Sandstorm

Laurence Gough, Author Viking Books $20 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-83466-2
Gough ( Hot Shots ) takes a break from police procedurals to deliver skillful sleights of hand throughout this fast-reading thriller. Los Angeles businessman Charlie McPhee has spent the last few years in Egypt, hiding from divorce attorneys and grinding out a miserable existence as a nightclub ventriloquist. Formerly an expert lockmaker, Charlie draws the attention of the Libyan secret police, who kidnap him and make him open a safe belonging to revolutionaries. He kills the Libyans in a daring escape, but the episode results in an interrogation by the CIA. Having lost a player in his plans to kill Libya's Mu'ammar al-Gadaffispok , agent Jack Downey forces Charlie into helping out with the preparations for his secret assassination scheme, threatening Charlie with an Egyptian prison term for murder if he refuses. Meanwhile, the Libyan secret police is out to kill Downey, whose wary boss has assigned other agents to tail him. Vivid details, sharp dialogue and engaging narration keep the reader's questions about the plot to a minimum. When the holes are filled, however, the answers present a shock. A satisfying epilogue offsets an implausible resolution. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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