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Hugo Fitzduane, a former combat photographer, suspects that the death of a wealthy Swiss student was not a suicide, but his investigations soon lead him to a mysterious figure known only as "The Hangman"
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A photographer with a military past leads a search through Switzerland for a brilliant, spectacularly vile terrorist--in a gory but consistently clever thriller. The villain in this flamboyant first novel is the brilliant, illegitimate son of a senior CIA official and a Cuban woman; he operates under several identities but is known to his hunters as ``The Hangman.'' Photographer Hugo Fitzduane, current occupant of his family's ancient Irish castle, has his first run-in with The Hangman when he bumps into a Swiss college student...who's swaying from the end of a rope in a gloomy copse on Fitzduane's island. The boy had been studying at a college for rich brats, and his death is the first of three at the school where extracurricular activities appear to run to the occult. Offended and intrigued, Fitzduane detaches himself from the charms and skills of his thoroughly liberated news anchorette girlfriend and, after consulting with his old Irish Ranger pals, flies off to Bern, Switzerland, to find out how the dead lad could have become suicidal and just what is the meaning of the letter A and the geraniums on his discreet little tattoo. Fitzduane is a severe shock to the Swiss system. Everywhere he goes accidents happen, bullets fly, bodies drop, and blood flows. The patience of the police is sorely tested, but Fitzduane's swashbuckling investigation begins to pin down the location and a few of the identities of The Hangman, who is busy executing his latest, greatest scheme--which he hopes will make him the richest psychotic sadistic homosexual international terrorist in the business (after which he plans to retire). Everything comes to a head back in Ireland, where Fitzduane's castle proves its worth as a fortress after all these centuries. Freewheeling gore, sex, and violence presented skillfully and with plenty of good humor. Switzerland can be expected to sue. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
O'Reilly conjures up an astoundingly successful debut thriller that ticks along with the precision of a Swiss timepiece and the whimsy of a cuckoo clock. On a morning ride through his ancestral Irish island estate, Hugo Fitzduane--soldier turned war photographer--finds the hanged body of Swiss student Rudi von Graffenlaub. The unique design tattooed on Rudi's wrist is also found on two terrorists killed by Shane Kilmara, Hugo's former Army commander and head of the Irish Rangers--a sort of national anti-terrorist SWAT team. Kilmara gives Hugo entree to police channels in Bern, Switzerland, where bizarrely mutilated bodies turn up soon after Hugo's arrival, disrupting the Swiss sense of order. The Bern police chief assigns Heinz Raufman to watch over Fitzduane while he searches for a connection between Rudi and the terrorists; O'Reilly contrasts the national characteristics of these two protagonists in picture-perfect Bern to hilarious effect. The gruesome antics of an amoral villain lead Hugo and Heinz through a maelstrom of murder in Switzerland and Ireland to a spine-tingling showdown with an army of terrorists at Hugo's medieval castle. O'Reilly's readers will be turning pages into the early morning hours. 50,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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