Picks and Pans Review: Levantine

updated 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Peter Delacorte

Set in "Levantine," a thinly disguised version of Beirut at the time of Israel's 1982 invasion, this novel is a tension-filled, well-paced thriller. Its hero, Andrew Chambers, is a 45-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for an L.A. newspaper who is caught up in Levantine's widening spiral of violence, as well as in a torrid, unexpected love affair with a beautiful French actress. When a colleague is found murdered, Chambers inherits the slain man's 18-year-old mistress, who wants the journalist to be more than her guardian; he also is the beneficiary of his colleague's coded files, which hint at a major international conspiracy behind an impending war. Chambers pursues the tangled strands of the story to a shocking conclusion. The novel is notable for its vivid sense of mood and place—just before Chambers arrives at a threatening checkpoint, for instance, or the gritty atmosphere of the bombed-out city. Levantine captures the human waste of the Middle East's terror in a manner not soon forgotten. (Norton, $15.95)

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