September 06, 1999 12:00 PM

by John Darnton

Beach book of the week

In his bestselling first novel, 1996’s Neanderthal, Darnton envisioned a band of pre-Homo sapiens creating havoc in Central Asia. In The Experiment, the action moves closer to home when a young man named Skyler escapes from a sinister island compound off Georgia, where he has been confined since birth.

Compelled by a book jacket picture of one Jude Harley—who appears to be his identical twin—Skyler arranges a meeting with the astonished journalist in New York City. A chilling genetic mystery quickens—and romance blossoms—when researcher Tizzie Tierney, who studies twins, becomes involved with the look-alikes. Soon the trio, harassed and threatened by forces unknown, are off on a dizzying chase from Arizona to Savannah. The Experiment can take a ghoulish turn at times, but it bubbles along with nary a mistake. (Dutton, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Sizzling technocaper

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