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12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING
By Diana Deverell

Avon, 1998 (HC)
ISBN 0-380-97610-2

Avon, June 1999, $6.99

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

This is a work of fiction. However, the details of international terrorism and those who both perpetrate and try to exterminate it seem far too real for make-believe. Using surgically precise detail, Diana Deverell weaves a fictional web that fills in the details behind the newspaper horrors of massacres like the Lockerbie bombing and underscores doubts about what really happened to TWA flight 800.

Though we know this is fictional, a certainty of the existence of evil monsters like those who perpetrate the grisly deeds in 12 Drummers Drumming spreads though your consciousness like the chill from a cold rain. The details are too real -- from the humdrum routine of terrorist hunting to the smell of food being prepared by undercover commandos on a hot plate-- to have come from someone's imagination, right?

Of course this is fiction. The fact that the author's hair in the jacket photo seems to be growing out from being closely cropped (as was that of the heroine, Casey Collins to change her appearance) is merely coincidence. Many women wear short hair for convenience sake.

Now that we're comfy with the fact that this tale is just a story, we can sit back and enjoy the vicarious thrill of someone else in peril. Of someone who has chosen to join the fight against evil as her life's work. We can gasp as her life crumbles without hope of redemption, as friends turn against her, as evil pursues her, because, after all, it's just a scary story.

At the end, we close the cover and relax. It's just a story, clever fiction, a bit of embroidery, excellent writing, with characters that are totally imaginary, yet very real. After all, it's just a story, right? Read it and decide for yourself.


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