Picks and Pans Review: The Fourth Protocol

updated 10/15/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/15/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Frederick Forsyth

Just as the suspense is building and the KGB superspy with a nuke is cornered, Forsyth writes, "When the Chief Constable has made his formal request to the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office, the latter passes the request to his opposite number in Defense, who in turn apprises the director of military operations of the request, and the DMO alerts the SAS at its Hereford base camp..." Zzzzzz. The author of The Day of the Jackal has a lot of that kind of trouble with his intricate plot, in which a jewel thief picks up a briefcase containing vital secrets. All the ingredients are familiar, but Forsyth manages to build some tension despite his love for elaborate explanations about how the secret service bureaucracy operates, how to blow open a safe or how to fence diamonds. That apparent determination to use every smidgen of research often gets in the way of what is, when Forsyth lets himself tell it, a rousing good story. (Viking, $17.95)

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