THE SACRIFICE by Henry Sutton


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Henry Sutton"" used to imitate Jacqueline Susann, fairly successfully, if that's the word. Now he's imitating Robert Ludlum, miserably. The prerequisites for a Ludlum are, of course, a vast conspiracy and a persecuted good-guy (preferably independently wealthy), so Sutton gives us Yale classics prof Roger Braithwaite, who's been translating an ancient coded Greek manuscript along with rare-book man Donald Trotter. Trotter goes suddenly wacko, losing the ability to read, and then the manuscript is stolen, and then the nephew of the man who donated the' manuscript is murdered, and there's this Frenchman who's offering to buy Roger's copy of the manuscript. So Roger--who still hasn't managed to decode the stuff in the manuscript about human sacrifices and the prolongation of life--goes asleuthing abroad: he meets a supposedly dead spiritualist who must be well over 90, he's being followed and then he's being pressured, kidnapped, ordered to become a murderer, and eliminated via killer dogs by the super-power Stoneman family. The Stonemans, you see, are the ones who've gotten hold of the manuscript's secret ritual whereby somebody can add years to his life by killing somebody else. They're also clumsily made to resemble the Rockefellers (""old man Stoneman handing out dimes to children"")--just one of the half-baked gimmicks on parade in this mechanical potboiler: fake trash lacking even the vigor of real trash.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1978
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap