BAD KARMA by Andrew Harper


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 Serial killer saga undistinguished by any effort to lift itself out of bat guano. Trey Campbell, a harried psych tech at Darden State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, needs a break and so takes his wife Carly and two kids to Catalina Island for a vacation. While there, Trey's worst patient back at Darden State, who has fallen in love with him and believes that he's her Immortal Beloved, in this case Jack the Ripper, escapes. She is Agnes Hatcher, known as ``the Gorgon,'' a particularly vicious and deranged killer, notorious for her habit of keeping a body part from each of her victims as a souvenir. A murder machine with no feelings other than her infatuation with Trey, Agnes is beyond psychotropic drugs' ability to calm her down; she is kept in a sealed-off room, under restraints, and in a face mask like Hannibal Lecter's. None of this helps, however: She escapes from Darden State and heads for Catalina and Trey as if on a homing beacon, leaving many bodies along the way. Trey, aware of her escape, is fed endless soothing remarks by Carly, who pooh-poohs her husband's justifiable fear. Meanwhile, their two kids, Teresa and Mark, bored stiff by their boy-hungry, wine-drinking babysitter Jenny, take off on their own. Background material includes Trey's guilt for once having shot an intruder in his home, an old man he mistook for an escaped inmate, and Agnes's memories of past lives in which she learned that if she hoped to gain immortality she would have to murder people during each of her incarnations. She should be insured through the third millennium, judging by the body count here. Agnes herself had been kidnapped as a teenager, kept in chains for years, and raped, tortured, and mutilated before murdering her abductor. Now, she falls in with a fellow psychopath who takes her to Catalina, and the Campbell family, in his boat. Junk by the numbers.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-57566-160-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997