IN DEEP by Bernard Wolfe


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In Limbo and again in The Late Risers Wolfe revealed an ability to merge stark adventure in terms of modern science with a kind of abstract symbolism that set him apart from others in the genre. Now in this third book, the central theme might well provide material for a Hitchcock film, but it is almost buried in the peripheral themes, reaching back through the lives of the central characters. The main thread follows the unravelling of the mystery which involved Barto Caro, Spaniard of Cuban birth, and which brought about his murder. The Caro family had been virtually wiped out:- the father disappeared in the Spanish Civil War; Barto was thought to have been killed, but turns up again in Key West, still the goal of the man he had called uncle, one Brod; Luz, the sister, whom Barto was seeking, had been hidden away by Brod, and had become an epileptic and a whore. Then Barto, who has become a partner in a deep sea diving venture, of the oceanologist who tells the story, is killed presumably by Brod or his gang. And the FBI secret service agents close in. There are flashbacks to the Spanish Civil War; flashbacks to Barto's war service in the Pacific; letters- some of them phoney- from Barto to his partner, revealing something of his search for Luz, something of the secret he carried. And when the threads come together, there is revelation of the dangerous knowledge Barto held- and of the ring-around in which he was involved as agents of both sides tried to get some important material -- and fail. The net of passions, convictions and compulsions has entrapped both weak and strong.... The story is confused both by the ideological angles and extraneous sex passages, while the clipped prose makes for obtuseness.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1957
Publisher: Knopf