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The Confessor
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In this second volume in Gardner's Last Kruger trilogy, Big Herbie Kruger‘hero of an earlier trilogy‘is called out of retirement to investigate the car-bomb assassination of Gus Keene, one of the most successful inquisitors (``confessors'') ever to serve Her Majesty's spies. Herbie's old ties to Keene put his life in jeopardy as he uncovers sinister terrorists bombing European and American sites as a prelude to a scheme known only as ``Magic Lightning.'' Herbie also learns that Keene had a second life as a world-class magician, and that he kept some of his spycraft very secret indeed; it's even possible that the master illusionist is still alive. Though Gardner provides the requisite treacheries and betrayals, a slow start and the often murky explanations of characters' complex relationships may deter some readers. In addition, while Kruger, with his mangled vocabulary and bulldoggedness, is affectionately drawn, supporting players rarely come to life. Still, readers who persevere will be rewarded when the plot's many dark secrets are finally revealed‘appropriately enough, at a magician's conference in a besieged Washington, D.C. Author tour. (Apr.)

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