder, a mentally disturbed sculptor who had been evicted from Gideon's apartment, confessed to the crime and spent the rest of his life in hospitals for the criminally insane. Author Gathje, the nephew of one of the suspects in the case, is short on style, but his fictionalized treatment of the case profits from the obviously high-interest material. There are many obvious parallels between this story and the media circuses surrounding the O. J. Simpson case and the crumbling marriage of Charles and Diana. Expect heavy use in most mystery collections.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

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