April 28, 1997 12:00 PM

by Zev Chafets

Page-Turner of the Week

AT THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY, Dewey Goldberg, the first Jewish U.S. President, has a serious problem: Elihu Barzel, the beloved Prime Minister of Israel, is trying to ruin his chances of reelection. Goldberg and a close pal, investigative journalist Charlie Walker, finally learn the reason for Israel’s plotting. Barzel and few of his close advisers want Goldberg’s hawkish opponent elected so they can initiate their Middle East endgame. The project is a plan that could easily ignite a world conflict. As Barzel and Goldberg engage in fast and deadly moves and countermoves, revelations and plot twists keep this thriller humming with singular electricity. And Michigan-raised author Chafets, who served as head of the Israeli Government Press Office under Menachem Begin, never resorts to violence or high-tech tricks to increase the wattage. With a fine sense of pacing, he carefully builds tension to the breaking point without a shot being fired. The Project delivers a satisfying punch and plenty of fireworks. (Warner, $24)

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