Books by Julia Grice

PRETTY BABIES by Julia Grice
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

An abused Detroit girl with a history of pathological lying realizes her squeaky-clean adoptive father is the worst kind of bad news—but when she finally speaks out, nobody believes her. Really, though, the adoption doesn't sound quite kosher in the first place: the Lockwoods—Korean War historian Bonner, campaigning hard for dean of Madisonia College, and his pregnant wife, Maureen, who is a Caldecott-nominated children's author- -opening their suburban home to Dani McVie, a coke-head hooker's 13-year-old daughter. Even Vivian Clavell, Dani's caseworker, thinks the match is too good to be true. When Dani starts to notice that Bonner takes his young nieces off for some uncomfortable private sessions; when he starts leaving his locked study to spend extra time with her; when he touches her in ways that make her flash-back to life on the streets with her mother, Fay; and when he even acts suspiciously with his baby daughter, Whitney—well, even Dani doesn't believe the evidence at first. Her tutor recoils, as does Maureen, at the very suggestion: ``He had published two books and uncounted numbers of professional articles,'' unlike ``dirty old men in stained raincoats.'' So Dani, not knowing that Vivian is on the way to help, grabs baby Whitney and takes off in the middle of the party celebrating Bonner's deanship. She heads for a 14- year-old buddy exiled to a military school for getting on his father's nerves, but she runs instead right into Fay, who's come to spirit her off to Detroit on behalf of her menacing pimp. Since the plot is nothing more than an excuse for keeping the principals out of each others' way until the climax, there's nothing to do but watch everybody let Dani down—because of disbelief, lack of authority, or geographical distance—until Grice (The Cutting Hours, 1993) mercifully brings down the curtain. Read full book review >
THE CUTTING HOURS by Julia Grice
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Dec. 1, 1993

Every mother's nightmare comes to life in this Psycho Comix tale of the knife-wielding misfit who gets fatally stuck on a suburban Michigan mother and daughter. Grice is also the author of Suspicion (1992—not reviewed). When Mickey McGee was her student in a sculpture class last year, Shay Wyoming noticed right away how precocious his work was—and how angry. Now Mickey's buzzing his Harley past her house every night, entrancing her budding daughter Kelly (``everyone said Kelly and Shay could be sisters''), who responds by doing a striptease in her bedroom window. Before long, Mickey's gone on to stalking Kelly through the local mall, riding his bike through Shay's studio, and trashing the place while they're off visiting Shay's sister in Connecticut, and even Kelly (``this was the most exciting and scary thing that had ever happened to her'') is ready to write this guy off. Too late: Mickey waits until Shay's off at a party—whose guests include Elmore Leonard, Loren D. Estleman, and fellow mystery writer Ben Lyte, Shay's patient man—and breaks into Shay's house, murdering the superfluous babysitter and dragging off Kelly on a hellbent murder spree as he races to get revenge on everybody in his bad books, from his whiny art teacher to his massively abusive father, before the suicidal confrontation with the police he's been engineering since his childhood. But Shay, engorged with powerful maternal love (``she loved her children so much. She really did'') and determined to set up a kinder, gentler showdown ahead of the planned police bloodbath, dopes out Mickey's most likely destination and waits there with the Tupperware pot of therapeutic clay that will reach the boy's alienated good side. Just about every clichÇ you need for a healthy day's supply of momma pulp. Read full book review >