Death in a Promised Land

Ronert Andrews, Author, Robert Andrews, Author, Dana Isaacson, Editor Pocket Books $20 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-86648-8
Former CIA officer Andrews ( Last Spy Out ) weaves unconvincing fiction from conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1991 Bradford Sims, a black CIA operative, brings in a Soviet defector and finds references in the man's case file to disgraced former agent Edward Houghton. After Sims is abruptly fired from the agency, he looks up Houghton, now an embittered drunk, and together they trace the defector's career backwards, connecting him to an assassination attempt on James Earl Ray, the man who would later be convicted of murdering Martin Luther King in 1968. The tortuous narrative, marked by cryptic conversations among figures in the FBI, CIA and KGB, even includes the shenanigans of Texas oil barons. Readers will respond variously to the author's suggestions that Ray evolved from a chronic small-time loser to a man capable of maintaining several clever aliases and that powerful interest groups found advantage in manipulating King and his followers. But because Sims and Houghton are not fully conceived characters, they do not have enough depth or resonance to carry the tale. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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