cover image In the Lake of the Moon

In the Lake of the Moon

David Lindsey, Lindsey. Scribner Book Company, $17.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-689-11626-1

Houston homicide detective Stuart Haydon receives photographs that he has never seen before: two portraits of his late father, two of a woman painting at an easel and standing on a Mexico City street, and one of Haydon himself, with a bullet entering his head drawn on the photo. His search to solve the riddle of these pictures leads to a Mexican professor of anthropology whose interest in pre-Columbian civilization has crossed from the scholarly into the psychotic. Following the intended killer's trail, Haydon travels to Mexico City, where he learns that his patrician father carried on a long affair with the mother of the killer, a fiery, beautiful Mexican artist, in whose studio an explosive denouement takes place. Unfortunately, Lindsey's narrative drags and fails to satisfy. The prose is woodenly repetitive (""Haydon had no answers, only questions, unsettling questions that he was compelled to pursue with a complex sensitivity that combined feelings of urgency and trepidation''). In addition, the characters are cliched: Haydon's father's lover, for example, has ``majestic breasts and blazing green eyes.'' Most crucial, the many allusions to Aztec rites and beliefs don't have a strong connection with the central events of the book. Major ad/promo. (May)