LEVANTINE by Peter Delacorte


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Levantine"" is Delacorte's pseudonym for Lebanon in this strained thriller--which offers an irritating mixture of quasi-history, conspiracy theories, and pointless fictionalization. The unappealing hero here is 45-ish newsman Andrew Chambers, a veteran foreign correspondent in Levantine City (Beirut) whose job-dedication has resulted in the loss of wife and daughter. Now, circa 1982, Chambers gets entangled in a series of mysteries related to the Mideast political situation. An Israeli diplomat is assassinated in Germany; then two journalists disappear, turning up dead in the desert alongside the body of a ""Black June"" terrorist; meanwhile the Levantine-based, Arafat-like ""PLF"" leader keeps giving cryptic interviews to Chambers. Soon, moreover, Chambers begins to suspect that some of these conundrums could be explained by his new love, French actress/humanitarian Mireille--who's supposedly in Levantine on a UNESCO-ish mission. (Their poorly written love-scene climaxes in ""a great abundance of ecstasy."") And eventually the newsman becomes convinced that Israel's Defense Minister Edelman (a Sharon stand-in)is planning an invasion--with secret support from: blackmailed journalists; ruthless Armenian nationalists (Mireille is really Armenian!); Israeli assassination schemes; and the US. Will the evil Edelman allow Chambers to reveal this story? No, he'll try to have Chambers killed, of course, via car-bombs and such. (Chambers' other love-Interest dies as a result.) But finally, after the invasion has indeed begun, Edelman will be showily dispatched by his sometime mistress Mireille. . . who is also the sometime mistress of the PLF leader! Dreary, derivative convolutions--without the tongue-in-cheek tone that gave Delacorte's Games of Chance (1980) at least a smidgin or two of charm.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1984
ISBN: 039333337X
Publisher: Norton