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The Zero Hour: A Novel Hardcover – May 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688144500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688144500
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 748 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,689,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

A thriller of gigantic proportions, The Zero Hour focuses on villain Henrik Baumann, a suave, cold-blooded mastermind who seeks to demolish the Wall Street computer network system that is central to the world's financial markets. Not only is The Zero Hour a jolting story with plenty of memorable murders and lusty intrigue, its mix of finance, terrorism, and high technology are meticulously described and mostly accurate: such a computer network actually exists and its destruction could disable financial markets. Wow.

From Publishers Weekly

At his best?as in this thriller about a terrorist plot to bring down Wall Street?Finder (Extraordinary Powers, 1994, etc.) rivals the early Frederick Forsyth in his riveting combination of cool prose and hot plot. Indeed, there's more of a hint of the Jackal in Baumann (aka Zero; aka the Prince of Darkness), a freelance terrorist/assassin who can slay and mutilate with "no visible change in [his] glacial demeanor." Baumann's new boss is billionaire Malcolm Dyson, an American fugitive in Switzerland who, motivated by greed and vengeance, breaks the terrorist out of a South African jail and agrees to pay him $10 million to trigger worldwide economic catastrophe by blowing up the computer network that's primarily responsible for trading on the Street. Arrayed against Baumann are, among other law-enforcement agencies, the FBI, personalized here through Agent Sarah Cahill, who uncovers links between Dyson's plot, a murdered call girl in Boston and a New York banker with a taste for masochistic sex. What ensues is a cerebral but violent chess game played by Baumann, Cahill and others, with Cahill's young son winding up as pawn. Again in the manner of Forsyth, Finder textures his story line with precise technical expositions; his details on bomb construction are particularly fine. Not impressively original, but controlled with a master hand, this is a thinking person's thriller with bite. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo; film rights to 20th Century Fox; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's unfortunate that this book is out of print-- I suppose that to some it might seem that the events of 9/11 have rendered this tale of a terrorist attack on NYC moot.
Not so. Finder's story, set after the first attack on the WTC, is a bit spooky in how it manages to anticipate some of what did occur years later. Details about the world of terrorism and counter-terrorism that may have seemed merely nice detail work originally now have a special kind of resonance. For that reason alone, this book would be worth a look.
But that's not all it has to offer. Finder combines the tech-savvy detail of Clancy with the personal drama and driving suspense of Ludlum. We get a whole cast of characters that are drawn well enough to engage us in the story without stopping the narrative push.
Action, surprises, twists and a grippingly real premise-- the book manages to entertain and give you something to think about when it's over. A great read. I can only hope that the release of Finder's new novel Paranoia will fuel interest in his earlier works so that this sees print again, because it deserves to be out there.
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By Jay on June 16 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is awful! It has a somewhat promising beginning where a government agent-cum-terrorist escapes from prison, aided by some nebulous multi-zillionaire. But interest wanes quickly when the reader is inundated with irrelevant details and descriptions about various gadgets and technologies, along with references to previous terrorist attacks, quasi-historical events, and an endless stream of superficial characters.
The whole story could be written in a few pages. It's almost as if the author were paid by the word. Endless unnecessary details that have nothing to do with the plot or the character development. Virtually all characters except the two main ones are described with no depth, yet we get overwhelmed with trivial details, like whether or not they take cream in their coffee or wear polyester undershirts.
We have the stereotype of the recently divorced single-mom detective. The recently retired ethnic detective. The jealous ex-husband. The overweight computer geek. The disgruntled millionaire. The extremely good-looking and brilliant former spy, now terrorist (descriptions of whom are borderline homoerotic). On and on and on ad nauseum.
Another thing that griped me: the author uses the word "phlegmatic" numerous times. I suppose to show off what a word maven he is.
I am surprised this book got so many good reviews. It [is bad].
