cover image The Hidden Oasis

The Hidden Oasis

Paul Sussman, . . Atlantic Monthly, $24 (507pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-1918-6

Set largely in Egypt's vast western desert, Sussman's entertaining if formulaic third archeological thriller (after The Last Secret of the Temple ) starts out as an Indiana Jonesian quest for a legendary desert paradise known as the Oasis at the End of the World. When Alex Hannen, a former CIA agent living in Egypt, is found dead, an apparent suicide, her estranged sister, Freya, a world-renowned rock climber, travels to Cairo for Alex's funeral. Freya, soon realizing her sister was murdered, vows to bring the killer to justice. After befriending one of Alex's closest friends, enigmatic Egyptologist Flin Brodie, the unlikely duo find themselves on the run from a host of assassins, spies and government agents—and charging headlong into one of the biggest archeological discoveries in centuries. The smart pace and attention to character development compensate for some dubious plot twists toward the end reminiscent of a weird X-Files episode. (Oct.)