EMERALD PASSAGE by Christopher Murphy


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An adventurer plots a spectacular heist–the haul: inner enlightenment–in this quirky, uneven New Age thriller.

Rollo Runyan is, in some ways, a typical action hero. An Australian ex-commando and diamond smuggler, he’s got a cool quip for every emergency, an eye for the ladies and a plan to extort billions of dollars from Persian Gulf oil sheikhdoms by threatening to blow up their underwater wellheads. But he’s got some moves James Bond never tried. Inspired by a guru he met in prison, he’s planning to give away those billions to an environmental charity. When he spots a beautiful woman, his pick-up technique is to write her an off-the-cuff fairy tale about a princess, or a poem about sunflowers. And instead of brusquely bedding her, he’s open to Tantric exercises that demonstrate that orgasms just get in the way of true intimacy. Naturally, women go gaga over this sensitive rogue. En route to Rio to pilfer some emeralds with which to finance his caper, he quickly acquires three hotties–chic magazine editrix Sophie, sublimely ditzy Hollywood starlet Stella and soulful secret agent Lucy–to juggle amid the occasional hijacking or shootout. Murphy (Dance for a Diamond) writes well-paced action scenes and makes Rollo’s first-person narration jaunty and engaging and full of nice observations (“He had a toothy, panting kind of grin like a clever dog.”) He also takes New Age philosophizing very seriously. This sometimes stalls the story, particularly during a yacht race that turns into a floating ashram, with the crew “intoning the sacred, primal vibration...the ‘sound of many waters,’ the ‘Aum.’ ” And readers will quickly learn to skip the verbose “sex” scenes, full of hectoring psychobabble–“if you’re caught on any of these emotional hooks like needing or yearning, you’re not in the present moment, you’re caught on your own thing, and you are not making love”–that’s flagrantly unerotic.

A decent actioner, marred by tiresome preachiness.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-595-70049-3
Page count: 320pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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