Books

by Jan Wallentin
Viking, May 2012, $28.95

When a cave diver finds a corpse wearing an ancient ankh and surrounded by ominous inscriptions about the gates of hell in an abandoned Swedish mine, religious artifacts expert Don Titelman is called in. Unfortunately, when he arrives, the diver has been murdered and Titelman is fingered for the crime.

Titelman's only clue is a postcard. He and his attorney, Eva Strand, follow the slim lead it provides to discover amazing secrets about the ankh and a matching star-shaped piece that a mysterious foundation will stop at nothing to obtain. Meanwhile, the killer, a child psychic sold by her mother to the foundation and trained by them to be a fighter, discovers she's a pawn in a scheme that may grow beyond her ability to control.

This debut novel introduces readers to Titelman, a troubled soul who was drawn into his field by his grandmother's tragic past as a Holocaust survivor, and who seeks solace in his work assisted by the soothing effect of pharmaceuticals.

The deft combination of fully realized characters, fluid prose, a multilayered plot, and cross-genre writing that touches on mysticism, high-concept thriller, and adventure tale, makes Strindberg's Star read like a cross between Dan Brown and Clive Cussler. It satisfies right through the story's climax at the Arctic Circle, where all parties rush toward an opening in the ice pack which literally leads to the gates of hell.

Debbi Mack

When a cave diver finds a corpse wearing an ancient ankh and surrounded by ominous inscriptions about the gates of hell in an abandoned Swedish mine, religious artifacts expert Don Titelman is called in. Unfortunately, when he arrives, the diver has been murdered and Titelman is fingered for the crime.

Titelman's only clue is a postcard. He and his attorney, Eva Strand, follow the slim lead it provides to discover amazing secrets about the ankh and a matching star-shaped piece that a mysterious foundation will stop at nothing to obtain. Meanwhile, the killer, a child psychic sold by her mother to the foundation and trained by them to be a fighter, discovers she's a pawn in a scheme that may grow beyond her ability to control.

This debut novel introduces readers to Titelman, a troubled soul who was drawn into his field by his grandmother's tragic past as a Holocaust survivor, and who seeks solace in his work assisted by the soothing effect of pharmaceuticals.

The deft combination of fully realized characters, fluid prose, a multilayered plot, and cross-genre writing that touches on mysticism, high-concept thriller, and adventure tale, makes Strindberg's Star read like a cross between Dan Brown and Clive Cussler. It satisfies right through the story's climax at the Arctic Circle, where all parties rush toward an opening in the ice pack which literally leads to the gates of hell.

Teri Duerr
2613

by Jan Wallentin
Viking, May 2012, $28.95

Wallentin
May 2012
strindbergs-star
28.95
Viking