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Star-crossed superheroes in a standard suspenser set in the Middle East. He’s a famous Palestinian detective. She’s a great Israeli detective. Previously (in The Walls of Jericho, 1997), they were part of a joint Arab-Israeli effort to identify and track down a savage serial killer. They caught him—and the love bug, too. But Arabs and Israelis, these days, mix about as well as Capulets and Montagues, and handsome Ben Kamal can adore beauteous Daniella Barnea only from afar. That is, until circumstances force them to team up again, this time to quash an international white slavery racket. But that’s not how it looked at the outset. Then, Ben thought he was investigating a simple kidnaping, and Daniella thought she was pursuing the murderer of an ordinary Jewish shopkeeper. It isn’t until her higher-ups in the Israeli National Police take to sabotaging her efforts, while pretending to aid and abet them, that Daniella sniffs the putrid odor of cover-up and conspiracy. Ben’s realization is connected to the offing of his close friend and hot-shot reporter Zaid Jabral, who was onto a ripsnorter of a story that could besmirch reputations, even topple governments, as he—d told Ben. Done in before he can reveal more, he now materializes as a friendly ghost from time to time, offering spirited advice. It’s unlikely that veteran suspense readers will be surprised when the two investigations turn out to be linked. Before Ben and Daniella can save the world, however, the obligatory filling of body bags has to take place. Best in the early scenes, when those tortuous Arab-Israeli conflicts get interesting. But Land (Dead Simple, 1998, etc.), like so many other authors of big fat thrillers, is flummoxed by the problems of the middle, which sags and drags.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86819-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999


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