March 03, 2003 12:00 PM

by Matthew B.J. Delaney

In 1943 Pvt. Eric Davis and his platoon land on the Pacific island of Bougainville and find that both American and Japanese soldiers have been brutally slaughtered in a manner horrific even by wartime standards. Wounded, Davis is rescued by the Merchant Marine ship Galla, but perishes when the ship is sunk. Cut to 2007, when an undersea documentary crew salvages Galla and brings it to a naval museum in Boston. Soon the city faces a series of gruesome killings similar to those Private Davis encountered 64 years earlier, and cops find themselves pursuing an ancient, seemingly unstoppable adversary.

Like Dean Koontz, Delaney convincingly places demons and all things evil in familiar surroundings, but in addition to crafting a terrific suspense yarn, he has created a morality play in which human corruption plays an important role. Although Delaney can be heavy on plot and light on character, Jinn deftly intermingles three genres: crime, horror and sci-fi. (St. Martin’s, 24.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Knock back this Jinn

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