cover image The Book of Names

The Book of Names

Karen Tintori, Jill Gregory, . . St. Martin's Griffin, $19.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36632-2

Even readers not yet sated with apocalyptic thrillers may be disappointed by Gregory and Tintori's first collaborative novel, which attempts to use the Jewish tradition of the Lamed-Vovniks, the 36 pure souls whose existence protects all of humanity, as the catalyst for a Da Vinci Code –like plot. Georgetown University professor David Shepherd, who routinely rubs elbows with the high and mighty, finds himself haunted by strange images of names. When an old friend's suggestion leads him to a rabbi in Brooklyn, Shepherd learns that the rabbi possesses an ancient biblical gemstone linked to the Lamed-Vovniks, and that a mysterious cabal has been systematically killing those righteous figures to usher in a new satanic age. Thin characterizations, rampant clichés and unlikely action sequences make for a less than satisfying read. Under the pseudonym Jillian Karr, the authors have written two suspense novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue , which was made into a CBS-TV movie, and Catch Me if You Can . 75,000 first printing; rights sold in 11 countries. (Jan.)