ARTICLES OF FAITH by Robert L. Rodin


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Earnest sins-of-the-father debut thriller that, the author states in an emotional postscript, is based on a nasty truth. Danny Maguire, a Vietnam vet married to a Vietnamese woman he rescued from a Saigon brothel, is content with a life of blissful poverty working as a construction contractor in Long Island—until he gets a call from his father. It seems that the shadowy Sean Maguire, who vanished mysteriously 25 years ago, didn—t kill himself after all, as Danny’s late mother had thought. Now a hale and hearty 75, the cigarette-puffing Sean has come out of hiding to rescue his son’s family from a cabal of former OSS/CIA agents who want to use them in order to kill Sean. Danny’s dad, it turns out, was a covert OSS agent who had helped save a bunch of vile Nazis when they swapped their lives for stolen Jewish religious artifacts. The sudden appearance of an ancient Roman dagger that may have belonged to Judas Iscariot sets off a predictable killing spree, with Sean, Danny, and Danny’s confused but trusting family keeping just a few steps ahead of assassins in the employ of Sean’s former OSS boss, the spry, 70-year-old Francis X. Laughlin. Newcomer Rodin’s attempt at speedy, character-driven suspense is slowed in places by clunky dialogue, heavyweight symbolism, and far too many characters expressing shock that our government could have such spineless bad guys on the payroll. Good guys and bad, aided by cooly competent New York police detective Sam Tarkin, and by a horde of vengeful Israelis, converge on Manhattan’s Cloisters Museum for a predictable showdown in which Danny’s Vietnam skills save the day. An acceptable if somewhat labored first effort that turns chilling when, at the close, the author mentions his father’s deathbed confession of having done similar things, and worse, during the bad old Cold War days.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18532-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998