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by John Case
Ballantine Books, November 2002
378 pages
ISBN: 0345433092

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Husband and wife writing partnership Jim and Carolyn Hougan comprise the author John Case. Jim, a former investigative journalist , brings his expertise in the study of conspiracy to the team. Both have written books under their own names. The works of John Case include The Genesis Code, The First Horseman The Syndrome  and Trance State. All the books are characterised by meticulous research and fast paced excitement. The Eighth Day is no exception to the modus operandi to date.

Danny Cray is a young artist who is only moderately successful in that he is not yet widely known and so is not yet making large amounts of money. His partner, the beautiful Caleigh, on the other hand, has a job in finance, loves her work and makes enough to support both of them. To supplement his meagre income, Danny sometimes takes on part -time investigative work. He is quite pleased when a lawyer, Jude Belzer, contacts him to investigate a man who has recently committed suicide by the unusual means of immuring himself in a hastily built room, then allowing himself to die of dehydration and hunger. Belzer claims that Terio, the dead man, had been involved in a plan to smear one of Belzer's clients, billionaire Zerevan Zebek. Danny has been given the opportunity to have an exhibition of his art work but in order to do so successfully, he needs money to buy equipment. What Belzer is offering will more than cover his own private project.

The artist's investigations send him in the direction of Terio's contacts and he discovers that some of these, too, have met untimely deaths by unusual means. Danny leaves Washington for Italy where he is treated royally by his employer whom he discovers is not quite what he seems.

Danny is forced to switch locations frequently as he finds himself in peril. He uncovers information that points him in the direction of Turkey and to a strange religious sect known as the Yezidis. These Kurds are reputed to be devil worshipers and the investigator finds himself caught up with people who think nothing of torturing and murdering their victims without first ascertaining that the victims are their enemies. Also, Cray discovers that his erstwhile employer is involved in nanotechnology, a revolutionary new process encompassing microscopic self-generating robots.

The Perils of Pauline would seem as nothing in comparison with The Dangers of Danny Cray. John Case does not shrink from portraying awful scenes of bloodletting and torture. By the same token, the author generously shares a light version of the scientific basis of nanotechnology and the possible hazards thereof, with the reader.

As previously stated, the research that has gone into the novel is impressive - at least the story has an air of authenticity. The religion of the Yezidis, an integral part of the narrative, is clearly explained as is the science behind the tale. The locations - Washington, Italy, Turkey and Switzerland - are vividly described in some detail and the adventures leave the reader gasping for breath and the protagonist bloody and very bowed. The flawed character of Danny is very well constructed and credible, the situations sufficiently harrowing for the most avid reader although at times a trifle over the top. An involved thriller but one that lives up to that description.

Note: This review is based on the Australian edition from Century, London, released November 1 2002 ($Au29.95)

Reviewed by Denise Wels, January 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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