Forest, Stephen. Iron Lady. St. Martin’s. Sept 1999. 391 p. ISBN 0-312-20466-3. $24.95. Fiction.

It’s 1984, and IRA sympathizers who want Margaret Thatcher dead hire a woman assassin whose plan hinges on kidnaping a six-year-old boy. The boy’s mother and Scotland Yard special agent Trent Stanford must foil the killer. Ho hum. In the hands of a more skillful writer or someone with the storyteller’s art, this dated thriller might have been entertaining. Instead, one finds jarring shifts in voice, verb tense, and point of view; purple prose, labored and dense; a garbled effusion of cryptic fragments; strained metaphors; and a disjointed style lacking grace or fluidity. Massive editing might have saved this first novel. As it is, only the most hardened readers obsessed with finishing what they start will stick with this clunker to the end.

LJ, 124, no. 13 (August 1999), 138.

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