Critics' Choice: Jul. 31, 1989


OIL NOTES by Rick Bass (Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence; $16.95). There is no better conversation than good shop talk; here a petroleum geologist ("I know how to find oil") tells many of the tricks of his trade and proves, in the process, that he also knows how to write.

POLAR STAR by Martin Cruz Smith (Random House; $19.95). In a sequel to his best-selling detective novel Gorky Park, Smith sets Moscow investigator Arkady Renko off on another bizarre case. The setting this time is a fishing boat on the Bering Sea; one dead body leads to others along an arc of...

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