Black Sand

William J. Caunitz, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-57226-9
Caunitz did extremely well with two solid police procedurals, One Police Plaza and Suspects , but seems rather out of his depth in this tale of high-level international art smuggling machinations which involve a copy of Homer's Iliad that belonged to Alexander the Great. A planned assassination outside Athens that turns into a massacre and the simultaneous murder of a shady Greek dealer send Major Andreas Vassos of the Greek police off to New York to pursue leads that involve a brutal Irish gang and some smooth operators with ties to the State Department and the wartime OSS. Throw in a tough New York police lieutenant, a beautiful art historian and a villainous collector, and you have the makings for a fast-moving if sometimes hard-to-follow thriller. But there are two problems. One is that Caunitz has learned a great deal about classical antiquities that he is anxious to share with the reader, so that there are inappropriate chunks of learned exposition that drag heavily on the action; even the police procedural details, on which Caunitz is an expert, are poorly integrated. The other is that his writing is often lumpy, lame and crude. It's a book that simply tries to cover too much ground, and does not draw on the author's natural low-key, dogged strengths. 150,000 first printing; Literary Guild Main Selection. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-19643-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-28359-4
Hardcover - 978-0-517-06438-2
Hardcover - 339 pages - 978-0-517-57132-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-45207-5
Hardcover - 390 pages - 978-0-7927-1757-7
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