Mystery/Thriller Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, January 1998
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The Last Day by Glenn KleierWarner Books, Nov., 1997.
Hardcover, 484 pages.
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As 1999 draws to a close, world tensions are increasing. Hundreds of New Age cults have sprung up worldwide proclaiming that the end of the world is near as the Millenium approaches. Opposing groups claim that the Millenium will pass without incident. The brass at World News Network, WNN, couldn't be happier - their features covering the approach of the Millenium and the cults have enjoyed top ratings. On Christmas Eve, a secret scientific installation in the Negev desert is destroyed by a fiery impact from an unknown source. Then, on midnight of New Year's Eve, Israel is rocked by a major earthquake and a mysterious woman appears with an unearthly appearance and inexplicable powers. Calling herself Jeza, the Messiah of God, she preaches a doctrine of peace, the abolition of organized religion and the coming Apocalypse if the earth does not repent of its evil ways. WNN star reporter Jon Feldman gets the scoop of his life when he finagles top access to the Messiah. When word leaks out that Jeza was a part of a secret military experiment involving artificial intelligence, tensions rise as believers and nonbelievers debate Jeza'a origins and the source of her psychic abilitites. A skeptic by nature, with visions of a Pulitzer dancing in his head, Jon accompanies Jeza on her world tour which takes her from the White House to the Vatican in a shocking confrontation with a confused Pope who must decide if Jeza is an artificial construct born of a mad scientist's dream, the promised new Messiah -- or the Antichrist who will plunge the world into darkness.
First time novelist Glenn Kleier bursts upon the scene with a stunning debut novel which will fascinate and infuriate, provoke and inspire. Kleier presents a Hieronymus Bosch portrait of a world gone mad as the powerful and the meek alike struggle to find the truth. Kleier's portrait reveals Jeza igniting the entire planet with her shocking prophecies, a news media concerned only with mining the controversy for ratings gold, backstairs politicking at the Vatican, and a populace who is terrified by the prospect of the end of the world. Kleier's depiction of an honest and devout, if somewhat conservative, Pope who must try to divine the truth and make decisions which will have a profound impact upon Catholics and organized religion alike is brilliant. As Feldman struggles with his feelings for the ethereal and frightening Jeza and his wavering belief in God, the world rushes towards an Apocalypse as troops on both sides of the controversy explode into warfare. A fascinating, almost unbearably suspenseful scientific thriller, The Last Day will hold your attention until the last page -- and beyond.
--Claire E. White
Reign in Hell by William DiehlBallantine, Nov., 1997.
Hardcover, 437 pages.
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Martin Vail's career has been skyrocketing to the top. He now represents the United States as the assistant attorney general. A strong independent militia group has formed, with ideals and on a scale that makes the Waco group's activities look like an afternoon tea party. The group has commandeered army tanks full of weapons, robbed banks and armored cars and has even grander acts of terrorism planned. Martin Vail's job as the assistant U.S. attorney general is to find the leaders of the militia group, issue warrants for their arrest and prove that they are guilty of criminal activity by making a RICO (racketeering) case against them -- a case only a character as eccentric and confident as Vail and his team of lawyers known as the "Wild Bunch" could pull off. This would be difficult enough even if the militia, known as the Sanctuary of the Lord, did not have a hired mercenary, a former Vietnam secret assassin, after Vail's head and if there were not a race against time before the U.S. would take military action against the militia.
Reign in Hell is a stupendously exciting thriller. The details about the independent group of military experts run by a religious fanatic out for death and destruction are especially frightening. The novel will keep you on the edge of your seat with excitement, while guiding you through the strange and secret routines of the highest echelons of the United States FBI, Military and government. Fans of legal and military thrillers will be enthralled with Reign in Hell. Another triumph for William Diehl.
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