THE DEEP END by Joy Fielding


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By the author of Kiss Mommy Goodbye (1981) and later soapy novels dealing with Death Wish-style vengeance and a marital breakup, a domestic horror tale about a killer-stalked housewife who's also in mid-moon about a straying husband. Joanne Hunter, mother of young teens Lulu and Robin, has just been given the heave-ho by husband Paul, who after 20 years of marriage and hiring a company to build a swimming pool in the backyard, is moving out. He's, well, ""not happy."" Joanne tells her troubles to best friend and next-door neighbor, Eve, wife of policeman Brian. But fink-out Paul is not Joanne's only problem. There's terror on the telephone as Joanne begins hearing sinister silences and then some grim messages growled out in a man's (or woman's?) voice; and it soon becomes obvious to Joanne that someone the newspapers call the ""Suburban Stranger"" is on his way. The police want more evidence, and so does Eve, who hints that Joanne all alone (the kids are at camp) may be imagining things. There are locks, alarms and a new phone number, but the Voice still gets through--even at Joanne's new job as a doctor's receptionist. Among the suspects: the oddly silent pool man? the handsome tennis pro Joanne couldn't go all the way with? one of the doctor's patients? And what about Eve, who's getting stranger and stranger? And why hasn't policeman Brian come through? Between phone rings, Joanne visits her dying grandfather; deals with Robin's unsuitable boyfriend when the girls are home; and spots Paul at a theater with a dish. Then, at last, a knife flashes by the pool. . .The identity of the mystery phoner is an entertaining surprise, but the marital mess is slack and predictable. However, as a sudsy Phyllis Whitney, this may do well.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday