DOUBLE IMAGE by David Morrell

DOUBLE IMAGE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Morrell (Extreme Denial, 1996, etc.) slams two wildly unrelated stories together to produce this misshapen, empty, though greased-lightning thriller. Story #1. Prizewinning photographer Mitch Coltrane, back home from Bosnia, is being threatened and stalked by somebody who calls himself “the judge”’somebody who’s obviously Dragan Ilkovic, the Serb commander whose heinous war crimes Mitch managed to document, at hair-raising peril, just before he left. Mitch wants to put the ugliness of his life’s work behind him by shooting an updated series of photos of the opulent Hollywood homes immortalized in the work of legendary photographer Randolph Packard back in the 1930s. But Packard dies shortly after bringing Coltrane on board, and Ilkovic—not just a war criminal, but a sadistic torturer and an electronics freak—keeps getting closer, killing Coltrane’s neighbor and friend, an LAPD cop on the case, and Coltrane’s grandparents in Connecticut, in a race toward a showdown—halfway through the novel—that suddenly clears the ground for Story #2. This one is a tender (though equally corpse-strewn) tale of romantic intrigue that starts when Coltrane, who’s purchased an old home Packard photographed and bought for himself, becomes besotted with a trove of photos of Rebecca Chance, a stunning Hollywood hopeful from the ’40s, then (following the trail to another of Packard’s houses) meets Natasha Adler, who looks eerily like the reincarnation of Rebecca Chance. Coltrane’s loyal friend, editor, and sometime lover Jennifer Lane warns him that Tash is trouble, but does the big lug listen? Desperate to forget Ilkovic’s carnage, as well as all those ugly war photos, he keeps missing the chasm that even half-wit readers, who—ve had the benefit of 200 pages to think it over, will see yawning beneath his feet. The first story is midgrade, unsurprising stalker stuff; the second, which ends with Coltrane becoming a stalker himself, is risible. Think Vertigo rewritten for Steven Seagal. (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: May 12th, 1998
ISBN: 0-446-51963-4
Page count: 448pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998




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