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by Tom Sehler

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83938-8
Publisher: Viking

Prolific Rex Burns takes a break from his two series detectives, Gabe Wager (The Killing Zone) and Devlin Kirk (Parts Unknown), in this pseudonymous tale of forcibly retired San Diego counterintelligence Col. Jack Steele's search for an old friend's granddaughter, Dorcas Wilcox. The clues—Dori's earlier breakdowns on two separate occasions after school friends died suddenly, her involvement with charismatic Dwayne Vengeley, the six-month pregnancy she's kept secret from her family, and some unnecessarily heavy-handed flashbacks—all point toward a Satanic cult like the Temple of the Shining Spirit in Colorado, and that's just where dogged Jack finds Dori halfway through. But he won't be able to persuade her to leave till after another homicide, ugly revelations about the Temple's revenue base, and the inevitable eleventh-hour dangers to life, limb, and the unborn. Competent stuff, but lacking any real surprises—or the spark of Burns's books under his own byline—and windy Jack is kind of a drag. For now, stick to brand names.