May 16, 1983 12:00 PM

by Fred Halliday

The hero, like someone in a comic book, goes by the single name of the title. For reasons apparent only to the author—a scriptwriter (Fritz the Cat) and novelist (this is his fourth book)—Ambler, an artist, has an impassioned affair with a Frenchwoman in Paris. He then returns to New York, blows the head off an unsavory drug dealer, and kills a few other criminal types as well. Eventually even a district attorney comes to admire Ambler’s way of dealing with evil people. Nonetheless, Ambler is an impulsive, emotional sort who can’t be explained in any rational way. No one in this book is, in fact, believable, but the novel is full of vivid scenes, flashes of dazzling action and enough sex and violence for a whole season of television. (Simon & Schuster, $13.95)

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