Why did the price of gold start soaring in January 1980? Journeyman novelist Goldsmith (Exodus '43, 1982)--with help from an attorney and a precious-metals trader--has concocted an elaborate explanation in the form of a busy, violent, ragged but lively thriller. In 1979, Goldsmith & Co. imagine, a Greek magnate decides to secretly sell his hoard of gold: 2000 tons of it. His agent for the sale is a Las Vegas-based mobster--who engages (unbeknownst to each other) two gold-trading experts to find buyers for the bullion: Eddy Polonski, a metallurgist who has recently been put out of business (via arson) by the South African gold monopoly; and Houston lawyer Dan Daniels. For a while, then, we follow the separate travels of Eddy and Dan--setting up the gold deals in Hong Kong, Arab sheikdoms, and Zurich. Soon, however, the two brokers cross paths and team up, realizing that their mobster employer probably intends to kill them or at least cheat them out of their multi-million-dollar commission; they therefore devise a banking scheme to maintain total personal control of the gold transactions. But meanwhile some slimy British bankers in Zurich have heard about the intended huge sale of gold, which will cause the gold-price to drop; so they come up with a plan to use the buy/sell nature of those forthcoming gold-sale transactions to create a phony reverse effect--an apparent surge in demand for gold, which sends the price soaring and ruins the Eddy/Dan deals just before they're about to go through. Eddy and Dan fight back, of course, by getting incriminating evidence of this scare; there's some violent tit-for-tat (Dan's girlfriend is murdered); a creepy American agent complicates matters; and most of the bad guys get just deserts. . . while gold-prices drop and the sale deals are resurrected. Middling suspense, more hectic than gripping--but it's fast and unpretentious; and those savvy enough about metal-trading to follow the occasionally murky manipulations will be solidly (if farfetched-ly) entertained.