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In his previous thrillers (The Reaping, The Moorstone Sickness), Taylor deftly lured his unsuspecting characters into the English countryside to be stalked by the forces of darkness. In this new novel, he charts out a similar course minus the usual occult trimmings. The result? A banal and rather predictable genre piece about a psycho stalking a Hollywood ing‚nue. Sheena Preston abandons her promising film career for an art college in London. She eschews publicity and tries to pursue her studies as well as her budding romance with an advertising exec named Inn. But the relative calm of her staid lifestyle is interrupted when she unexpectedly receives tickets to several theatrical events from an anonymous admirer. At first she makes no connection between the oddly threatening tone of the letters which accompany the tickets and the incidents which subsequently occur. Sheena vaguely suspects that someone has been shadowing her. Then a fellow student has his tires slashed, when, against the instructions in one of the letters, he escorts her to the ballet. Later, a young woman who has publicly insulted Sheena is found brutally murdered. The incidents snowball, but unbelievably she still does not feel threatened enough to call the police. When the killer fears Sheena will leave England to tend to her distraught mother, he kills the mother, but her death amuses little suspicion because it appears to be accidental. After the death of her mother, Sheena resolves to leave England and return to her film career. It's then that the killer decides to confront her, and in doing so precipitates his own demise. Consummately dull, the story leaves the heroine unmenaced and, like the reader, totally unaware of any clues leading up to the killer's identity. With neither terror nor mounting suspense, The Kindness of Strangers lies dead in the water.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's