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By Bimal Gunapala on July 25 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Gripping and fast paced story with amazingly realistic presentation. Kept me turning page after page until early hours of the morning. A moderate understanding of computer terminoligy will help you appreciate this book best. All in all, a very good book indeed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 66 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Quick Paced Roller Coaster Ride With A Bad Ending Aug. 29 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having read this novel sometime ago, I made myself go back and re-read it before attempting to critique it. Now, after going through it a second time my impressions of "The Zero Hour" have not changed. Joseph Finder captures the reader's attention with a daring jail brake from a South African Prison. If this novel was a chess game I would say this opening was to the point. I was hooked. Add a rather inventive plot concerning the revenge of an incredibly wealthy man by the destruction of a clandestine computer system which practically runs our planet, and this story picked up steam in a hurry. Where it did run into a snag was in the character of Sarah Cahill, the FBI agent that ultimately saves the day. Her character seems too weak and hardly at all a match for "The Prince of Darkness". It would be nice if a female characters in Sarah's position could be portrayed as strong and confident. The fact that she is able to foil, perhaps the greatest professional terrorist of all time is a fluke at best. The ending of this novel ruined all the good work that had gone before. This one looks like it was made for television. The truth of the matter is that professional operatives are rarely stopped, and when they are, it is by law enforcement individuals that are equally as brilliant. Two evenly matched oponents in a real life game of chess, that is what makes novels in this genre work
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Pre 9/11 Thriller Still Worth a Look Feb. 16 2004
By Peter A. Greene - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's unfortunate that this book is out of print-- I suppose that to some it might seem that the events of 9/11 have rendered this tale of a terrorist attack on NYC moot.
Not so. Finder's story, set after the first attack on the WTC, is a bit spooky in how it manages to anticipate some of what did occur years later. Details about the world of terrorism and counter-terrorism that may have seemed merely nice detail work originally now have a special kind of resonance. For that reason alone, this book would be worth a look.
But that's not all it has to offer. Finder combines the tech-savvy detail of Clancy with the personal drama and driving suspense of Ludlum. We get a whole cast of characters that are drawn well enough to engage us in the story without stopping the narrative push.
Action, surprises, twists and a grippingly real premise-- the book manages to entertain and give you something to think about when it's over. A great read. I can only hope that the release of Finder's new novel Paranoia will fuel interest in his earlier works so that this sees print again, because it deserves to be out there.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A well written terrorist Thriller Aug. 17 2001
By K. Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book by this author I have read, and both have been very enjoyable. When an exiled US industralist decides he wants revenge on the people who ruined him there he hires the best terrorist he can find to do the work.
"the prince of darkness" as he is known in the trade (by the few who know him at all) is an intelligent and totaly amoral character. On the law enforcemnt side in the US we have Sarah Cahill a former expert in terrorist actions in the FBI.
This book it has to be said, is full of anagrams, but then I suspect that the world of law enforcemnt is full of them now - and being somewhat of a techno-thriller they go with the genre.
One of the things I liked about this novel was that none of the main characters are invulernable. They are people with lives of their own in an extraordinary situation. Sarah is not as 'strong' as her terroist opponent - but that only makes her more believable.
I'm looking forward to more books by this author, and if you like thrillers this book is worth picking up.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This book is terrible. Feb. 11 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What's with the above reviews? Doesn't writing or story matter anymore? Details? Yes, this book's got details. No piece of information is too trivial for Finder. How can anyone slog through this tripe? Reading this book is like banging your head against the wall. International intrigue has never been so boring. The only suspense here involved skimming through the three-page chapters looking for ANYTHING of interest. Take a nap instead
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A boring "look how much I know" about terrorism book. June 10 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book reads more like a bad documentary on terrorism than an interesting novel. The author's constant attempts to show how much factual information he has about "secret information" is distracting from the plot and appears only as a cheap sellout to make money.
The plot was pedantic and the characters were cardboard. I would suggest avoiding this poor imitation of "Day of the Jackal."


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