THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE by Kim Wozencraft


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Victimized exotic dancer seeks payback through stripping.

In Kit Metcalf’s mind, it goes like this: When she writhes, wriggles and wraps herself erotically around a pole, tantalizing the covey of slavering males safely caged in their reinforced-glass spectator booths, it’s a form of vengeance, the stuff of power. “She could make them feel, if not exactly as she had that night—the night that would not go away—at least something of the way she had felt. . . . She could make them helpless.” Kit can certainly do drama queen with the best of them, but her occasional scenery-chewing here seems justified by the explosive subject matter. It’s not just the brutality of that long-ago rape that has Kit smoldering. Something even more hurtful lurks relentlessly among her memories of childhood. What’s most insidiously disturbing and traumatizing about it is that it’s something she can’t be sure actually happened; Kit’s subconscious is first-rate at keeping secrets. Real or chimerical, a pervasive ugliness has poisoned her mind, jaundiced the way she views her family and the world around her and sent her in desperation to psychiatrist Emily Wolfe’s couch—a place somebody obviously doesn’t want her to be. Wolfe’s office is ransacked, Kit’s file stolen, the psychiatrist herself is attacked and seriously hurt. Is it a ruthless intent to end this particular doctor-patient relationship? Why? What is it that must remain buried? What does the murder of Kit’s sister have to do with it? These questions, disturbing enough, are nothing to the answers that, when they come, will leave Kit shattered and perhaps permanently scarred.

A deftly plotted, briskly paced psychological thriller: solid storytelling in the dependable Wozencraft manner (Wanted, 2004, etc.).

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 2006
ISBN: 0-312-29063-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2006


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