PAINT HER FACE DEAD by Jane Johnston


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Johnston, author of a crude kiddie-thriller (Pray for Ricky Foster, 1985), shows little more style or subtlety in this tinny, shrill murder-mystery--which begins when NYC magazine-writer Louisa Evans, planning an exposÉ, attends a marathon training-session for an ""est""-like movement called SUM. During the session, you see, a manic punkster and would-be photographer named Deirdre Doyle dies of cyanide poisoning--soon after proclaiming that Someone is Trying to Kill Her. Who slipped Deirdre a poisoned tranquilizer pill? Was it someone at the SUM session--or someone Deirdre met during the brief break-time? Louisa, herself a suspect, determines to find out--searching the dead girl's grungy apartment, seeking out the two men in her life: glib, bisexual teacher Harvey Wardleigh; and an elusive young rocker/druggie named Jack. Eventually, after more deadly assaults (including the inevitable subway push), Louisa realizes that Deirdre was killed because of some photos she took. And there's the predictable showdown with the ruthless culprit, who--in the tackiest gothic tradition--Tells All while holding a gun on the plucky heroine. With luridly implausible motivation, feeble romance (Louisa and the SUM trainer), and--despite some trendy trappings--an oddly dated tone: low-grade pulp, with a certain coarse energy.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's