Picks and Pans Review: Cool Runnings

UPDATED 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Richard Hoyt

Jim Quint, the hero of this antic adventure tale, is a free-lance writer who often works for Rolling Stone. He is never without a joint and thrives on large amounts of beer, booze and magic mushroom tea. While in Europe on assignment, he is enlisted by the CIA—unofficially, of course—to help in an investigation of a stolen atom bomb. (Under a pen name, Quint also writes James Bond-like paperback novels starring an oversexed hero named Staab.) The assignment takes him to Jamaica, where the whole island seems to be devoted to growing, smoking and exporting marijuana. Meanwhile a crazed Japanese millionaire in New York wants revenge against the U.S. for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and a skinny little distance runner named Spivak is tying his shoes when he spots something odd and dangerous-looking under the sidewalk grille outside a bar in Greenwich Village. There is a U.S. President named Lyle and a cast of dozens, mostly secret agents. Hoyt keeps everything moving at a much-faster-than-normal pace, and the whole novel is played for slapstick laughs. This is a smarty, with-it kind of book, full of sly winks, such as a subway poster for "a Broadway musical starring Mickey Rooney as a submarine commander and Ann-Margret as the Navy's first female submarine executive officer." Hoyt, author of five other novels, makes Cool Runnings read as if he had a lot of fun writing it. Readers who like their spy books raunchy, rude and irreverent should enjoy it too. (Viking, $15.95)

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