LOVE'S BLOOD by Clark Howard


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 Deeply engaging tale of a teenager who may--or may not--have helped kill her parents. This is Clark's 20th work of mystery or true crime (Hard City, 1990, etc.). There's no question that Patricia Ann Columbo, 19, and her longtime sexual-sociopath lover, Frank DeLuca, 37, were involved in the murder of Patti's parents and her brother Michael, 13, in the family's Elk Grove Village, Illinois, home on a bloody spring night in 1976. But as the grisly details gather here, you note that Patti is never actually seen with weapon in hand--and by book's end you're likely to conclude that there's considerable evidence that Patti killed no one. Although she conspired with two men she thought were mob hit men to have her parents and brother killed, it seems that Patti's paranoid boyfriend actually did the deed in a fit of fear and rage that erupted during the perfect moment for a triple murder. Guilt fell first on Patti, who, upon her arrest, claimed to be able to remember that night only as if in a vision- -and, by the close here, it becomes clear how the hysterical teenager, who was in the house but not in the murder rooms, could remember the night of the killings only in a surreal way. Much of Howard's story comes from Patti herself, now 37, whom the author interviewed at length in prison, where she's serving a 200-to-300- year sentence. Howard takes no sides and is a model of evenhanded true-crime writing. Although paced for snails, with invented dialogue and much graphic lovemaking, his narrative keeps a tight grip, especially with Patti's forbidden 15-year-old body--and its ripening--as the emotional focus. A rich mix of sex and blood with eroticism too strong for any Amy Fisher-type TV miniseries--though it's a Drew Barrymore natural. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos--not seen)

Pub Date: April 7th, 1993
ISBN: 0-517-58494-8
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993


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