Best-selling author Maggie Edwards has recently finished writing a new book, but it’s not the one she promised her editor and publisher, who want to serialize it in their new weekly magazine, Femme. A mysterious caller named Diana has forced her to write about a woman, also named Diana, who takes vengeance on male rapists by killing them and cutting off their genitals. When the New York Portal publishes the first chapter without his approval, the publisher threatens to sue, but he changes his mind when a real, copycat Diana starts delivering bodies, creating a media frenzy. Who is this Diana, and what does she really want? Maggie’s lawyer, Jane, becomes a friend and then more to Maggie as the phone harassment continues, egging Maggie on to write new chapters about Diana and her horrific rape by two men. Diana gains the sympathy of women until the Eumenides, a radical feminist group, begins to emulate her, dressing alike and attacking and killing sexist males. As their relationship deepens, Jane discovers that Maggie has a secret, one she promises to reveal. The action moves from crime scene to courtroom to bedroom, but when a gang rape leads to a violent confrontation between police and the Eumenides, Maggie has to wrestle with her own past to reach a decision. The veteran writing team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks (Things Are Not What They Seem, 2014, etc.) delivers a complex, topical thriller. Though the violence is indeed ghastly, memorable characters bring diversity and depth to the story. There are a few quite moving passages, and there is a palpable sense of loss on several levels. There are also bumps: The use of different points of view is effective but sometimes confusing. Some of the internal dialogue comes off as stilted and repetitive. And more detail is needed about how “Diana” gets her information.
A suspenseful tale of violence and loss.