Vanessa V. Friedman
July 23, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

New York writer Carl Granville — down on his luck, personally and professionally — is approached one day by a hotshot publisher who says she’ll pay him a startling amount of money to turn a top secret diary into a novel. Gift from God or devilish trap? Obviously the latter, but Russell Andrews’ Gideon being a thriller, our hero takes the bait, with predictably horrible consequences. The conspiracy he gets tangled in plays on some seriously topical fears: How far will media moguls go to gain control of the airwaves and up their ratings? What happens when the ambitions of elected officials’ spouses run out of control? The effect is a bit like rolling down a grassy hill: You might start slowly, but after a while you pick up serious speed. B+

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