PerceptiblesnLarry R. Williams: How to Prospernin the Coming GOODnYears; Rcgnery Gateway; Chicago.nBooks of investment advicenfor the general public are writtennas much to entertain as to inform.nMr. Williams’s book and othersnof its genre cater to a sort ofnfinancial voyeurism by instructingnreaders in the intricacies ofnlucrative investment schemes—nbut few readers are likely to haventhe capital and the informationnto take advantage of them.nMr. Williams is a professionalncommodity trader and investmentnadvisor, and the sound introductionnhe provides tontechnical analysis of price movementsnin the securities and commoditiesnmarkets is the strongestnpart of his book. One could notnexpect to trade securities profitablynusing only the simplendecision rules Williams presentsnhere, but his frequent referencesnto more advanced studies providena useful guide even fornfinancially unsophisticatednreaders.nWilliams’s discussions of realnestate, lending transactions andnentertainment investing arenstudded with enjoyable anecdotesnabout investors whonmanaged to make enormousnprofits, but the scale and complexitynof most of the projects hendescribes place them beyond thenreach of small investors. Thenreader finishes the book feelingnperhaps more optimistic aboutnthe possibilities for profitable investmentnand for economicngrowth in general, but he isnscarcely better equipped tonengage in these sorts of transactionsnthan when he started.nWilliams’s background as antechnical analyst helps him tonavoid the worst excesses of somenconservative writers and com­nmentators, who often seem tonsuggest that the application ofnthe economic policies of thenReagan administration is sufficientnfor prosperity and profitableninvesting over the nextndecade. The central theme ofntwo decades of conservativenscholarship is that governmentnattempts to regulate economicnactivity, whether through rentncontrols, minimum-wage laws,nhealth and safety rules or formalnrate regulation, are at bestnwasteful and at worst counterproductive.nIt is a mystery why any conservativenwould expect a governmentnapparatus unable tonintervene sensibly in invidualnmarkets to be able to effectivelynoversee the activities of the entireneconomy, merely because anGratuitous NihilismnMadison Jones: Season of thenStrangler; Doubleday & Co.; NewnYork.nThe dustcover of MadisonnJones’s Season promises thenreader “a stunning novel of fearnand revelation—a novel thatncharts the misguided, oftenntragic striving of the human soulnfor completion.” The reader willnfind something less within thencover. Jones’s book does aim atnsignificantly more than thencheap mystery-thriller its titlenseems to suggest: he never evennreveals the identity of thenStrangler. For his purposes, itndoes not matter. What doesnmatter is the ambiance of terrornand death which the Strangler’snfive murders create within thentwelve short stories (the book isnno novel) in which Jones examinesnthe lives of twelve ofnOkaloosa’s inhabitants duringnthe summer in which thenStrangler commits his murders.nIn his stories, Jones creates diverse—black,nwhite, rich, poornnew tribe of politicos occupiesnthe highest offices. Some evennsuspect that the notion thatngovernments can manage theneconomy at all is nothing but angigantic imposture by macroeconomists,nwho are often seennon the same level of intellectualnrespectability as palmists, phrenologistsnand sociologists. Mr.nWilliams and his attentivenfollowers will probably fare wellnin the marketplace, as their politicallyninspired optimism isnsupported and tempered by attentionnto technical analysis. Investorsnwho allow their enthusiasmnfor the present administrationnto overwhelm their awarenessnof the inherent difficultiesnof directing the economy maynsuffer unpleasant and costly surprises.n(GDA) Dn—characters: his claim to be an”serious craftsman” will surviventhe removal of the dustcovernwhich so styles him.nWhat is wrong with Jones’snbook derives from a failure of vision.nThe dustcover promises ofn”stunning fear and revelation”ncannot be fulfilled becausenJones’s essentially nihilistic visionnpermits no revelation—andnfinally no fear. His characters—anworldly old doctor, a derangednminister, a henpecked shoenWASTE OF MONEYnsalesman, an aging blacknlaborer, an adulterous housewife—allnbegin their respectivenstories in worlds of fear. In particular,nall fear the meaninglessnessnwhich seems to be ineluctablynenveloping them. Like thenold man in Jones’s first story, allnof the characters feel “vaguelynalarmed” by the seemingly indifferentnand confusing worldnwhich presses in on them. In differentnways—sexual adventurism,npublic generosity, racialnhatred, profession of faith—nthey all try to break out of theirnsolitary and petty worlds intonsomething larger. In the end,nthough, meaninglessness wins.nNeither vicarious psychopathy,nnor sexual intrigues, nor ferventnexpressions of faith can forestallnthe collapse. Jones seems indeednto have abandoned the typicalnthriller plot formula only to substitutena nihilistic one which is sonpredictable that it ends in caricatures.nIf, in a moment of lucidnself-examination, Jones’s charactersndiscover how empty andntrivial their lives are, theynpromptly make them morenempty and trivial by doingnsomething deranged or foolish.nUnlike real human beings whonmake genuine choices betweenngood and evil, his characters arenmerely puppets in open conflictnwith dustcover promises of anportrayal of “the tragic strivingsnof the human soul for completion.n”(BC) DnWar and Peace for the KidsnC.W. Schmidt: Marta; Suter;nSanta Cruz, California.nEntertainment-seeking adolescentsnwill probably find thisnnovel satisfactory. Set in WorldnWar II Europe, the action is fast-nnnpaced and crisply narrated. Itsncentral romance between thenJewish heroine Marta and thenLuftwaffe pilot Hans is of thenschmaltzy sort. The emotionalnand ideological conflicts are allnneatly defined and reassuringlyn^mmmmA^nOctober 1983n