A Walk in the Darkness

Jon Land, Author Forge $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-87265-6
Reviving amorous (but recently estranged) protagonists Danielle Barnea (a chief inspector of the Israel National Police) and Ben Kamal (a Palestinian detective) from The Pillars of Solomon, the narrative of Land's new thriller pivots on three mysterious elements: two mass murders occurring over a half-century apart and a long-forgotten scroll that allegedly questions Christ's resurrection. At the story's outset, Ben, who's been summoned to a multiple-murder crime scene by Danielle, identifies the corpse of his nephew--an American archeology student killed while on a dig in the desert. Eager to solve the crime, the anguished duo find their investigation hampered by, among other figures, a fanatic captain of the Vatican's Swiss Guard and a zealous rabbi, both of whom want to find and destroy the scroll. To complicate matters, Danielle is pregnant with Ben's child and struggling to land a well-deserved promotion. When she and Ben discover that the dig at which Ben's cousin murdered was a coverup for an oil-drilling operation, they find themselves in the midst of a global speed chase. As the pair hopscotch from the Middle East to Newfoundland, Rome and the U.S., they manage to pull off a slew of credibility-defying escapes. Land writes very well, but the novel is overcome with melodrama. Like a flawed skyrocket, it grows flashier and gaudier until, when it should explode with excitement, it only fizzles. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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