The Sky Is Falling

The Sky Is Falling

4.0 63
by Sidney Sheldon

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The Winthrops are America's royal family, and its Prince Charming is the sexy, charismatic Gary Winthrop. Now the man on his way to becoming the Senate's brightest new star is found murdered in his home-the latest in a series of incidents that have killed five members of the family in a single year. One of the last people to see Gary Winthrop alive is Washington

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The Winthrops are America's royal family, and its Prince Charming is the sexy, charismatic Gary Winthrop. Now the man on his way to becoming the Senate's brightest new star is found murdered in his home-the latest in a series of incidents that have killed five members of the family in a single year. One of the last people to see Gary Winthrop alive is Washington anchorwoman Dana Evans. She makes it her mission to investigate these seemingly random tragedies, little realizing that her search will sweep her across several continents, place her and her young son in grave danger, and lead her to a truth that will astound the world.

Editorial Reviews

New York Daily News
When you want a novel you simply cannot put down, go to Sheldon.
People Magazine
The master of the bestselling game.
Boston Herald
Springs one surprise after another, page after irresistible page.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Efficiently brisk and reliably suspenseful, Sheldon's (Tell Me Your Dreams, etc.) 17th novel demonstrates that this veteran master of commercial fiction has not lost his touch. Freshly returned to Washington, D.C., from a stint reporting in Sarajevo, TV newscaster Dana Evans (introduced in Sheldon's The Best Laid Plans) struggles to cope with her new adopted son, troubled 12-year-old Kemal, whose parents and sister were killed in the fighting. Back on the job, Dana interviews youngish millionaire Gary Winthrop, the scion of a Kennedyesque clan, only to learn the next day that the prospective Senate candidate and philanthropist has been murdered in his Washington townhouse. Unbelievably, Dana is the only person who finds it odd that five members of the Winthrop family have died violent deaths in the last year. Despite this weakness in the plot, Sheldon crafts a page-turner that takes Dana on a worldwide quest from France, Germany and Italy to Alaska and Moscow as she pursues her hunch that all the Winthrop deaths are related. Deceased family patriarch Taylor Winthrop, she discovers, was a manipulative, unscrupulous businessman, politico and womanizer with many enemies. And the senior Winthrop's connection to the real-life Siberian underground city of Krasnoyarsk-26 and its production of plutonium proves the source of the family's wealth and their ill fortune. A love triangle involving Dana, sports anchor Jeff Connors and his ex-wife, internationally known model Rachel Stevens, seems gratuitous, tossed in merely to add plot texture, but it does provide some viable moments of romance and schmaltz. When the villains behind the killings turn against Dana as she comes closer to the truth, the tension builds and holds right through to a seven-alarm finale. Agent, Mort Janklow. 750,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday main selections; Mystery Guild featured alternate; People Book Club alternate; 6-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
This latest novel from Sheldon (The Best Laid Plans) probably won't have much chance of being selected as an Oprah Book Club choice (hers are certainly more thoughtful, character-driven picks), but that won't stop it from being in demand by most library patrons. The book has pretty flimsy character development, a feeble plot line, and an ending that hardly surprises. Yet it works. From the first page, the reader is caught up in the snappy and suspenseful chapters, which become inescapably addictive. Dana Evans is a television reporter with an apparently unlimited travel expense account who finds it peculiar when all five members of a very wealthy and highly regarded family meet untimely and violent deaths. Her investigation soon confirms her suspicions, uncovering not one but three strong motives for murder. Eventually, her search leads her to top-secret Russian and U.S. agencies dealing with the production and sale of nuclear weapons. Needless to say, her probing for the truth doesn't go unnoticed, and soon she is running for her life. The last few chapters neatly resolve all the intrigue, including secondary story lines involving her adopted son; her fianc , Jeff; and a shaky relationship with her mother. A certain purchase for any public library fiction collection. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/00.]--Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

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Product Details

Warner Books (NY)
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4.12(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.12(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

She was hurrying along Pennsylvania Avenue, a block from the White House, shivering in the cold December wind, when she heard the terrifying, earsplitting scream of air-raid sirens and then the sound of a bomber plane overhead, ready to unload its cargo of death. She stopped, frozen, engulfed in a red mist of terror.

Suddenly she was back in Sarajevo, and she could hear the shrill whistle of the bombs dropping. She closed her eyes tightly, but it was impossible to shut out the vision of what was happening all around her. The sky was ablaze, and she was deafened by the sounds of automatic-weapons fire, roaring planes, and the wump of deadly mortar shells. Nearby buildings erupted into showers of cement, bricks, and dust. Terrified people were running in every direction, trying to outrace death.

