Cover image for The fifth level
The fifth level
Mathis, Edward.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner's ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, [1992]

Physical Description:
245 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Scribner crime novel"--Jacket.
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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The late Mathis, whose Dan Roman mysteries continue to be published posthumously, knew all there was to know about the dark roads and the dark minds that traverse them. His novels also display some irritating tics, especially when matters turn sensual and Mathis' prose becomes way too florid. The good and the bad are both on display here, as an old man sends Roman on a quest for a missing daughter, and a brawny young man with a childlike manner and a talent for physics believes he's in danger. He doesn't know why, but two years of his life are missing, eaten up by a mysterious coma. Roman finds the man an enigma, finds his older sister a distraction, and soon uncovers a plot that takes the novel out of the hard-boiled realm and into science fiction. That Mathis was willing to wander across genre boundaries isn't that surprising. Roman has exorcised demons before--alcoholism and infidelity and trigger bursts of violence. This time he's fighting for someone else, someone quite unaware of the evil they are suppressing, somewhere, in a dark place. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Texas PI Dan Roman, last seen in September Song , is only human--tough as whipcord but weak when it comes to tequila, cigarettes, poker and his young ``very nearly voluptuous'' ex-wife Susie, who is now ready to take him back. But before they can remarry, Susie is threatened by two thugs as a warning to Dan not to come to the aid of neighbor Warren Stillwell. A brilliant, strangely childish cancer researcher at a Dallas lab, Stillwell has asked Dan to find out who is trying to kill him. Pitted against a clever, merciless mystery man, Dan dodges bullets and (unsuccessfully) the advances of Warren's neurotic sister as Mathis develops his fast-paced, violent story. From Army medical records the detective learns that Warren suffered an accident toward the end of the Vietnam war that put him in a coma for two years. More evidence points to a secret medical experiment gone wildly wrong and leads Dan to a tense confrontation between Warren and a vengeful fellow soldier/victim. A most satisfying scene of carnage ensues. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved