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8496: White Darkness review

From: SDSALINGER@aol.com
Wednesday, June 20, 2001  
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A thriller set in Haiti and Brooklyn uses violence deftly 

What does Haiti have to do with Brooklyn? A lot, in the intriguingly violent 
White Darkness by Steven D. Salinger (Crown, $24).

It's a starry night in Haiti as Col. Ferray climbs a hill to the Dalwani 
house, elegant home to a father, mother and three daughters. The colonel 
guesses how old each girl is and notes their "lustrous hair, delicate bones, 
and sorrowful, dark-rimmed eyes."

A social call? In a book with that provocative title?

Considering the girls, the colonel "doubted that his men would appreciate 
such refinements." Mr. Dalwani, foreseeing disaster, offers his maid, 
whispering: "Force her to do things." He bribes the colonel with jewelry, 
including his wife's diamond ring.

Salinger leaves the inevitable violence to your imagination, but be warned: 
Later on in his chiller-thriller he doesn't.

Jump-cut to Brooklyn. Moe Rosen is about to open his jewelry store when he 
notices Miz Ark in front of her Haitian restaurant. He also sees a black man 
eyeing him and then attacking Miz Ark, knocking her down and kicking her. Moe 
charges the creep and saves the woman. So begins a fascinating relationship 
between a Haitian and an American.

Jump-cut back to Haiti and young Fabrice's X-rated relationship with a 
wealthy woman. Guess who makes a violent house call? Fabrice escapes and - 
well, you'll anticipate where he ends up but not how he gets there.

I've saved the book's most mesmerizing player for last: Voodoo.

Salinger is very good at balancing character and plot points. And he knows 
precisely when to let violence take center stage and benumb you. Don't start 
reading this one too late at night. You might speed through a sleep zone.