Ward S(wift) Just Publishers Weekly - Essay

Publishers Weekly

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[With "In the City of Fear," Just] has produced another fine novel about the Washington scene, one so authentic and honest in its portrayal of the political era of the past 20 years that it reads like fact not fiction. The three central figures are Congressman Piatt Warden, ambitious and ready to compromise his integrity if it will help him get ahead; his wife, Marina; and Sam Joyce, the colonel whom she loves passionately, and who has given his life to living up to his duty in Washington and in Vietnam. They come across as a very real and believable human beings, as do the dozens of friends and colleagues whose own stories interlock with theirs. The terrible pressures and fears that are always a part of the Washington scene are brought vividly to life, as is the loneliness that haunts even those in high places. The shadow of the Vietnam War looms over all of them and takes its own tragic toll. Whether he is writing about a cocktail party or mourning the sudden death of a good man, Just writes with a passionate conviction that keeps the reader's attention riveted.

A review of "In the City of Fear," in Publishers Weekly (reprinted from the August 13, 1982 issue of Publishers Weekly, published by R. R. Bowker Company, a Xerox company; copyright © 1982 by Xerox Corporation), Vol. 222, No. 7, August 13, 1982, p. 67.