While well-paced, acutely observed and sophisticated, Fowler's tale of international devilry and horror wrought through deadly runes is ultimately implausible. (July)
Bizarre deaths are occurring in London. A pair of elderly, eccentric police detectives supect ad-man Harry Buckingham, the estranged son of one of the victims. To prove his innocence, Harry reluctantly joins forces with mohawked, befeathered Grace, driver of the van that killed his father, to track the video store buyout his father had opposed. Meanwhile, a librarian delves into occult texts to decipher the angular symbols found on some victims. Eventually, all arrive at one conclusion: the multinational ODEL Corporation is using modern technology to transmit coded runic messages to the public, and will go to any length to enforce its scheme of a new, improved humanity. While there isn't much substance to hero Harry, other characters are delightful; the deliberate--and deliberately cantankerous--detectives; the sergeant who calmly ignores their role-playing and keeps them on track; feisty, forward Grace; and Dorothy, the librarian who deals with magical mumbo jumbo in down-to-earth fashion. Rune brings black magic into the video age with excitement and suspense.-- A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C.