Title: Los Alamos
Publisher: Broadway Books, New York, NY, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.
FINE/FINE unread copy protected by Brodart Archival Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000491
Synopsis: Spring 1945. As work on the first atomic bomb nears completion on a remote mesa in New Mexico, Karl Bruner, a Manhattan Project security officer, is found murdered in nearby Santa Fe. Is Bruner the victim of a violent sexual encounter, as the local police believe, or is his death a crime that threatens to jeopardize the secret of the Project itself? This is the mainspring of Joseph Kanon's Los Alamos, a supremely original and romantic new thriller that re-creates the most compelling real-life drama of this century.
Michael Connolly, the intelligence officer brought in to crack Bruner's case--and then make it disappear--soon discovers that investigating a murder in Los Alamos is anything but routine. In a town so secret it does not officially exist, he must thread his way through a makeshift community of displaced ÚmigrÚs, soldiers, and idealistic scientists for whom murder is, at best, an unwelcome intrusion as they race to end a brutal war. Only when Connolly falls in love and begins an affair with Emma, the enigmatic wife of one of the scientists, does he truly begin to unravel the past associations, tangled sex lives, and conflicting morality at the dark heart of the Project.
Interweaving fact and fiction, Los Alamos is at once a powerful novel of historical intrigue and a vivid portrait of those involved in the Manhattan Project: Robert Oppenheimer, its charismatic scientific director; General Groves, its blunt Army commander; and the brilliant team of scientists whose work would change the world forever. Like the invention at its core, Los Alamos is about fusion--of loyalty and betrayal, idealism and guilt--and its deadly aftermath. Elegantly written and deftly constructed, Los Alamos marks the emergence of a major new storytelling talent.
Review: A successful thriller tells an exciting, satisfying story and lets us look at the lives of some interesting people in an environment either totally new or freshly observed. Former publishing executive Joseph Kanon's first novel does all of that, and adds a layer of acute perception about recent history that immediately vaults it up into the hallowed heights of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Charles McCarry's The Tears of Autumn--thrillers that deserve space next to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. In the spring of 1945, as the war in Europe is coming to an end, a former police reporter turned Army Intelligence agent named Mike Connolly arrives on the high mesa above Santa Fe, New Mexico, where J. Robert Oppenheimer and a team of scientists are rushing to finish their atomic bomb. A security man has been found battered to death, and Connolly's job is to see if it is anything more than the sordid sex crime it appears to be. Using a devilishly clever mixture of real and fictional characters, Kanon spins out a story that manages to be audacious, persuasive--and totally engrossing.
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