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A Walk in the Darkness (Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Novels) Hardcover – April, 2000

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reviving amorous (but recently estranged) protagonists Danielle Barnea (a chief inspector of the Israel National Police) and Ben Kamal (a Palestinian detective) from The Pillars of Solomon, the narrative of Land's new thriller pivots on three mysterious elements: two mass murders occurring over a half-century apart and a long-forgotten scroll that allegedly questions Christ's resurrection. At the story's outset, Ben, who's been summoned to a multiple-murder crime scene by Danielle, identifies the corpse of his nephew--an American archeology student killed while on a dig in the desert. Eager to solve the crime, the anguished duo find their investigation hampered by, among other figures, a fanatic captain of the Vatican's Swiss Guard and a zealous rabbi, both of whom want to find and destroy the scroll. To complicate matters, Danielle is pregnant with Ben's child and struggling to land a well-deserved promotion. When she and Ben discover that the dig at which Ben's cousin murdered was a coverup for an oil-drilling operation, they find themselves in the midst of a global speed chase. As the pair hopscotch from the Middle East to Newfoundland, Rome and the U.S., they manage to pull off a slew of credibility-defying escapes. Land writes very well, but the novel is overcome with melodrama. Like a flawed skyrocket, it grows flashier and gaudier until, when it should explode with excitement, it only fizzles.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-When American archaeologists are murdered in the Judean desert, Chief Inspector Danielle Barnea of Israel's National Police calls in Detective Ben Kamal of the Palestinian police to help with the investigation. Besides being aligned as coworkers, they are also lovers and Barnea has only recently discovered she is pregnant with his child. They set out on a whirlwind investigation that quickly intensifies as they repeatedly foil attempts to kill them. The investigation reveals two probable causes behind the murders: one dealing with an ancient manuscript and the other with an amazing geological find. Land presents an intriguing beginning to his plot, using the strife between two ancient ethnic groups to build tension. While the apparent reason behind the killings appears to be solved halfway through the book, the true reason doesn't become clear until the very end. The author's attempts at intensifying the threats on the protagonists' lives may sound like scenes from a contemporary James Bond movie, but they keep things moving rapidly, even if they push the bounds of believability a bit. Characters are quick sketches, with their personality and personal histories pieced together from snippets of information revealed throughout the story. The plot wanes toward the end, but there's lots of fast-paced action.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Novels
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872656
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,153,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since his first book was published in 1983, Jon Land has written twenty-eight novels, seventeen of which have appeared on national bestseller lists. He began writing technothrillers before Tom Clancy put them in vogue, and his strong prose, easy characterization, and commitment to technical accuracy have made him a pillar of the genre.

Land spent his college years at Brown University, where he convinced the faculty to let him attempt writing a thriller as his senior honors thesis. Four years later, his first novel, The Doomsday Spiral, appeared in print. In the last years of the Cold War, he found a place writing chilling portrayals of threats to the United States, and of the men and women who operated undercover and outside the law to maintain U.S. security. His most successful of those novels were the nine starring Blaine McCracken, a rogue CIA agent and former Green Beret with the skills of James Bond but none of the Englishman's tact.

In 1998 Land published the first novel in his Ben and Danielle series, comprised of fast-paced thrillers whose heroes, a Detroit cop and an Israeli detective, work together to protect the Holy Land, falling in love in the process. He has written seven of these so far. The most recent, The Last Prophecy, was released in 2004.

Recently, RT Book Reviews gave Jon a special prize for pioneering genre fiction, and his short story "Killing Time" was shortlisted for the 2010 Dagger Award for best short fiction and included in 2010's The Best American Mystery Stories. Land is currently writing Blood Strong, his fourth novel to feature Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong--a female hero in a genre which, Land has said, has too few of them. The second book in the series, Strong Justice (2010), was named a Top Thriller of the Year by Library Journal and runner-up for Best Novel of the Year by the New England Book Festival. The third, Strong at the Break, will be released this year, and the fourth, Blood Strong, will follow in 2012. His first nonfiction book, Betrayal, written with Robert Fitzpatrick, tells the behind-the-scenes story of a deputy FBI chief attempting to bring down Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, and will also be released in 2011.

