cover image Galindez


Manuel Vazquez Montalban. Atheneum Books, $21 (343pp) ISBN 978-0-689-12121-0

This highly ambitious political thriller from Spain suffers from a confusing plot and poorly developed characters who often seem mere mouthpieces for pointed criticism of U.S. foreign policy. It is based on a true incident: the mysterious disappearance in New York City in 1956 of an obscure professor and advocate of Basque rights, Jesus de Galindez, after he had openly criticized the brutal Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic. When Ph.D candidate Muriel Colbert begins research for her dissertation about Galindez, she runs into resistance from the State Department, which is afraid of embarrassing revelations about its role in Dominican politics. Muriel's research takes her to Spain, Santa Domingo and finally Miami, where she is brutally murdered by the CIA. Montalban slowly reveals information about Galindez and the events surrounding his death, and he provides interesting background about the suffering of the Basques and the highly politicized world of Cuban immigrants in Miami, but the abundance of this detail overwhelms the narrative. In trying to wed the techniques of commercial fiction to a novel of ideas, he has produced a slow-paced tale redeemed by its darkly ironic humor. (June)