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Archive for Sunday, May 12, 2002

Morrell delivers intensity again in ‘Long Lost’

May 12, 2002

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As David Morrell's new novel, "Long Lost," opens, a stranger stops Brad Denning on the street and gushes how good it is to see him after all these years. As Brad wonders who he is, the man gleefully identifies himself: "Your brother!"

Brad does have a long-lost brother. Twenty-five years ago when he was 13, he told Petey, who was following him everywhere, to get lost. And that is exactly what happened. Petey, then, 9, bicycled away and was never seen again.

Is this stranger really Petey?

Brad is skeptical. Ever since he appeared on television to talk about his work as an architect and mentioned his lost brother, a half-dozen people have appeared, claiming to be Petey. Yet, this latest claimant knows so many intimate details about his family that Brad finally accepts him as the genuine article.

Petey explains that he was abducted and kept prisoner for six years. When he escaped, he never bothered to come home because he was brainwashed into believing that their parents would be ashamed of him.

Brad, who has always felt guilty about Petey's disappearance, is determined to help him build a good life. One day, he takes his 11-year-old son and Petey on a picnic. Brad is standing on a bluff when whump! Petey pushes him off and leaves him for dead. He then abducts Brad's son and wife, steals his valuables and disappears.

The FBI tells Brad that the man was just another impostor, a career criminal, but Brad isn't so sure. Either way, he must find the man to get back his wife and son.

Brad learns a few investigative techniques from a former FBI agent, even learns how to shoot, and sets out in search of the mystery man. The result is a typical Morrell hero, a desperate man under extreme duress.

Ever since he made a sensational literary debut with "First Blood," the novel about a disaffected Vietnam veteran named Rambo, Morrell has explored such dark and intense emotions as pain, guilt, fear, rage, doubt, frustration and hatred. With "Long Lost," he demonstrates yet again that he has no peers when it comes to portraying a man pushed to the limit.

The novel, which combines action and abnormal psychology, climaxes in mind-blowing madness reminiscent of a Hitchcock film. Ingeniously constructed and written in Morrell's highly polished prose, this book should satisfy even the most discriminating thriller fans.

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