(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Calvin Dexter is a lawyer in a small New Jersey town, but his experience in stalking Vietcong in booby-trapped tunnels has made him a man to be feared by the cruel and lawless. When his teenage daughter was murdered by a gang leader, Dexter tracked the killer down and executed him, but his grief-haunted wife’s suicide has left him a loner.

Years after Vietnam he is hired by a rich Canadian businessman to learn the fate of his idealistic grandson, Ricky Colenso, in Bosnia. What Calvin Dexter, the Avenger, discovers is that Ricky Colenso was murdered brutally by several Serbian thugs led by the monstrous mass killer Zoran Zilic.

The Avenger’s first problem is to locate his vicious subject, and his search leads him to the United Arab Emirates and a good geography lesson for the reader. (Who knows how many emirates there are and can name them?) His snooping soon leads him to the narrow peninsular of San Martin, an imaginary jungle republic on the east coast of South America. Zilic is holed up there in a luxurious and apparently impregnable hideout, but the Avenger’s difficulties are multiplied by the interests of a powerful faction in Washington who have their own uses for Zilic. How this all works out, how the Avenger outsmarts both the Serbian cutthroat and the cynical, manipulative Washington intelligence service, makes exciting reading in the best tradition of Frederick Forsyth’s thrillers. The last sentence holds a truly satisfying surprise. Don’t miss this one.