Why Diamond Had to Die

Richard Burns, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7475-0275-3
The British black comedy/thriller is a mishmash of high-energy hijinks, blue passages, tragedy and horror--yet somehow it works. As it opens, narrator Jack Diamond, a former Irish terrorist who now believes only that life is absurd, lies bound and gagged in a ditch, awaiting entombment in concrete: ``There are those, I suppose, who'd consider it an honour to become an integral part of Britain's motorway network, but I'm not among them,'' he muses. The adventures that led Jack into this fix flicker through his memory: how ex-comrade Flaherty forced him to undertake a mission to Rome, carrying a suspicious-looking book titled Advanced Mathematical Tables ; how his jumbo jet was hijacked by merciless Palestinians; how the jet crash-landed in the searing Sahara; how he clung to the last rung of a rope ladder dropped by a helicopter to cross a minefield at the Algerian border; how he landed in a Paris jail cell in which a wall is emblazoned ``Dreyfus is innocent!'' Popping up frequently are Rebecca, a lovely Israeli counterspy and hardcore-magazine model, and Chambers, a harelipped opium addict in a soiled white suit claiming to work for Britain's completely clandestine M17. This spy spoof by Burns ( Panda Hunt ) will delight fans of Donald Westlake and Ross Thomas. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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