An overwritten tale about a sociopathic beauty who almost destroys an entire family, in a ninth novel from bestselling Nagy (A House in the Hamptons, 1990; Marriage, 1995, etc.).
Mysterious Jasmine Jones is very beautiful and very bad. She’s also entirely unbelievable and too one-dimensional to be really scary, though she certainly tries hard. Narrator John Duckworth, a writer and journalist, begins his story with a request from the NYPD to tell them all he knows about a woman who has been found brutally murdered in a Manhattan apartment with his card close by. John, who lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, is in the city because his sister, Faith, has just killed herself. In a series of flashbacks, John not only recalls his childhood in Newport, Rhode Island, but also explains how the two deaths are connected to the mayhem of the previous summer. Faith, married to tycoon Benjamin, had been congenitally depressed since childhood, when she witnessed her mother slitting her wrists—committing suicide—in the Duckworth mansion. But she finally seemed to have found happiness when, with sister-in-law Sari, she renovated and restored an inn on Cape Cod. Everything changed, however, when black-haired and sensual Jasmine Jones arrived as a guest. At first she charmed them all (and quickly seduced John), but soon bad things began to happen: Pebble, Faith’s daughter, found her puppy brutally beheaded; rats were let loose in the dining room while guests were eating; Andy, Sari’s estranged husband, turned up dead, presumably another suicide but in fact murdered; John’s Irish grandmother was also murdered; and a young girl was killed (another presumed accident) while on her way to deliver documents that an increasingly suspicious John had requested from Las Vegas, where Jasmine once worked under another name. The plot keeps churning away until John learns the truth.
More a script for a made-for-TV movie than a fully developed novel.