THE SUITING by Kelley Wilde


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A haunted three-piece suit? That's the cloth from which Wilde cuts her ragged, bargain-basement first novel. Wilde pins up this silliness in a style that's all seams, wrinkles, and loose threads. For example, there's the long prologue, where--as slick Montreal debt-welcher Jean Paul Bouchette runs for his life from vengeful Derek Cole and his baseball bat--an unnamed spirit gives him advice on self-defense: ""'Bouchette. . .' Cole poked him with the tip of the other bat. 'Come on, sit up.' (Jean Paul, it's coming. . .Hurry. . .) Ecoutez. . . 'Bouchette. . .' Cole stood, ready to swing. . .1880. . .1880."" Cote collects on his debt with a home-run to Bouchette's head, but the chatty spirit lives on--in equally confusing fashion--in Bouchette's new suit, snatched from bus-locker storage by Toronto tourist Victor Frankl. Victor's the kind of nerd who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach, but once he tries on the too-large suit, he becomes obsessed with growing muscles until the suit fits him like a second skin. As Victor pumps iron at a Toronto gym, his interests in collecting coins and in a gay friend drop off, supplanted by a keen eye for sleek clothes and the ladies. At the same time, he's mysteriously drawn back time and again to old Montreal. Eventually, he is transformed into a yuppie Frankenstein who beds a bevy of women, connives his way up the corporate ladder, and finally murders in a fit of rage--the spitting image, in fact, of Bouchette himself. All this has something to do with an ancient curse suffered by the Bouchettes, and that curse's transference to Victor via the suit; and since all curses need a victim, and all fairy tales a moral, Victor finally gets his comeuppance--beneath the wheels of a railroad train. At book's end, Wilde provides a glossary to the French slang she sprinkles throughout--and there's more entertainment to be gleaned there than in the rest of her choppy, tediously unhorrific tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1988
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's