The Book of Air and Shadows

March 23, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Take a dead genius, a code, a sleuthing couple with romantic chemistry, and some bad guys, and you get…The Book of Air and Shadows, Michael Gruber’s spirited but overstuffed Da Vinci Code knockoff. After a fire at the New York bookstore where he works, Albert Crosetti heads to his fetching colleague’s loft to salvage a damaged antique volume. In the binding, they find a 17th-century manuscript whose author might have known Shakespeare. Soon Russian gangsters want in, and a dozen or so characters — a gay professor, a Queens matron, a former Polish spy — claim a stake in the mystery. It’s a fun party, but Gruber should have drastically pruned the guest list. B

The Book of Air and Shadows

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The Book of Air and Shadows

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