cover image Body of Truth

Body of Truth

David Lindsey. Doubleday Books, $22.5 (417pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24814-3

Lindsey's likable detective Stuart Haydon, last seen in In the Lake of the Moon , leaves his Texas home territory in this scorching indictment of human rights abuses in Guatemala. Lena Muller is a Houston girl gone missing in the surreal political jumbles of Latin America. Haydon's old buddy, ex-cop turned PI Jim Fossler, was hired to find her, but he has stumbled onto more than he can handle. Haydon flies down to help the shaken Fossler, finding only a blood-spattered motel room and ex-CIA agent Taylor Cage, now an independent spook in business for the money. He leads Haydon to a Dr. Grajeda, who performs autopsies on the corpses of the officially ``disappeared,'' and who had worked with Lena during her Peace Corps stint. Haydon pursues leads with tenacity, finding that Lena had helped the rebels get the goods on viciously corrupt generals. All parties--Cage, Grajeda, a State Dept . bigwig and Haydon--race to locate Lena's evidence. The problem with Haydon's quest, as Grajeda points out, is that documented truth is just evidence collected and assembled ``into a body of `truth' that really is not the truth at all.'' And seeing the ``body of truth'' only through Haydon's eyes constricts the narrative's dramatic momentum. On the plus side, Lindsey creates a vibrant setting for the cat-and-mouse games totalitarian despots play. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternate; author tour. (May)