cover image The God Project

The God Project

Stan Lee. Grove/Atlantic, $19.95 (407pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-1128-9

This political thriller gets off to a strong start as Malcolm Keyes, an ad-man with perfect visual and aural memory, is named executive assistant to newly elected liberal President Richard Halliday. After Keyes gets wind of a top-secret CIA plan called the GOD project, Halliday and beautiful Vice President Madeleine Smith assign him to sniff it out further. He learns that the CIA is searching for a missing man, involved with the project, who may be leftist televangelist John Burns, but who also may be Keyes himself. Feuding with one another as they fend off the new administration's incursions, CIA officials authorize kidnaps here and wiretaps there. Keyes and the v-p develop a romantic relationship, while the investigations of a Russian agent parallel Keyes's own. Unfortunately, the more we learn about the GOD project, the larger Lee's ( Dunn's Conundrum ) soapbox looms, as his characters preach lengthy ideological sermons, turning what could have been a suspenseful, witty, thoughtful adventure into a tiresome rant. (Jan.)