September 19, 1983 12:00 PM

by Robert Moss and Arnaud de Borchgrave

In the first 30 pages of this novel by the best-selling authors of The Spike, three people are murdered. Shortly afterward a U.S. senator from Texas is kidnapped and dies of fright while being tortured. This is—to say the least—a violent tale that seems spawned of right-wing paranoia: Everyone in Latin America is plotting with Soviet help to bring about the downfall of the United States by provoking its minorities to riot. The objective, one bad guy in Havana explains, “is the paralysis of the United States through a social revolt that will make it impossible for the…Administration [in Washington] to pursue any coherent foreign policy.” The hero is an investigative reporter whose editors distort his copy by exaggerating U.S. secret involvement in Latin American affairs. This gets him in trouble with the CIA and the FBI, which are, of course, hopelessly inept anyway. The biggest crisis in Monimbó, however, is that the writers have failed to provide a single interesting, believable or sympathetic character. The hero is an especially tiresome ninny. (Simon and Schuster, $15.95)

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