Forsyth, Frederick. The Veteran. Thomas Dunne Books: St. Martin’s. Oct 2001. c336p. ISBN 0-312-28691-0. $24.95. Fiction/Short Stores.

This collection of four short stories and a novella may disapoint readers expecting one of Forsyth’s international thrillers but not anyone looking for a good read. What is surprising is the thematic and geographical range of these pieces, all narrated in a solid realist style with sharply observed detail and engrossing plots, sometimes surprising plots. Always suspenseful, the stories take us into disparate worlds. “The Veteran” features London thugs, the police, and the courts, whereas “The Art of the Matter,” a highly entertaining tale of revenge, delves into the world of auction houses. “The Miracle,” which takes us to an Italian hill town in World War II, is related as if by a medieval fabulist but with its own modern twist, while “The Citizen,” perhaps the least successful story, portrays drug smuggling via an airline flight. Most startling of all is “Whispering Wind,” Forsyth’s tale of the Indian wars in 1876, in which we discover that a frontier scout survived the massacre at the Little Bighorn. The scout’s love for a Cheyenne woman, a magical tale that spans two different historical periods, makes for compulsive reading. Recommended for all collections of popular fiction.

LJ, vol. 126, no. 14 (September 1, 2001), 237.

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