By Colin Harrison
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374102050, 416pp.)
Publication Date: January 2000
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A high-voltage international thriller about a millionaire businessman catapulted into a world of criminal intrigue, sexual obsession, extortion, and death.
Charlie Ravich is a survivor whose brutal experience as a POW in Vietnam has more than prepared him for the cutthroat world of global commerce. Now a wealthy Upper East Side executive in his late fifties, Charlie has only one problem: his family is dying out. His wife teeters on the edge of Alzheimer's; their son has succumbed to leukemia; and their daughter, Julia, is unable to bear a child. Charlie is being trumped by time.
Enter Christina, a beguiling Columbia University dropout-intelligent, selectively dishonest, filled with desire. Her affair with Rick Bocca, a member of a big-time truck-theft ring run by mobster Tony V., has landed her in prison. After four years in Bedford Hills, she is suddenly released by the Manhattan D.A.'s office-perhaps because she is innocent, perhaps not.
Warned by a detective that Christina is being set up by Tony V., Rick begins a desperate, bungled search to warn Christina, who has lied her way into the high-flying world of Charlie Ravich. But her past catches up with her, and Rick's catches up with him, setting off a harrowing chain of betrayals that leaves only one person with any hope of a future.
At once smart, sexy, and graphically violent, Afterburn spans the mean streets of New York's underworld and Hong Kong's corridors of high finance, and stands as Colin Harrison's most commercial work yet
Colin Harrison is the deputy editor of Harper's and the author of Bodies Electric, Break and Enter, and Manhattan Nocturne. He lives with his wife, novelist Kathryn Harrison, in Brooklyn.