Sander Diamond / Author, Jeff Rovin / Author Dutton Books $16.
Diamond, a history professor and Soviet specialist at Keuka College, and Rovin, who made their joint debut in Starik , here present a fast-paced international thriller with the well-conveyed atmosphere of post- glasnost Russia. Power-hungry, dastardly KGB boss General Ustinoviks murders a Moscow whore with the intention of framing his political rival for the crime. At that moment, American tourist and commercial photographer David Epstein, shooting by moonlight from the window of the luxury train, the Red Arrow Express, snaps the scene: the general in full uniform, standing over the body. Once back in the U.S., the Epsteins are hounded by agents of the KGB who have gotten wind of the photos. To ensure that they are not published, Epstein's wife is kidnapped and a small patch of her skin is delivered to him. He is promised that the next item to be removed will be her eyes. The authors resist two opportunities to wind up the plot, stretching the narrative somewhat beyond its natural limits. There is real excitement in the story, however, and the main characters are deftly drawn. creating empathy in the reader. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990