cover image Black Phoenix

Black Phoenix

George Bernau, Author Warner Books $22.95 (291p) ISBN 978-0-446-51610-5

Bernau ( Candle in the Wind ) is the latest in a long line of thriller writers to suggest that because Hitler's corpse was never positively identified, he and his evil cohorts managed to escape from the bunker. This time we witness a final, desperate attempt to wreak destruction by poisoning the East Coast of the U.S. with the Phoenix virus, an organism that destroys everything in its path, to be launched from South America. A highly trained American Intelligence agent, Major Thomas Sheridan, joins forces with his lover, British agent Debra Marks, to thwart the fiendish Nazi plotters who have developed the virus. A promising beginning, echoing the known events at Hitler's personal retreat during his last days, loses its impetus in a clutter of lovemaking, undeveloped subplots and careless writing. (``If there was such a thing as a special chemical attraction reserved only for one person, they had it with each other, or perhaps she made love to everyone like that.'') The author substitutes movement for plot as weakly drawn characters rush from place to place until the final melodramatic climax. This is an undistinguished item, more suitable as an outline for a miniseries than as a book. (Apr.)