A jolting, scientific thriller by Italian journalist, biographer and novelist Di Stefano (The Zanfretta Case, 1984, etc.)
On a warm day three decades ago, young librarian Tom Dempsy is riding the elevator at his Florida apartment complex when a fellow passenger turns white, begins to convulse and collapses to the floor. After securing help, Dempsy rifles through the man’s briefcase and finds a series of papers that hint at a vast conspiracy sponsored by the right-wing Temple Corp. The protagonist dives in head first, milking sources, solving riddles and fighting off gun-toting villains with equal panache. With the help of a friend, Professor Philip Gilman, Dempsy discovers that Temple scientists have intentionally infected a handful of Americans with the AIDS virus. But he can’t sort out the strands of the scheme quickly enough. A gang of criminals are on his tail, and they succeed in killing Dempsy’s friends, associates and even–after a high-octane chase scene–his girlfriend. Di Stefano sets the last section in modern-day America, as Gilman takes over the case and tracks down the man behind the Temple Corp.’s plot. The author is skilled with the big picture, and his sketch of two brave men caught in the crosshairs of a shadowy organization is riveting. His characters, however, are not much more than plot vehicles–the reader is never allowed full access to their thoughts. Exposition dominates the proceedings to a distracting degree. Further, the disconnect between the chapters devoted to Dempsy, and the conclusion–which belongs to Gilman–is jarring. Still, the conspiracy Di Stefano evokes feels plausible, and humid, overheated southern Florida is a fitting backdrop for the whole affair.
A high-paced political mystery, painted in broad, colorful strokes.