Steve Shepard Murder of Crows; A Thriller

ISBN 13: 9780891415985

Murder of Crows; A Thriller

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9780891415985: Murder of Crows; A Thriller
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Geopolitical thriller tells the story of a new breed Russian general's scheme to dominate the U.S.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A young orthopedist in rural Nebraska and a fugitive from a Siberian gulag are all that stand between the US and devastation at the hands of a Cold War enemy. Dr. George Duval witnesses a fiery truck accident on a country road. Unable to help either of the men who die in the crash, he takes some pictures of the scene and reports the incident to the local sheriff. A subsequent investigation discloses no sign of an accident, let alone bodies, and the photos are unaccountably blurred. Deeply suspicious, George sends soil samples from the site to a university chum for analysis. Informed that he has forwarded the makings of a thermonuclear device, George quickly concludes that the US has mounted a broken-arrow cover-up. When his offices are ransacked and friends start meeting violent ends, the apprehensive physician takes it on the lam with live-in lover Michelle Falk. As it happens, they're fleeing agents of General Uri Saratov, an embittered veteran of Afghanistan who's determined to engineer Russia's second coming as a superpower. Unbeknownst to the Kremlin, he is masterminding a horrific conspiracy; his handpicked operatives have smuggled 60-odd hydrogen bombs (cunningly disguised as industrial boilers) into as many American cities. Meanwhile, Leonid Ushta (an academic incarcerated for a crime of passion) breaks out of a remote prison camp whose inmates have been building an immense ground-wave transmitter with which the plotters plan to detonate the H-bombs they've secreted in the US. Once in the clear, Ushta conveys what he knows to a CIA agent. Previously lulled into a false sense of security by Moscow's unilateral disarmament moves, Washington wakes up at the 11th hour. With information from George (who's come in from the cold) and Ushta to guide them, the feds maneuver frantically to halt Saratov's doomsday countdown. A diverting and workmanlike debut thriller from Sheppard, a former longtime Pentagon correspondent for ABC-TV. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the new world of post-communist political thrillers, the splintered Evil Empire no longer poses much of a threat, but Shepard nonetheless posits an insidious Russia-inspired premise in his intriguing first novel: a group of disenchanted Russian military officers, in order to regain control of the Kremlin and return their country to glory, organize a plot to persuade the U.S. to reduce drastically its nuclear armaments. Simultaneously, they plan to smuggle hydrogen bombs disguised as industrial boilers into the U.S., with the bombs capable of being set off via signals from a massive radio grid in the middle of Siberia. Their plan proceeds without a hitch until George Duval, a young Nebraska physician, is involved in a motorcycle accident with a truck carrying one of the "boilers." Duval takes photos of the injured driver and his dead companion, but when he discovers that the pictures have been damaged by radioactive dust, he begins to suspect a conspiracy. Confirmation comes when he and his girlfriend are mysteriously attacked and nearly everyone he tells about the accident is either murdered or disappears. Meanwhile, in a series of less effective subplots, the FBI begins tracking Duval while ferreting out the details of the conspiracy, with a Russian academic who escapes from a labor camp near the radio grid providing key information. A final confrontation between the U.S. president and the Russians offers an inventive surprise ending. Shepard's background as the chief Pentagon correspondent for ABC News serves him well as he fills in background and local color. Some of the scenes written from the Russian perspective are heavy-handed, but this promising debut features an engaging lead trapped in a doomsday scenario that's both terrifying and believable.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Shepard, Steve
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