DRAGONFLY by John Farris


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 Farris's latest (Sacrifice, 1994, etc.) opens at a frantic pace, seeming ready to move in two or three different directions, promising action and intrigue, then unexpectedly transforms itself into a sort of southern gothic romance. Dr. Joe Bryce makes his living by seducing and defrauding rich women, using the proceeds to live a carefree life in the Caribbean aboard his yacht. Attractive, likable, and irresistible, he targets only those who seem to ``need'' him and who present something of a challenge. But now he's been tracked down by his latest victim's brutal, vengeful brother and suffered a beating so savage that his face has to be surgically reconstructed. He's also left with no memory of the attack, able to recall only the back-cover photograph on a romance novel being read by a woman (the one who lured him into the trap, but he doesn't remember that). Instead of wanting to exact revenge, however, Joe forms an odd determination to make the romance novelist, Abby Abelard, his own next victim. But the beautiful Abby, left a paraplegic by the long-ago auto accident that killed her fiancÇ, turns out to be a much too easy targetand also a new kind of trapfor the polished predator. The remainder of the story takes place on a steamy, hurricane-threatened South Carolina island where Abby, surrounded by protective relatives and retainers, is using her wealth to rebuild the family mansion while her health deteriorates. Joe, instead of taking his usual role, finds himself cast as the mysterious stranger falling in love with the vulnerable heroine while storm clouds gather, old secrets unravel, and some of the supposed protectors turn out to be anything but. Readers themselves are apt to feel seduced and abandoned when they find that none of the best storylines from the openingor the exciting pacesurvive once the novel passes through the plantation gates. (Literary Guild selection)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-85949-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995


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