Picks and Pans Review: The Search

updated 02/24/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/24/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Robert Mayer

Except in fiction, the CIA doesn't have any spies in Sante Fe, N.Mex. or anywhere else in the States—not with any legal authority, anyway—but novels are full of such guys. At the center of this top-notch suspense thriller is a successful free-lance photographer who does certain jobs for the Company. This semipro agent is named Jim Rood. When a little boy's voice is heard on a CB radio saying that his father's truck has crashed and his father won't speak to him, a massive search is begun. The Company wants Rood to investigate, too, and he's puzzled. Why would the CIA be interested? Then a priest, called out at night to perform last rites, is shot at a highway rest stop. A cousin of Rood's waitress friend, who looks like her, is murdered while walking a dog. A scientist at Los Alamos is found almost dead after an apparent suicide attempt. The suspense builds effectively, and Mayer, the author of four other novels, handles his big cast of complex, interesting characters with great finesse. The solution, with an odd little flourish at the end, is especially satisfying. (Doubleday, $16.95)

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