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 An evil babysitter, a spoiled suburban princess, a kidnapping, a Wall Street blackmailing scheme--all fail to come together in this melodrama from pseudonymous newcomer Frye. Georgia Coffey once worked for a magazine in New York, but soon after marrying Wall Street maneuverer Lawrence Elgin Coffey, a.k.a. ``The Bear,'' she retired to their beautiful Victorian-style home in St. George, New Jersey, to give birth to a son and vegetate. Now pregnant again, Georgia is going out of her mind with no one but five-year-old Justin to talk to, and she can't believe her luck when beautiful, blond, 21-year-old Harriet Major answers her ad in the local paper for a sitter. Georgia quickly hires Harriet--and neglects to check the young woman's references in her hurry both to regain her freedom and revel in the gentle massages and sisterly conversation that Harriet provides free of charge. But there's a catch, of course: The babysitter is in the thrall of a sadistic lover three times her age whose own illegal but potentially profitable Wall Street dealings may be unintentionally stymied by Justin's father. To shut Larry up, Harriet's anonymous lover instructs her to kidnap the Coffeys' child. Suspense grows satisfactorily as Justin disappears and Larry realizes he must fight the big guys to win back his son, then falters miserably on the domestic scene as spoiled Georgia weeps helplessly from the comfort of her bed. In fact, none of the characters, from Georgia to superficial, workaholic Larry to spaced-out Harriet to whiny, lisping Justin, are easy to like--and readers are likely to sigh when, at the end, it seems that everyone gets what he or she deserves. A blatant bid to grab market shares from both The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The Firm, but lacking sufficient talent.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84792-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993