Even though it deals with such heavy-weight issues as the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East and Israel's meddling in an American election, this new thriller by Chafets (Inherit the Mob) has a cozy, downhome (hamische, as they say in Yiddish) quality, a welcome rarity in the current marketplace of blood and techno-thunder. There's also a healthy dash of sly insider's humor (Chafetz, now a columnist for the Jerusalem Report, worked as a press officer for Prime Minister Menachem Begin). It's 2000, and Dewey Goldberg, America's first Jewish president, sits uneasily in the White House--having been elevated from Speaker of the House to chief executive 11 months earlier in the wake of a boating accident that killed both the president and the veep. Goldberg seems to have a good chance at winning a full term, until word leaks out that the enigmatic Israeli prime minister, Elihu Barzel, is pressuring American Jews to support the Republican candidate, right-wing Southern populist Earl Childes. Goldberg asks his old college friend Charlie Walker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to find out why. Walker digs up some frightening facts about Barzel's past and his involvement in a shadowy military operation called The Project, which has something to do with the Armageddon being predicted for the year 2001 by Reverend Bobby Silas, a powerful American Christian militant. The plot's weighty bones don't stop Chafetz from animating a large and extremely colorful cast of minor characters, or from spreading his tart comments on politics and religion like horseradish on gefilte fish. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997 Release date: 04/01/1997 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.