A bright spot in Tessier's overall dim record of lurid and clichÉd occult/psycho horror novels (The Nightwalker, 1980;...



A bright spot in Tessier's overall dim record of lurid and clichÉd occult/psycho horror novels (The Nightwalker, 1980; Phantom, 1982; Finishing Touches, 1986; etc.), this is a well-crafted and at times truly scary account of a man's lethal obsession for an old flame. The psycho here is 40-ish Jeff Lisker, a successful California entrepreneur who flies to his Connecticut hometown to attend his dad's funeral. At first, Jeff's weirdness manifests itself in small doses--he spends the flight east thinking not of Dad but of old high-school crush Georgianne--then, deciding to look up Georgianne, he acts odder still, following her in his car, contriving to bump into her. She's thrilled to see her old pal and invites him to dinner with staid husband Sean and sexy daughter Bonnie. Mistaking friendliness for love, Jeff determines to take Georgianne away from Sean--which he does with a vengeance several months later by returning East and shooting Sean dead. Now Jeff begins to effect his ""grand scenario"": he plays the loyal friend, first showing up to help Georgianne through her time of mourning, then, back in California, calling her several times a week. But Georgianne fails to respond to his overtures and, after he confesses his love for her, drops him. Desperate, Jeff flies to Cambridge, Mass., where he tracks down Bonnie--now at Harvard--hoping to use her as a lever into Georgianne's heart. But in a shocking twist, Bonnie seduces Jeff and later, on a beach (in an extraordinarily tense scene) realizes that he killed her father--so Jeff kills her too. Once again playing the loyal pal, Jeff recontacts Georgianne, leading to the long-awaited tryst. But like her daughter, Georgianne finally pegs Jeff as the killer--setting up a fiery if not quite satisfying climax. Tessier manages to sustain reader sympathy for Jeff while plunging him further into homicidal madness: no mean feat, and one that adds dimension to this in any case slick and engrossing novel.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1987