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Realistic Iranian setting in journalist's first novel

Finding Hoseyn, by Colin MacKinnon. New York: Arbor House. 306 pp. $16.95. The author of this first novel, Colin MacKinnon, is a journalist and former director of the American Institute of Iranian Studies in Tehran. His six years in Iran are evident in the detailed picture he draws of life there under the Shah. Jim Morgan, an American reporter based in Tehran, reads a story filed by a British reporter about the murder of an Israeli engineer. After the British reporter is sent home and his story is killed, Jim investigates the incident by tracking down the escaped assassin, Hoseyn Jandaqi, a member of a Muslim terrorist organization.

The investigation takes Jim to Paris, Munich, and Beirut, and along the way he finds that others are interested also -- the Iranian secret police, Israeli intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, American business interests, and Hoseyn's fellow terrorists.

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The characters are interesting but not very sympathetic, and their various names and allegiances help to confuse the already complicated plot. Even so, this is an impressive first novel.

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