Time was, a novelist's first hard-cover meant a book superior to his paperback grunt-work. Not so with Bourgeau, whose...

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THE SEDUCTION

Time was, a novelist's first hard-cover meant a book superior to his paperback grunt-work. Not so with Bourgeau, whose competent mass-market mysteries (The Elvis Murders, etc.) find faint echo in this psychosexual swill about a rapist/killer terrorizing Philadelphia. Who's the nut who handcuffs, rapes, and then strangles teen-ager Terri DiFranco in the opening scene of this tasteless novel? For sure, it's a bearded ""Peter"" who toots around in a silver Datsun: that much, Borgeau shows up-front. But who, really, is Peter, slayer of several before Terri? Bland homicide dick George Sloan wonders; so does Globe society-reporter Laura Ramsey, when she's not busy fencing with coke-sniffing socialite/scientist Missy Wakefield or divorcÉe Cynthia Ducroit over the love of Cynthia's ex--dashing real-estate developer Felix Ducroit. Maybe Felix is Peter--who meanwhile rape-murders Terri's best pal, Marie; after all, Felix is an ex-con, bearded like Peter. and when Laura--sex-shy because of a recent mastectomy--turns down his advances, Felix shoots her ""a look that could kill."" But no, Peter's not Felix after all. Peter is--well, never mind; in unmasking the killer two-thirds into the tale, Bourgeau serves up his only surprise. The remainder is patent beat-the-clock-to-save-the-heroine filler, rounded out with: one more particularly nasty killing (and oral rape by gun); motivation mired in child abuse; and the killer's obsession for a Barbie doll owned in youth, when the killer would ""take off all of Barbie's clothes and then press her against a hot lightbulb, softly talking to her all the while, trying to get her to see the error of her ways. Barbie was stubborn, parts of her would blacken from the pain and the heat, but even that didn't help. She was still bad."" Crude, sadistic, obvious trash; nice Philadelphia scenery, though.

Pub Date: March 29, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Donald Fine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988