In a review of "Ghostrider One" in Sunday's book page...

BOOK BRIEFS

December 19, 1993|By SUSANNE TROWBRIDGE Title: "Ghostrider One" Author: Gerry Carroll Publisher: Pocket Books Length, price: 439 pages, $22 | SUSANNE TROWBRIDGE Title: "Ghostrider One" Author: Gerry Carroll Publisher: Pocket Books Length, price: 439 pages, $22,LOS ANGELES TIMES

In a review of "Ghostrider One" in Sunday's book page, author Gerry Carroll was identified as a resident of St. Mary's County. Mr. Carroll died in October.

+ The Sun regrets the errors.

Title: "What Child Is This?"

Author: Rebecca York

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

Length, price: 243 pages, $2.99 (paperback)

Rebecca York's "43 Light St." series revolves around a group of women who work in an office building in downtown Baltimore. The tenants, including a psychologist, a movie producer and a private eye, frequently manage to get into life-threatening situations.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

In "What Child Is This?" Erin Morgan, the director of an agency that helps adopted children track down their birth parents, is drugged and abducted from her office. She wakes up the next day in an Eastern Shore boathouse, 80 miles from home.

She stumbles right into an old flame, Orioles first baseman Travis Stone, who, as it turns out, could use Erin's help -- he was adopted and needs to be reunited with his biological family. But someone wants to stop their search before it begins, and is willing to kill to do it.

Rebecca York, the pseudonym of Maryland authors Ruth Glick and Eileen Buckholtz, relies too much on coincidence to drive the plot along. The story also gets overly heart-tugging at times (Erin's husband was killed in the Persian Gulf War, leaving her to raise their young son alone).

However, readers looking for luscious love scenes will find them in abundance, and the action moves at a swift pace -- every chapter ends with a mini-cliffhanger, keeping the suspense level high throughout.

The year is 1968. The Tet offensive is changing the military and political landscape of Vietnam and the United States. Air Commander Jim Hogan has been assigned to the OSS Shiloh, off the northern coast of Vietnam, as the executive officer of attack planes.

Hogan soon realizes that there is not only a war on land but one among the pilots of the squadron. As the Tet offensive heats up, Hogan must restore order before the North Vietnamese enemy can be confronted. Things come to a boil during the siege of Khe Sanh as Hogan and his pilots must defy desperate odds and weather conditions to try to break the siege.

Gerry Carroll is a retired, highly decorated Vietnam combat pilot who lives in St. Mary's County. "Ghostrider One" is his second novel. It is not surprising that when the author takes his characters into their planes, the novel has an almost lyrical quality.

But the novel stalls amid the one-dimensional characters and fairly predictable plot, and Mr. Carroll bogs the book down with too much naval and aviator jargon. Rather than aiding the reader, the constant technical references slow down what narrative momentum there is.

BOB BAYLUS

Title: "Sacred Trusts: Essays on Stewardship and Responsibility"

Editor: Michael Katakis

Publisher: Mercury House

Length, price: 304 pages, $17.95

Essays in this book are by some of our finest nature writers: Bill McKibben, Gerald Vizenor, Gary Paul Nabhan, Wendell Berry, John Nichols and Stephen Bodio, to name a few.

They reveal a marvelous variety of motivations for stewardship as an approach to living in nature (although a suspicious number of the authors seem to be writing from Montana!).

All of these motivations (the birth of a son, the death of a father), experiences, memories and identification with different places really add up to different aspects of love.

Dan Gerber writes about passion for a place, Mr. Bodio about a passion for falcons; C. L. Rawlins writes about trust; Kris Hardin writes about honesty; Jack Turner writes about the soaring of pelicans soaring and joy; William Hjortsberg writes about non-ownership and respect; John Gierach writes about restraint in our use of resources; the fishermen and women write about patience; and Michael Katakis writes about commitment.

Passion, trust, honesty, joy, respect, restraint, patience and commitment. Sounds like a pretty good relationship.

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