cover image Brain Damage

Brain Damage

Herbert Burkholz / Author Atheneum Books $20 (281p) ISBN 978-0

As he did in The Sensitives and Strange Bedfellows , the author adds an intriguing science fiction element--the ability to read minds--to the basic thriller formula in his third novel about a very special band of CIA operatives. When the agency's deputy director of operations dies, his private files contain records of non-rescindable orders to four unknown agents specifying a series of appalling, apparently unrelated assignments: the gang rape of a 16-year-old, the murder of an obscure cruise ship comedian, arson at a Florida rooming house, putting the fix on a small-time college basketball game. The new DDO dispatches Sensitives Ben Slade, Vincent Bonepart, Martha Marino and the woman known as Snake to identify and stop the anonymous agents. Burkholz keeps the action moving smoothly while building tension as the scene shifts from site to site. Periodic quick cuts to a Libyan terrorist camp gradually reveal the dead DDO's motives, stemming from a decades-old love triangle. The Sensitives' extrasensory capability, though a vital plot element, never overwhelms the story in this offbeat and enjoyable adventure. BOMC alternate. ( June )