From far, far away, a man's voice was saying, “Are you all right?”

Slowly, warily, she opened her eyes. She was back on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the bleak winter sunlight, listening to the fading sounds of the jet plane and the ambulance siren that had triggered her memories.

“Miss'are you all right?”

She forced herself back to the present. “Yes. I'm'I'm fine, thank you.”

He was staring at her. “Wait a minute! You're Dana Evans. I'm a big fan of yours. I watch you on WTN every night, and I saw all your broadcasts from Yugoslavia.” His voice was filled with enthusiasm. “It must have been really exciting for you, covering that war, huh?”

“Yes.” Dana Evans's throat was dry. Exciting to see people blown to shreds, to see the bodies of babies thrown down wells, bits of human jetsam flowing down a river ofred.

She suddenly felt sick to her stomach. “Excuse me.” She turned and hurried away.

Dana Evans had returned from Yugoslavia just three months earlier. The memories were still too fresh. It seemed unreal to walk down streets in broad daylight without fear, to hear birds singing and people laughing. There had been no laughter in Sarajevo, only the sounds of exploding mortars and the anguished screams that followed.

John Donne was right, Dana thought. No man is an island. What happens to one, happens to us all, for we are all made of clay and stardust. We share the same moments of time. The universal second hand starts its unforgiving sweep toward the next minute:

In Santiago, a ten-year-old girl is being raped by her grandfather . . .

In New York City, two young lovers are kissing by candlelight . . .

In Flanders, a seventeen-year-old girl is giving birth to a crack baby . . .

In Chicago, a fireman risks his life to save a cat from a burning building . . .

In São Paulo, hundreds of fans are trampled to death at a soccer match as the stands collapse . . .

In Pisa, a mother cries with joy as she watches her baby take its first steps . . .

All this and infinitely more in the space of sixty seconds, Dana thought. And then time ticks on until it finally sends us into the same unknown eternity.

Dana Evans, at twenty-seven, was lovely looking, with a slim figure, midnight-black hair, large, intelligent gray eyes, a heart-shaped face, and a warm, contagious laugh. Dana had grown up as an army brat, the daughter of a colonel who traveled from base to base as an armament instructor, and that kind of life had given Dana a taste for adventure. She was vulnerable and at the same time fearless, and the combination was irresistible. During the year that Dana had covered the war in Yugoslavia, people all over the world were spellbound by the beautiful, young, impassioned woman broadcasting in the middle of battle, risking her life to report on the deadly events occurring around her. Now, wherever she went, she was aware of signs and whispers of recognition. Dana Evans was embarrassed by her celebrity.

Hurrying down Pennsylvania Avenue, passing the White House, Dana looked at her watch and thought, I'm going to be late for the meeting.

Washington Tribune Enterprises took up an entire block of Sixth Street NW, with four separate buildings: a newspaper printing plant, newspaper staff offices, an executive tower, and a television broadcasting complex. The Washington Tribune Network television studios occupied the sixth floor of building four. The place was always charged with energy, its cubicles humming with people at work on their computers. Wire copy from half a dozen news services constantly spewed out updated news from around the globe. The immensity of the operation never ceased to amaze and excite Dana.

It was there that Dana had met Jeff Connors. An All-Star pitcher until he injured his arm in a skiing accident, Jeff was now an on-air sports reporter for WTN and also wrote a daily column for the Washington Tribune Syndicate. He was in his thirties, tall and lean, with boyish looks and an easy, laid-back charm that attracted people to him. Jeff and Dana had fallen in love, and they had talked about marriage.

In the three months since Dana had returned from Sarajevo, events in Washington had moved swiftly. Leslie Stewart, the former owner of Washington Tribune Enterprises, had sold out and disappeared, and the corporation had been bought by an international media tycoon, Elliot Cromwell.

The morning meeting with Matt Baker and Elliot Cromwell was about to begin. When Dana arrived, she was greeted by Abbe Lasmann, Matt's sexy redheaded assistant.

“The fellows are waiting for you,” Abbe said.

“Thanks, Abbe.” Dana walked into the corner office. “Matt . . . Elliot . . .”

“You're late,” Matt Baker grumbled.

Baker was a short, gray-haired man in his early fifties, with a gruff, impatient manner fueled by a brilliant, restless mind...

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