by Eric Lustbader

Pocket Books, $23.00
ISBN: 0-671-00329-1

Reviewed by Robert Thompson (22 July, 1997)

This story is the next episode in the adventures of Lew Croaker - one of Nicolas Linnear's old buddies. I don't know what happened to Linnear (The hero of several of Lustbader's previous books), but Lew seems to be plugging along without him.

Lew, a semi-retired Federal Agent with a bionic hand is hanging out in Florida, running fishing charters and drinking beer. One of his fishing clients introduces him to a woman who ends up rather spectacularly dead the next day.

Lustbader is at his usual game of double and triple dealers, never really knowing who is a good guy and who is a bad guy until near the end of the story. Of course we know that Croaker is a good guy, but everyone else??? Even the really bad guys have their sympathetic sides.

And of course, Lustbader includes a very massive dose of mysticysm and metaphysics. Usually it is oriental martial arts type stuff, but this story departs from that norm into some South American Guarani shamanistic type stuff with a dash of American Indian stuff thrown in.

Although this new brand (for Lustbader) of mystycism is central to the plot, I wish that he had gone more into depth in it. Although it could be used for very nasty stuff, this stuff was really based in the Healing Arts.

Croaker's niece Rachel is in a coma, and needs a kidney transplant immediately. Of course, kidneys don't grow on trees, and she is way down on the list, so there is little hope. Croaker is approached and told that there will be a transplantable kidney made available for Rachel if Croaker will just do a little favor--- Kill a big-time drug dealer.

Well, it is not quite as straightforward as that. In fact it is incredibly complicated. So, readers will ride along as Croaker tries to unravel the mystery, save Rachel's life, find the killer of the woman he just met, all while on the run from several government and police agencies who want him for various reasons.

DARK HOMECOMING is a pretty good story. It isn't one of Lustbader's best, but it could have been. It is definitely worth checking out of the library. I don't think that I would buy the hardback edition unless I won the lottery.

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