Picks and Pans Review: The Mark of the Assassin

updated 03/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Daniel Silva

Page-Turner of the Week

EX-SPOOK MICHAEL OSBOURNE HAS been retired from field work for years. Now deskbound in Langley, Va., he is quietly researching Arab terrorism for the CIA when a U.S. airliner is shot down off Long Island. Everyone is quick to blame a Palestinian group known as the Sword of Gaza. Everyone, that is, but Osbourne, who is transfixed by a body found in the water with three bullets in the face—the trademark of October, code name for the former KGB assassin who murdered Sarah Randolph, a woman Osbourne once loved.

Author Daniel Silva drew raves for his believable characters and cunning plot twists in last year's surprise bestseller The Unlikely Spy. His accomplishment this time is to roll out his tale of espionage simultaneously in two time frames. Even as Osbourne attempts to solve the plane crash in the tense present, he plunges into the past and unravels the mystery surrounding Sarah's death. At the dramatic terminus of each quest stands Osbourne's own ex-red, October. (Villard, $25)

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