BOOKS: TO AVENGE OR TO FORGET THE PAST?

A PROVOCATIVE THRILLER IS SET IN A COMPLEX MORAL UNIVERSE

Given a scene in which an assassin stalks a potential victim, most readers will, in the absence of other evidence, instinctively root for the quarry. In the opening pages of his new novel, The Statement (Dutton; 250 pages; $22.95), Brian Moore provides just such a scene: in a village in the south of France an old man is being tailed by a hired killer. The murder, the assassin decides, will take place when his target drives back to the monastery where he has been staying. Feigning engine trouble along the route, he waits for the old man to stop, then approaches...

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