THE CRUEL MOTHER by Janet LaPierre
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Vince Gutierrez, police chief of Port Silva, California, and his widowed teacher girlfriend Meg Halloran (Children's Games, etc.) are vacation-bound, in van and camper, for a rustic Idaho retreat, their enthusiam slightly dimmer by the unplanned company of Vince's rebellious, foulmouthed teen-age niece Cass. Also on the Idaho highway is Maureen Tannebaum, known locally at the women's shelter she runs as Elizabeth Brody, with her small daughter Tessa and longtime friend, sometime lover, lawyer Ben Taylor. Ben has persuaded Maureen to visit her dying husband Michael, an icon of the 60's in California, where a serious criminal charge is still a threat to her. It seems that a huge fortune is at stake: Michael, one-time hero of the hippie generation, is heir to his father's millions. Meanwhile, the road accident that fleetingly brings these travellers together sends Vinee flying back to Port Silva with a broken collarbone. Meg and Cass, uninjured, left to drive the van home, are suddenly faced with a seemingly irrational menace that seals them off from the world--and stretches Meg's considerable fortitude to the breaking point. Her nerve and ingenuity pay off, just as Vince's agonized search comes to an end. There are wheels-within-wheels in the cunning plot, along with a wide spectrum of offbeat characters and shifting locales to keep things moving. A gripping story.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1990
Publisher: Scribners