June 16, 1997 12:00 PM

by Joseph Kanon

Spring 1945: An Army security officer is murdered in Santa Fe, an apparent victim of an assault by a homosexual lover. That’s what Washington wants it to be. But for investigator Michael Connolly, the case becomes a thrilling footnote to history. The victim worked at nearby Los Alamos, where the best minds in the country are laboring to develop the weapon that will end the war. Could the murder be related to the super-secret Manhattan Project? As Connolly races to untangle the social, political and sexual thicket that surrounds the project in search of an answer, the countdown to a new age has already begun.

Author Kanon, a former publishing executive, evokes the time and place of the atomic bomb’s birth with a minimalist’s eye and a storyteller’s gift. He seamlessly weaves his fictional extras together with actual figures like scientists Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer in a way that brings this portentous page of history to vivid life. (Broadway, $25)

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