Sandman

Richard Martins, Author
Richard Martins, Author Atheneum Books $18.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-689-12095-4
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Philip Hallet is an expert on Middle East studies at a Chicago think tank--and a problem drinker. When several Iranian cab drivers are murdered in that city, FBI agent Mary Agnes McCaskey and Chicago cop Jack Corrigan try to recruit Hallet to help them solve what seems to be the deadly work of an anti-Arab serial killer. But Hallet, who moonlights as an intelligence agent overseeing a ring of Arab spies whose territory is the U.S., fears the killings may be related to his own efforts to expose the terrorist organization Al-Ahzab, and wants to solve the murders without revealing his second career to McCaskey and Corrigan. Martins ( The Cinch ), a former journalist who has studied Islamic culture, is most effective when using the subtle prejudice of many of his characters to show how ``it's only the Westerner who believes all Arabs are brothers, and that's because he hasn't taken time to learn the vast difference among them.'' But his insights into Arab culture are shackled by stilted dialogue (``What I need to know is whether you have the courage left to help us stem Yeats's blood-dimmed tide'') and a tangled plot that takes far too long to get started. (May)
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