Jack-of-all-genres Greenburg (thriller: Love Kills, 1978; social satire: What Do Women Want, 1982; humor/autobiography:...



Jack-of-all-genres Greenburg (thriller: Love Kills, 1978; social satire: What Do Women Want, 1982; humor/autobiography: Confessions of a Pregnant Father, 1986; etc.) now delivers a lightweight but swift and cinematic (rights already sold to Universal) horror novel about a young couple preyed upon by an ungodly nanny. Greenburg opens with familiar elements: an upwardly mobile couple, Phil and Julie Pressman (he's in advertising, she's a decorator) set up house in Manhattan and birth a baby boy. Rather spoiled, the two find child-rearing more burden than joy and advertise for a nanny to help with the chores. Enter Luci Redman (and the start of the novel's fun), of whom you ""might have described her face as beautiful, except there was something severe and off-putting about it."" Severe indeed; once hired, Luci turns out to be a regular Attila the Nanny, harsh and overbearing, but a whiz with the kid--and inexplicably seductive toward Phil. The rising sexual tension between Phil and Luci steams up the action, as do Phil's failed attempts to check her references (especially since Greenburg intercuts to brief depictions of one of Luci's former employers languishing in a padded cell). Matters deteriorate--Luci finally beds Phil, who dreams that she's a monster in human disguise, and then toys with Julie as well--until Phil insists that Luci leave. She refuses, and the next day, as Julie takes mysteriously ill, Phil at last hears from the asylumed ex-employer, who warns him to get his family away from Luci ""at once."" Panicked, Phil escapes with wife and child to eastern Long Island, where after some well-plotted mayhem and silly revelation, Nanny and Phil duke it out to the predictably upbeat ending. Innocuous and mindless, this candy-cane horror may thrill many even while leaving hard-core occult fans groping for the nearest King novel.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1987