The Runner

SO FAR THIS REICH APPEARS to be all rise and no fall. The Austin author vaulted onto best-seller lists two years ago with a thriller about (believe it or not) banking. Complexly plotted, Numbered Account was, at times, simply impenetrable, yet Reich's competence and confidence compounded the reader's interest. Those same authorial qualities enhance the action in The Runner. In his second suspense novel, set amid the wreckage of post-war Germany, an American lawyer serving on the International Military Tribunal searches for an escaped Nazi POW who executed a hundred American GIs. Further shoring up the can't-miss plot is Reich's obvious familiarity with Germany and the historical facts of the era; so demanding readers will readily forgive his formulaic flourishes (noble hero seeks personal as well as patriotic revenge, noble hero feels verboten attraction to glacial Aryan princess). And Reich gains bonus points for an objectivity often missing from post-war plots. This is no red-white-and-blue rah-rah tale; not all the bad guys are Nazis. By Anne Dingus

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