PAINTED LADIES by James Neal Harvey


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Somebody--evidently a poised businesswoman named Bobbie--is killing and body-painting present and former employees of Panache, a high-end call-girl network owned by Martha Bellamy, another poised businesswoman with great lingerie. Enter scruffy NYPD Lt. Ben Tolliver, a media star since his investigation of a remarkably similar series of sex killings (By Reason of Insanity, 1990), destined to pull the plug on Bobbie before she can pull the plug on Patty, his exotic-dancer girlfriend. The details of running Panache are right out of Mayflower Madam; the dead-end subplots--the first victim is the daughter of a well-fixed-businessman who doesn't want an investigation; Bellamy and Panache's clients bridle at going public; Ben shoots a mugger who's made into a political martyr--are ludicrous; and Bobbie's background and motivation don't carry the slightest weight or menace. The real inventiveness of the book is in its detailed accounts of sex murders and mutilations. If that's your pleasure, you've hit pay dirt with this one.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1992
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: St. Martin's