MYSTIC LAKES by Damian Musello


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Earnest but unconvincing first novel about two Sixties radicals, one of them a fugitive from the FBI for 15 years. The fugitive is 37-year-old Marion Wilson, living underground since 1970, when she participated in the bombing of a Boston-area bank. Her partner and ex-lover, narrator Derek Anderson, did five years in the slammer, and the next ten establishing his business (mostly bodyguard work for concert performers). Now Marion has returned to Boston, debating whether to turn herself in, while Derek, despite his feeling that she is bad news, is drawn back to his old flame. This is strange, for Marion is one of those hectoring, self-righteous neurotics from whom anybody with gumption would run a mile. ""I am completely committed to equality for all people; men, women, races, colors, creeds,"" she intones. The plot, such as it is, revolves around her purchase of small arms, from Minnesotan Klansmen and for black South African revolutionaries; the FBI intercepts the shipment, though Marion is not caught until later (pulled over for a traffic violation). There is also a subplot involving an idealistic Teamster official (whose disappearance/presumed murder is never resolved) and the corrupt President of his Local, who has trysts with a wealthy widow (""she eats off of bone china, bone china; every night""). All credibility dissolves as the author struggles to fuse his plotlines, by having Derek blackmail the President into springing Marion from a police van. The blackmail succeeds, as does the rescue, but then the bird flies right back into her cage, for Marion has decided she is now ready to deal. Slow, muddled, and dumb.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1987
Publisher: Donald Fine