MIXING METAPHORS CAN BE DANGEROUS in the thriller biz, but Pontiac, Michigan-born author Chafets, who has served as Israel's top press officer, makes the most of it in a slam-dunk tale that intertwines professional basketball with Middle Eastern terrorism.
On a goodwill tour of Tel Aviv, beloved NCAA coach Digger Dawkins and NBA star forward Tyrone Holliman are kidnapped by a ruthless Palestinian splinter group. The fanatic surgeon Dr. Abu Walid, follower of a deaf and blind Moslem cleric in Dearborn, Mich., intends to use them to sabotage a fragile peace.
While the White House plays its own games with the Knesset over their fate, Holliman, a street-smart ghetto escapee, stays alive by teaching Walid's 6'5" teenage son how to play basketball and enjoy the fruits of stardom instead of Islam. As a rescue finally gets under way, Holliman is already ahead on the scoreboard. More exciting than a Final Four play-off, Hang Time will keep readers floating well above the rim. (Warner, $21.95)