SLIVER by Ira *Levin
Kirkus Star


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Levin's first novel in 15 years is a nervy psychothriller--and a bit of a disappointment, twisty and slick as a shoot-the-chute but with none of the innovative imaginings of his landmark thrillers Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys from Brazil. In fact, this is Levin's first novel since his very first (A Kiss Before Dying, 1953) that doesn't build upon an occult or futuristic premise, and it apes that thriller by featuring a seductive, psychopathic multiple murderer. The identity of the killer is the novel's first surprise, revealed a third of the way in, after Levin sets the stage by having heroine Kay Norris, a 39-year-old book-editor, move into a needle-narrow apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side--the sliver of the title, its architecture reflected in Levin's stiletto-staccato prose and in the slices-of-life that the villain peeps at through the hidden videocameras he's had wired into nearly every room of the building, unbeknownst to his fellow tenants. Within chapters festooned with glitz (lunch at the Four Seasons, workouts at the Vertical Club), Kay and the killer fall in love; in a wild plot spin, he confesses his voyeurism to her and slowly seduces her into watching--soon, addictively--his video monitors with him. That is, until Kay figures out that the several bizarre deaths that have given the building the nickname of "Horror Highrise" might be his doing, and that his attraction to her because she's a double for his dead mother (an unnecessary but pervasive subplot) might indicate a deeper psychological disturbance. Once he knows that she knows, the novel shifts into a cliffhanger, almost literally, with Kay dangling from a 20th-floor window during a snowstorm as the killer picks at her fingers. . . . Tight and fast and fun, but all surface with micron-thin characters skidding across a glaze of urban terror. It'll sell through the roof.

ISBN: 553-07292-7
Publisher: Bantam
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