Sight Unseen

Dan Gilroy, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $18.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-88184-469-6
Gilroy's fiction debut begins as an example of adventure by accident. Matthew Clark, a satellite systems specialist for the National Security Agency, is involved in a handling error. As punishment he is sent to Imagery Analysis to interpret the kinds of photographs he used to take. When he notices a shadow in an underwater photo taken near the California coast, it seems like a perfect objective for a day's diving. But the shadow turns out to be the wreck of a Russian submarine holding the bodies of American sailors. Clark's discovery involves him in a cover-up dating back to the darkest years of the Cold War; the perpetrators are determined to preserve the secret at any cost. Gilroy handles stock characters and situations effectively, meeting the requirements of the political thriller without excessive dependence on cliches. He offers interesting information on the process of collecting intelligence from satellite photos. An unusual and welcome element is his light touch in presenting the mind-sets of bureaucrats and politicians for whom the game has become more important than the outcome. The narrative's principal defect is its periodic shifting away from Clark and his predicament. The consequent slackening of suspense breaks the novel's mood--but not enough to disturb fans of this genre, who should find this a worthwhile, if unremarkable, contribution. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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