NEW YORK—Officers from the New York City Police Department evacuated the Union Square subway station and suspended all train service Monday after a random search of a passenger's backpack revealed an explosive bestseller.
As of press time, bomb-disposal teams were still reviewing the threat.
New York City Police Chief Raymond Kelly said officers performing bag checks at the southwest entrance to the station apprehended a Caucasian male in his mid-20s who was attempting to board a train carrying a small, brick-like object at 8:45 a.m. Kelly withheld the suspect's name and the title of the must-read page-turner.
"The suspect has been charged with possession of a dangerously hard-hitting bombshell," Kelly said. "Still at large is the mastermind behind the plot. We intend to bring this co-conspirator into custody before he can strike again with a shocking sequel."
He added: "It's possible that this thriller's devastating conclusion will hit like a ton of TNT."
A blurb on the back cover of the novel has been traced to Deja Dead author Kathy Reichs. In the blurb, Reichs described the Union Square novel as "literary dynamite." Authorities would not comment on what, if any, charges Reichs faces.
Although many blockbuster scares turn out to be nothing more than a ream of overheated typing with a menacing cover, officials said they are exercising great caution in handling this incendiary thriller.
"We're keeping our eyes peeled for clever devices," NYPD bomb-squad leader Roy Czulewicz said. "But many bestsellers have been known to hold people captive for hours with rapid-fire prose. Once you pick them up, you suddenly find you can't put them down."
The Union Square bestseller is the latest in a series of dramatic items discovered in New York since random subway bag searches began. On July 27, a hip-hop CD containing over 75 F-bombs led to the suspension of train service for 18 hours. And, on Aug. 2, a fiery burst of cinnamon freshness was discovered in a pack of Trident left on a Long Island Railroad car by perpetrators unknown.