It's the end of the Reagan years, with Iran-contra still smoldering, and G.H.W. Bush looking like a winner in the '88 elections.
Rob Price is a Nam vet with attitude who's lost his Wall Street job and takes one with a small obscure government agency. When he smells Mossad and a fellow agent is killed, he disappears himself with a satchel of black money.
When he turns whistleblower he finds himself with a corporate tiger by the tail and a Eurasian martial artist girlfriend that other guys envy.
|Publisher:||St. Marks Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I liked this book. A friend gave me a review copy and said it was hot, which it is. A thriller with an intricate plot including espionage and secret weapons. The relationships that develop in the novel totally make sense and kept me into the book. Narrator Rob Price is intelligent and driven, Jennie Chen Garthwaite is just really smart. When they find each other, the odds change in his favor. By the middle of the book he’s a kind of whistleblower on his agency, and she’s wanting him to keep his head down. He goes for it anyway, a very guy-thing with him, and she goes along with it to keep him alive. Toward the end they are right on the edge, with corporate spook-thugs getting close. I was really relieved he got out of it alive, but shocked by the ending. I enjoyed this book. It’s a thriller, but with people that got me involved, some really strange characters, but all interesting, especially the demented scientists.
Bjarne Rostaing does not write standard books. His horse race book was just as much about race as thoroughbreds, and praised by Stanley Crouch. EPSTEIN'S PANCAKE doesn't have the normal good guys and villains. Rob Price is a quietly pissed of Nam vet, an angry boy scout who gets in trouble with his agency and spends half the book on the run from it. Rostaing doesn’t get his characters from central casting either. They are strange, sharply drawn and move the book along – a nut-case anti-Semite scientist, a casual jaded area head who likes cocaine, and an estranged daughter to begin with. The figurehead boss of his agency is a privileged old WASP blowhard, and the real boss is a tough, smart, ambiguous man who gets Price’s respect. His Eurasian martial-artist love interest is deeply drawn. Smarter and more experienced, she saves his amateur butt when he gets in over his head playing Don Quixote with a big Texas arms corporation as the windmill. The conflict with that corporation is the core of the book, and entitles Rostaing to call his book A Political Thriller. As he fights it, Rob goes from an unfocused resentful man to a kind of fighting liberal, which is a new type for American thrillers. Smacks of late Le Carré, but the flavor is American.
A disillusioned Viet Nam Vet, an old-world New York tailor shop and a trick attaché case slyly lure us into what's actually a pretty intellectual meditation on corporate greed and corruption, all disguised as a fast-paced thriller filled with intrigue, betrayal and murder. It's American realpolitik laid bare, an object lesson for our time.
What a terrific read! Equal parts Everyman, James Bond and Dr. Strangelove in a Swiss watch work of a plot that connects the political dots from Iran Contra, Star Wars and Viet Nam, back to JFK and forward, by extrapolation, to our own corrupt Citizens United present.