Picks and Pans Review: Darkest Fear

updated 08/21/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/21/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Harlan Coben

Myron Bolitar has weathered some pretty bad breaks, such as the knee injury that ended his pro basketball career before it began. But nothing has come even remotely close to the news the struggling sports agent gets at the start of this, the seventh in Coben's winning series of sleuthing adventures. First, Myron's college sweetheart, who married his archrival, tells him he's the father of her now teenage son. Then he learns that the boy, who has a rare illness, will die without a bone marrow transplant. To make matters worse, the only matching potential donor seems to have disappeared.

The revelations definitely divert Myron from a brewing midlife crisis and launch him and his wrestling-' ring-ready cast of supporting characters—including Win, a blue-blooded portfolio manager and martial artist, and Zorra, a transvestite former Mossad agent—on a race against time (and crafty adversaries) that is both suspenseful and often surprisingly funny. A sample Myronism, con cerning his mother's culinary prowess: "The stove top saw less action ; than a Merchant-Ivory production." There's I likely to be a smile on your face even as you race to turn pages. (Delacorte, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Slam dunk for a smart-aleck sleuth

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