A Contemporary FairytaleeBook - 2016
Ugly Duckels tells the story of Veronica Dean's short unhappy life. An orphan distinguished by a birth-mark covering half her face, she has killed two men (justifiably in her view) before her nineteenth birthday. She contracts to kill a priest in Hawaii to see if God will let her do this thing. David Stanley Willington, the third richest man in Hawaii, plans to make Maui--where his real estate holdings are substantial--the center of island tourism. To do this, he plans to make Honolulu a radio-active wasteland by funding the construction of a nuclear device to be detonated off Waikiki on Christmas eve, 1999. He hires Tom Kinau, a graduate nuclear engineer from Stanford, to build the device. Jack Phelan, an activist friend of Kinau, had organized the underground movement called S.T.A.R. Stop the Arms Race. He convinces Kinau to lend them the device, publicizing it with photos of it in recognizable public places--the Capitol in Washington, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, even Mt. Rushmore- -and threatening to set it off somewhere unless Congress acts. They have gained popular support among academics and among the clergy as they remain two steps ahead of the pursuing federal agencies. Congres has begun to respond by passing legislation banning the further production of fissionable material. As the novel begins the "peace bomb" is in Hawaii. In Honolulu Father Arnholdt has persuader several S.T.A.R. conspirators to tell the government where the bomb is. Desperate to continue the mission of his movement, Phelan seeks out Veronica, reputed to be an assassin for hire. Because he is the first man ever to take an interest in her, she becomes infatuated and agrees. She wishes to see what she is, to see if God will let her do this thing. All the above is back-story for the novel, which begins "Veronica had never killed a priest before." Structurally, the plot is a double chase. Arthur Cowan, a history professor, is chasing Veronica, having convinced himself she can lead him to the bomb before it explodes somewhere on Christmas eve. And his brother Mark, chief investigator for the state's attorney's office, wants to arrest Veronica for the priest's murder. Arthur is pinned in the middle, having tried to warn the police. His tip is only one of hundreds officials have received. His brother, noting him with Veronica, thinks he is a S.T.A.R. conspirator and seeks to arrest him. An unwilling "hero" trying to prevent countless death, Arthur, unable to pass the job to the police, is forced to do it himself. To the end of the story he remains fixed on the search for the bomb. When it explodes, it takes only two lives--Willington's and Veronica's.
Publisher: [United States] : BookBaby : Made available through hoopla, 2016.
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource