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Publishers WeeklyBenoit's smashingly good, action-packed first novel leads Douglas Pearce, a young brewery worker from Pottstown, Pa., on a quest for information about his long-dead uncle that takes him from Toronto to Casablanca, Cairo, Bahrain and Singapore, before returning him to Toronto. He gets on the trail of a huge stolen gem, and along the way finds rascals, thugs, thieves and vamps among the archeology scholars, ex-museum directors and encyclopedia publishers who appear to be his guides. With much wit and invention, Benoit convincingly portrays the Middle East. A hilarious account of chaos in the Cairo airport reads like an updated scene from Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad. Benoit adroitly contrasts the modern features of North Africa and Asia with the remnants of their ancient pasts. Two murderous chases through urban and rural Egypt build to a resolution that remains well concealed until the final pages. Some readers may find the sex scenes too brief and a bit strange, but this is a quibble. Benoit is a rare discovery, and one hopes that he plans to produce more adventure-oriented mysteries with the same skill and energy that propel this excellent debut.
—Feb. 2 2004