Runaway Heart: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Aug 16 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Cannell's second novel in six months (after Hollywood Tough) is a cop thriller with a futuristic, sci-fi twist. Hollywood Tough's heroes, LAPD officers Shane Scully and his wife, Alexa Hamilton, take a backseat to a new protagonist, fledgling PI Jack Wirta, a hard-nosed ex-cop (former partner of Scully) who left the force on disability. Irascible and jaded, Wirta has been hooked on Percocet since taking a bullet in the spine during a bank robbery shootout. He is called in to help the eccentric, crusading attorney Herman Strockmeyer, founder of the Institute for Planetary Justice. Strockmeyer has dedicated his professional life to pursuing corrupt corporations and various wings of the government. A houseguest of Barbra Streisand's in L.A., Strockmeyer is suing the USDA, EPA, FDA and others to get an injunction against planting genetically engineered corn, which threatens the Monarch butterfly population. When Strockmeyer's assistant hacks into the computer bank of Gen-A-Tech, a prime contractor in the genetic engineering of agricultural products, he uncovers something much more horrifying than dead butterflies: the Feds are creating a vicious manlike creature to replace human soldiers in combat. And when the assistant is murdered, Strockmeyer and his daughter look to Wirta to save the day. Cannell has a genius for creating memorable characters and quirky, gripping plots. Despite overwriting and jerky pacing, this is a fun read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Herman J. Strockmire is a lawyer with the heart of Don Quixote. His caseload might be better characterized as a lost-cause load. Here he's battling for the survival of the monarch butterfly, which is on the verge of extinction thanks to a reaction to genetically altered foods. Assisting him in the case are his daughter, Susan, and computer hacker Roland Minton. When Minton is brutally murdered after a surreptitious assault on the data systems of Gen-a-Tec, a firm specializing in genetic research for the government, Herman hires private eye Jack Wirta to dig deeper. Armed with little more than determination to see justice done, Herman, Susan, and Jack find themselves squared off against the worst elements of American industry and the U.S. military. Cannell, one of the most successful television producers of all time as well as the best-selling author of the Shane Scully thrillers, creates memorably endearing characters and places them in harrowing situations with clearly defined moral choices. Strockmire is one of his best. Between battling the military-industrial forces of evil, he copes with an irregular heartbeat, kvetches over Susan and Jack's blossoming relationship, and summons the wherewithal to help Jack with his drug addiction. Too many thriller heroes carry Glocks and boast six-pack abs and dangerously high testosterone levels. Herman has a conscience and a disorganized briefcase. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In any event, he is now prosecuting a case on behalf of the Monarch Butterfly, soon to be exiled to the same dusty books as the dinosaur because of the government's genetic alteration of food. They're killing the butterflys, man!
But that's not all. As Herman and his lovely daughter Susan probe deeper, bodies start turning up. Not with a simple K-bar wound to the thoracic cavity or a Glock shot to the head, but ripped up bodies. Super human strength MOs. Could it be that the evil doers in the monarch butterfly case are into slightly more than genetically altering just food?
Enter Jack Wirta, sullen, despondent, wise-cracking, friend of Shane Scully, wounded and left on the hill like a malnourished Spartan child in 350 B.C., who has started his own detective agency. And guess who is his first client?
This is great Stephen Cannell! It's part Michael Crichton, part Robert Crais. But most of all it's part Rockford Files, the A-Team and Wiseguy. And why not? Mr. Cannell wrote those scripts.
We see references to Barbra and Jim, and of course Ted and Mary. I have to be honest. I don't know these people. But when he's finished, Mr. Cannell has convinced me that I ought to. And, as Jack struggles with his percocet and percodan habit, there's a cool intervention scene that I don't think I've ever seen in a book.
So strap this one on. Slip on your black jeans, black turtleneck and a throwaway ankle gun. There's no commercials. Enjoy, boychick! 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury
With a serious heart condition threatening his life, he refuses to take time out from his cases because he is the only one who will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. His lovely daughter Susan works with him, and during his investigation for his case against Gen-a-Tec and their biologically engineered corn, his assistant is savagely murdered. Susan and Herman hire unlikely detective Jack Wirta, an ex-LA cop with a prescription drug habit, to find out why Roland was murdered.
This unusual trio of heros is what makes this book tick so loudly, Mr. Cannell's talent for bringing these people to life is the heart of the novel. Our trio discovers much more than biologically engineered corn when their investigation of Gen-a-Tec pulls them into danger with DARPA, a black-op government agency that will do anything to hide their illegal and unethical genetics project. As they run from one danger straight into the next, barely escaping time after time, you won't be able to let go until the conclusion.
Fast paced as all of Mr. Cannell's books are, this is a good story and a quick read with a truly likeable protagonist, and a highly recommended break from your stack of self-help and text books. Enjoy! :-)
The plot is straightforward, although Cannell doesn't have to let the reader know on every other page, how "ugly and fat" Herman Strockmire is, or how "beautiful" his daughter Susan is. Judge Melissa King is too much of a villain to be believable, and the chimera aren't used enough to generate the suspense. There are some witty scenarios, and some black humor; and the ending picks up the pace considerably, but this is not Cannell at his best, as evidenced in his Shane Scully series.
whose father is a lawyer weak of heart...no really he has heart problems. Herman Strockmeyer, the father, is an advocate of left-wing causes. Ah, the monarch butterfly! However, now we
are submersed in a government plot that utilizes DNA apes who become soldiers. Extreme killing machines that can rip your arm or leg off! Jack has qualms because of non-payment of his bills. But he kind of has a thing for Susan.
Although the theme seems rather absurd, the whole government secret plot is believable. I totally enjoyed this book and had a runaway read.
Most recent customer reviews
Rather than summarize the book, as other reviewers have so skillfully done I recommend this book as an exciting page turner. Difficult to put down. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by H. F. Miglino
SJC has managed to entertain me once again with his writing style. This was such a good, fast-paced story that will pull you in and keep you wondering how our heroes are going to... Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2003 by felmitch
'Runaway Heart' refers to Herman Strockmeyer, an attorney described by some as "...a tree-and-bunny hugger who has sued just about every federal letter agency in the... Read morePublished on July 27 2003 by Konrad Kern
This is a great novel from Cannell. The story is smart, well thought out and at the same time is a fast paced action adventure. I found it hard to put down ! Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by Rafael Lydon
Cannell's books just keep getting better! I love his Shane Scully novels, and was really excited to find another of his books so entertaining! Read morePublished on June 30 2003
I immensely enjoyed this work of Cannell's. I think it's my favorite of his so far. It's exciting, fast-paced, and the characters are unique and interesting - incredibly so. Read morePublished on June 13 2003 by Phoebe Marie