Land currently lives in Providence, not far from his alma mater.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ben Kamal grew up in the United States, married an American woman, and had children with her. The disappearance of his brother had minimal impact on Ben because he led a contented happy life. His satisfying lifestyle abruptly ended when a psychopath murdered his family. A distraught Ben returned to his ancestral home in Israel, becoming a detective for the Palestini government. His is unable to shed his feelings of isolation and loneliness until he falls in love with Chief Inspector Danielle Barnea of Israel's National Police Force. They forge a relationship out of love despite the hostilities of their warring people. When Danielle discovers she is pregnant, she decides to raise the child by herself rather than alienate Israeli society.
However, Danielle and Ben are forced to work together on a case involving twelve murdered archeologists. The investigation takes a personal twist for Ben when one of the victims turns out to be his nephew. Danielle and Ben soon learn that the archeologists found an ancient box buried in a cave that contained information that could destroy the foundation of the Catholic Church. Soon the law enforcement couple find themselves on the run from zealots guarding a secret that forces them to kill those who come too close to discovering the truth they want to keep hidden.
This political thriller starts out at the speed of a supersonic jet and just gets tenser and faster until the story line completes its unexpected but believable run. A WALK IN THE DARKNESS is a novel of high drama and emotional poignancy that provides the audience an opportunity to understand many aspects of the culture, religion, and politics of Palestinians inside the framework of the Israeli government. Jon Land continues to write tales that place him along side genre greats like Cussler, Clancy, and DeMille.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Kern VINE VOICE on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A great adventure lies ahead.
Danielle Barnea is an Israeli police officer. Ben Kamal is a Palestinian detective. A group of Archeologists are executed while at a site in the Judean desert. This starts the adventure that brings Danielle and Ben back together again.
If you like Indiana Jones adventures, you'll like this book. It's fast paced action all the way. It has a tendency to go a little overboard on some of the action as far as believability goes, but its still hyperdrive reading. As you read through the twists and turns, from places like Boston to the North Sea, you'll enjoy the ride, and at the same time see how relations between a Palestinian and an Israelis can be a problem. One humorous note; Colonel Al-Asi and his gambling 'inspections'.
Highly recommended..
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave from Chicago on May 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the worst novels I have picked up in a long time. The action scenes are cartoonish. The characters are unrealistically smart and ridiculously stupid, sometimes on the same page. The author seems to have developed his Middle East perspective in the propoganda office of Yasser Arafat. While most insulting to Jews, Mr. Land appears to be an equal opportunity insulter. Palestinians and Catholics will likewise be displeased in the way Mr. Land portrays them. Mr. Land has a childishly unrealistic view of the current political scene in the Middle East. I am sorry I wasted my time on this silly, poorly written, poorly researched work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By pencilfairy on November 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The notion that the Swiss Guards of the Vatican contain a bunch of latter-day Knights Templar who operate as commando assasins in defence of the Church, to the extent that anyone who even suspects the existence of an ancient scroll that "debunks" Christ's ressurrection must be exterminated, is too goofy to take seriously. The idea that the whole of Christianity would be turned on its ear because an ancient historian scribbled some notes about a Jewish/Roman conspiracy, as though everyone in the world would instantly take that bit of crumbling parchment as irrefutable gospel, is much too weak a nail on which to hang the majority of the ponderous plot. If this book were deliberately tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top, I could accept characters who are actually just caricatures, but Land is no Ian Fleming; he seems to expect us to take these people <seriously>, even if they have all the depth of a cardboard cutout. The protagonists struggle with tedious introspections and dreary memories when they're not too busy with international chases, kidnappings, exploding oil rigs, dangling from helicopters, grappling for the detonator...you get the idea. A heap of cliches, topped with a thin sauce of Mid-Eastern politics.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MacBee on June 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Walk in the Darkness" is a glib, slick thriller that moved quickly through the twists and turns of Mideast tensions and contradictions. It's strongest asset was the gimmick of the plot, the possible existence of revolutionary new finds in the Judean desert. However, the rather superficial and stereotypic portrayals (including the over-borrowed character from Casablanca, the Colonel Al-Asi) marred what might have been a great read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Veil on October 18, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, let me say that this book didn't really annoy me on any political level. While it didn't seem feasible, I don't read Jon Land novels for feasibility. I read them for their creative plots and wild unremitting action.

Alas, this one was lacking in both of those categories.

This was the first book I've read involving Ben and Danielle and maybe Land is/was trying to set a new tone with this series. The outcome, though, is a book much less fun to read than, say The Eighth Trumpet, or The Valhalla Testament.

Things move much more slowly - with character development in the foreground. I just didn't find the character work that compelling. I could see where the plot was going and found myself missing the breakneck action of this book's predecessors. The romance between the two protagonists didn't do much for me either. It just wasn't that exciting a novel, which is a shame because it was written by one of the most creative thriller writers around.
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