THE LAST GOOD NIGHT by Emily Listfield


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 The revelation of a nasty, melodramatic secret brings disgrace, danger, and redemption to a glamorous but self-absorbed TV news-anchor, in the fifth and most commercial novel yet from Listfield (Acts of Love, 1994, etc.). Even if Laura Barnett's cool, blond, telegenic beauty is mostly due to plastic surgery, her decade of ambitious, small-town newscasting triumphs have blessed her with the coveted job of co-anchoring the national news. Add to this her perfectly dedicated academic husband David, her infant daughter Sophie, a tony Manhattan apartment, a nanny she can trust, and a salary large enough to make designer dresses a wiggle instead of a stretch, and it's a wonder that Barnett has a gripe. But whine she does: about no one appreciating her talent, hollowness of fame, and the tension of dealing with a glossy public image that she can't control. Then who should show up among her throng of stage-door admirers but the annoying Jack Pierce--a bony twerp in a seersucker suit who took the fall for what may have been a murder committed in self-defense by Barnett when she had a different face, different looks, and a different name. After pestering Barnett, he vanishes at about the same time as Barnett's daughter. Barnett's career comes tumbling down as the kidnapping compels her to confess her trashy past to her husband, her boss, the cops, and a vapid Vanity Fair reporter. Such reckless truth-telling brings on a predictable but unconvincing redemption, followed by a violent confrontation with Pierce, though it's not clear at the end if Listfield's feckless heroine hasn't swapped one delusion for another. ``I'm damaged goods,'' she snaps sarcastically to her fatuous, Dan Ratherish co-anchor Quinn Hartley. ``The best I can hope for is a shot on Oprah.'' Smoothly told, realistically detailed cautionary tale buried in a frothy view of female yuppie wish fulfillment, roman Ö clef media gossip, and soap-opera morality.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-316-54091-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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