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Critical Mass

Steve Martini

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Headline Feature

Published : 1998

Copyright : Steven Paul Martini 1998

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7472-7601-3
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7472-7601-2

Publisher's Write-Up

Joselyn 'Joss' Cole, a burned-out public defender from LA, has opted for a quieter life in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Her only significant clients are a group of fishermen suffering from a strange illness that Joss believes has an industrial cause. Then into her office walks Dean Belden, a well-heeled client in search of a lawyer to help him set up a business. Within days Belden is subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury and, just minutes before testifying, he is killed in a fiery explosion on board his floatplane.

Meanwhile, Gideon van Ry, a nuclear fission expert, is in California maintaining a database of weapons of mass destruction. He is troubled by the failure to account for two nuclear devices missing from the former Soviet Union. He has discovered that under a false bill of lading they were shipped to an American company called Belden Electronics. Unable to locate this firm, Gideon is left with only one possible lead, the lawyer who incorporated Belden Electronics - Joselyn Cole...

Fraught with tension and suspense, Steve Martini's magnificent new thriller tells a story based on today's fears and tomorrow's headlines.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (010702) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This is a BookLore first, I've never even heard of this author, but I picked it up because of the title, because I'm a secret science anorak (well, radioactive things which go boom, anyway.) Joss Cole is a lawyer whose small practice is asked to incorporate a company for a man called Dean Belden, she is glad to accept because she has little paying work at that time, living as she does in a small fishing community.

Not long after starting the paperwork for Dean Belden, he asks her to attend a Federal Grand Jury hearing with him as his attorney. She flies with him, but when his turn comes to be called, he has vanished, so Joss catches a taxi back to the harbour where he landed his flying boat, arriving just in time to see him get on board and be blown to smithereens by a bomb. This puts Joss in a bit of a difficult position, when she finds that he was possibly a dealer in things that he should not have dealt in.

Meanwhile, Gideon van Ry who is working on a record of all of the fissionable items maintained and left over at the end of the cold war, finds that two atomic bombs are missing from a Russian silo. These, he suspects have been taken out of the country for some unknown purpose. He starts to track them.

The path of the bombs leads Gideon to Joss, via Belden, and he finds her in a state of shock, having had a rather nasty attempt on her life. Pooling their resources, they track Gideon, trying to find the bombs before they can be used.

This is one of those books which brings to life those horror stories about the fate of lots of deadly stuff after the collapse of the Soviet military machine, added to a bunch of nasty men who bear grudges, you can have a very nasty situation. The actual plotting of this is ingenious, with a healthy dollop of irony when you consider how they hide the actual bomb, although Martini has held back no punches when describing the side effects of radiation poisoning, with the horrible death resulting from something that you can neither see nor feel.
Chrissi (1st July 2002)

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