PATCHWORK by Carolyn Banks


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More unpleasant people and sluggish plotting from the author of Mr. Right, The Darkroom, and The Girls on the Row--who hits rock bottom with this latest, thinnest serving of psycho-killer suspense. Rachel Cassidy, 39, who recently moved to Austin, Texas, has told her new friends--heiress Peyton and lover Zachary--that she's an ex-nun with a gift for patchwork and quilting. But Rachel is really the bitter ex-wife of Galveston talk-show host Rob Cassidy (who deserted her long ago) and the guilt-ridden mother of disturbed 19-year-old son Drew, whom she placed in a psychiatric halfway house a couple of years back. So, when Rachel learns that ex-husband Rob has been gruesomely murered, she's convinced (for no good reason) that weird, vengeful Drew is the killer and that he's on his way to kill her too: she spends the first two-thirds of this static novel trembling with fear over Drew's imminent arrival (""Drew's coming, run, run, run, he's here,"" etc., ad nauseum)--while offering relentless flashbacks to her miserable life as abused wife and crazed mother. Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, Drew himself, with a nameless new girlfriend in tow, is indeed on his way to confront Rachel. But, though Drew is churning with his own ugly flashbacks and unkind thoughts (""Fix you fucking Rachel mother bitch""), he's not the killer his mom thinks he is--as anyone familiar with this genre will guess from the very start. And so, after the tedious cat-and-mouse buildup leads to a limp, noisy Rachel/Drew showdown, the real psycho-killer (ludicrously motivated) takes Rachel hostage, torturing her and nearly killing her with cobras. . .before Drew comes to the rescue in a hollow imitation of an upbeat ending. Exploitation psychodrama of the most shallow and inept variety.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1986
Publisher: Crown