BAD DESIRE by Gary Devon


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And very bad behavior, as a 43-year-old mayor kills and kills again to hold on to the 17-year-old cheerleader he covets. Sound far-fetched? It is--but Devon (Lost, 1986), a stylish writer, almost pulls it off. Dynamic Henry Slater, mayor of the small California town of Rio Del Palmos, can't get enough of Sheila Bonnet, whom he's watched grow from a skinny kid into ""a magnificent-looking ash blonde."" Wide-eyed Sheila dotes on Henry's secret presents and kisses, but her guardian/grandmother Rachel is about to blow the whistle--which is why Henry's hired a hit-man to snuff out the old lady. When the killer dies during a freak storm, Henry, burning with hate and lust, takes matters--and Rachel's garden shears--into his own hands, slashing the old woman to death, hoping to pin the killing on a group of cons just escaped from an asylum for the criminally insane; but during his blood frenzy, he loses the diamond from his ring, That small gem will block his road to happiness, as its eventual discovery at the murder scene detours the town's police chief, Reeves, and then Henry's horrified wife, Faith, onto his rotten trail; it also sets the narrative down a contrived garden path in which Henry, learning that one of the escaped cons is a mad bomber, unbelievably sets off bombs all over town in order to misdirect Reeves. Meanwhile, there's grieving Sheila to comfort, which Henry does with smarmy style, bedding the girl time and again at his hideaway house. Soon enough, though, wife Faith is spying on the lovers through a window, and Reeves is mentally fitting Henry for prison stripes. Desperate, Henry shotguns Reeves and considers bombing Faith; but he can't kill all who suspect him--can he? Henry's mutation from respectable mayor into homicidal maniac just doesn't wash; but most psychological-thriller fans will still enjoy Devon's erotically charged writing, jammed with audacious--if not wholly involving--suspense sequences and plot twists.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1990
Publisher: Random House