cover image Devil's Juggler

Devil's Juggler

Murray Smith. Pocket Books, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-78464-5

His first time out, British TV writer Smith has produced an exhilarating thriller in which astute characterization, a breakneck pace and an assured narrative technique result in a riveting read. Various seemingly unrelated incidents unfold in brisk kaleidoscopic succession. NYPD detective Eddie Lucco finds a ``Jane Doe'' dead of a crack overdose in Grand Central Terminal. Irish judge Eugene Pearson goes to Paris to make arrangements for the Provisional IRA to become the European dealers for Colombian cocaine. David Jardine, head of the SIS South American bureau, initiates an elaborate plan to infiltrate a Colombian drug grupo . Meanwhile, grupo chief Pablo Envigado is negotiating with the Colombian government to repeal the U.S. extradition law. The pieces fit together as the parties fight for control; treachery abounds and a great deal of blood is shed. The violence is not gratuitous, since it serves the plot and seems endemic to the milieu, and the lethal climax in a Bogota graveyard is a shock even in comparison to the previous carnage. Smith depicts personalities vividly--IRA partisans, for example, are ``addicted to their lifestyle of murder and psycho-romanticism.'' In the end almost everyone fares badly, even the good guys. Brisk sales should greet this outstanding effort. Major ad/promo. (Mar.)