cover image TANNER'S VIRGIN


Lawrence Block, . . Subterranean, $30 (200pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-019-7

Since this reissue of MWA Grandmaster Block's 1968 Evan Tanner thriller lacks the wit and clever plotting that characterize his mature work, this dated tale of picaresque adventure will appeal mainly to Block completists. Tanner, a thief with mysterious connections to the intelligence community who hasn't slept since a freak bullet wound caused permanent insomnia, gets a call that sends him on a whirlwind international escapade. The caller is the mother of an attractive 18-year-old girl who had lived (platonically) with Tanner for a month and is now missing; his search leads him to London and a white slave ring that has been supplying vulnerable young women to a dealer in Afghanistan. Along the way, he swims the English Channel and tangles with a gang of mercenaries seeking to overthrow the regime in Kabul. The Afghanistan setting at least will resonate with today's readers. (Apr. 4)