LOADED QUESTIONS by Philip Loraine


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Two youngish British journalists set off in pursuit of a juicy international expos‚--only to find themselves pawns in the scheme of a cool ""puppetmaster"" (who's working for ambitious, ruthless US politicians). Who really assassinated Isaac Erter, the charismatic leader of Israel's Peace Party, killed on his way to an Israeli-Arab conference in Rome? The KGB? Libya? The CIA? Nothing could ever be proved for sure. But now, five years later, London columnists Tom Wood (well-born) and David Cameron (up-from-poverty) team up to reinvestigate the case--with crucial help from ex-CIA man Steve Lathan, now living in Paris: Steve, part of Erter's US/Israeli bodyguard team, was injured during the assassination attack. . .but just might know something that could crack the case- wide open. Meanwhile, however, the reader learns that a clever mercenary named Markham is working behind the scenes to lead the unsuspecting reporters to the Truth--feeding them clues, bugging and trailing them, sneakily guiding them to the right witnesses. Why? Because the Truth (the CIA and Israel conspired to murder Erter!), when reported in a respected London paper, will destroy some Washington, D.C., careers. . .and benefit others. So it isn't long before Wood, Cameron, and Lathan are in Israel, getting the crucial last piece of the puzzle from a terrified ex-employee of Israeli Intelligence. End of story? Not quite--because the journalists suddenly catch on to what's been going on, refusing to go ahead with the pre-programmed reportage (even if it's a true, valid scoop). Suave villain Markham responds by kidnapping Lathan's wife Holly. And there's a tiny burst of suspense-action before the downbeat, surpriseless wrap-up. Versatile veteran Loraine (Death Wishes, Sea-Change, etc.) stumbles badly here, like so many British writers, with the dialogue for Americans: it's a tin-eared mishmash of dated US slang. Otherwise, however, this is a briskly effective, mildly ironic mini-thriller--not terribly involving or credible, but modestly entertaining.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's