AN ABSENCE OF LIGHT by David Lindsey


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 The title of Lindsey's (Body of Truth, 1992) ambitious seventh novel refers to moral darkness in the Houston Police Department and in an international drug and arms operation that appears to have corrupted at least three detectives. When the first cop, investigator Arthur Tisler, seems to have committed suicide, the department hopes to put a lid on a potential scandal. Enter Marcus Graver, captain of the Criminal Intelligence Division, still smarting from the departure of his former wife, who becomes doubly beset by a sense of betrayal from venal gumshoes he had liked and trusted. Aided and abetted by loyal department underlings, Graver initiates an unauthorized undercover probe by freelance operative Arnette Kepner, a former CIA agent, who eventually discovers that an Çminence noire named Panos Kalatis is calling the shots behind an ongoing orgy of death and destruction. Kalatis, a former deep-cover agent for the Mossad who is now a world-class criminal, oversees a vast empire that sucks in seemingly respectable American businessman looking for a return on their investments in his world of cocaine, heroin, and high-tech information swaps. The colorful Kalatis is something of an equal- opportunity employer who, with a penchant for erotic danger, hires shapely female assassins to dispatch a growing list of blundering men. ``He was looking at her breasts when the second wedge of orange turned to napalm in his throat,'' writes Lindsey of a hit on an apparently dirty cop who was fishing on the beach when he had the bad luck to accept a poisoned orange slice from a beautiful girl in a bikini. Lindsey, who has been compared to Graham Greene but seems closer to Ian Fleming, knows how to spin a richly textured story. This rather implausible yarn hopscotches from thriller to mundane police procedural, with touches of existential angst thrown in--no mean feat for a writer trying to illuminate shadows.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-42311-X
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994


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