"In years when Nelson affected a professorial look, with tweed jackets and button-down shirts, Tribune
editors tried to fill their columns with thoughtful, analytical pieces," muses ace reporter Colin Burke about his mercurial editor-in-chief. "There had been a year not long ago when Nelson had stopped wearing ties altogether, and the paper had made an awkward attempt to write stories that would appeal to people who watched MTV. For the past six months he had favored dark suits and white shirts with starched collars--the accountant look. Like the rising population of homeless men sleeping on Washington's heating grates, this was a barometer of hard times." Deftly satirical writing such as this, and a gift for describing exotic locales that bring to mind the books of Eric Ambler
, make Robert Cullen one of the best thriller writers in the business. Heirs of the Fire
begins with a subtle scene at a White House press briefing, as Burke almost accidentally uncovers a serious gaffe, and then explodes into frighteningly vivid action in a Saudi Arabia suddenly torn apart by civil war. Other of Cullen's admirable efforts available in paperback include Citizen X
and Dispatch from a Cold Country
From Library Journal
Colin Burke is a newspaper reporter for the Tribune in Washington, D.C., with a specialty of digging the Washington dirt and making sure it reaches the front page, no matter how bad it makes the President or anyone else look. First he uncovers the sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia, then stumbles into another secret involving the Saudi Arabian husband of an old girlfriend. Burke risks career and skin to help her get her husband out of Saudi Arabia after his people arrest him for spying for the CIA. But he has a lot more to worry about besides dodging angry crowds and deadly bullets. His lover, Desdemona McCoy, is a close aide of the president and a CIA agent who must hide their relationship or lose her job for being an informant. Cullen (Dispatch from a Cold Country, LJ 4/15/96) writes in a comfortable style with vivid and intricate details, which proceeds at a steady pace. There is also some comic relief in Burke's nervous, offhand comments and thoughts. The on-again, off-again relationship between the dashing Burke and the beautiful, brown-skinned McCoy injects a delightful tension into the story. Worth the ride; recommended for most collections.?Shirley Gibson Colman, Ann Arbor District Lib., Mich.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.