THE WHITE CROW by Bentley Lyon


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When forestry expert Arno Kent discovers the dead body of his reclusive neighbor in a JFK lavatory, he's so startled that he doesn't even realize he's walked away with the man's briefcase--until he's on his flight to Madrid and opens it to find pictures of himself (!), lots of coded stuff, and clippings about terrorists and Navy plans for Sixth Fleet headquarters. Soon the Russians are after him; his Spanish forestry buddy is threatened; and a gorgeous Spanish widow, Cristina del Barrio, has joined him on the run. Arno eludes a few Russians, including sadistic, foulmouthed Vera Vlasov; he kills many more. By separate routes, he and Cristina head for Rome--where there are more Russians, as well as spies in the State Department; more chases down alleys; more deaths; and more author recaps via items in newspapers. In the meantime, the writing's awfully quaint (""You have lied, and now I must kill you""). This could be a Helen MacInnes retrospective, with its antitotalitarianism theme, its mad dash across Europe by amateurs, and its breathtaking silliness--which culminates with a survey of the plumbing fixtures at Sixth Fleet headquarters. Even Attila didn't kill as many people as Arno, and he was a bad guy. Flat, surfacey--with dreadful dialogue. Pass on it.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's