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Close to the Bone


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In this prequel to the praised Prayer for the Dead, Wiltse brings back his unusual FBI agent, John Becker, to prevent a deadly act of international terrorism. After a brief and powerful prologue that pits Becker against a vile, psychopathic killer, the main story begins with the introduction of Roger Bahoud, a hired assassin who prefers to murder his victims with a sharp object in the ear. Hired by a rival Islamic group to eliminate Yasser Arafat and pin the crime on the Israelis, Bahoud has slipped into the U.S. and infiltrated a small, ineffectual Zionist group in New York, intending to set them up as fall guys. Becker, a tormented antihero whose primary skill lies in his ability to think and act like the villains he pursues, is put in charge of the FBI effort to stop Bahoud. A series of the terrorist's trademark icepick killings finally leads to a showdown in an apartment he shares with the nominal leader of the Brotherhood of Zion and his crippled, sexually frustrated sister. In the end, Bahoud learns what it is like to be stalked by an enemy as deadly and merciless as he is. (Oct.)

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