IRREPARABLE HARM by Lee Gruenfeld

IRREPARABLE HARM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Psychiatrist Brixton Ferrin attacks his patient Pamela Jacoby's crippling anxiety about men by fixing her up with Mackenzie Graham, another psychiatric patient with a complementary neurosis--he feels unbearable guilt after he was unwittingly conned into killing a man- -only to find the morning after an abortive date sends Pamela into a psychotic episode that Mac has been savagely murdered during the night. Wait, there's more. Pamela, whose revulsion from men (driving her to hours of tastefully detailed masturbation) stems from years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, the late police officer Wild Bill Jacoby, has become a rookie cop herself, even though she hates the job, in order to live out Wild Bill's life and avenge his murder. So naturally the police chief, sensitive Capt. Amanda Grant, who doesn't want to seem any less idiotic than Dr. Ferrin, includes Pamela on the team investigating the murder even though mountains of evidence indicate that she must have killed Mac Graham. But there's also less- -much less--as endless days and chapters slip away, punctuated only by Pamela's suicide attempt and hysterical confession to the crime and the inevitable political firestorm (represented by one thinly imagined visit to Grant by the mayor), while Grant tracks down a screamingly obvious killer and a motive unobscured by any evocation of setting (the entire novel seems to take place on the undifferentiated space of the movie set that first-novelist Gruenfeld maybe yearns for) or memorable supporting characters (apart from the numbingly loyal investigating team and a few expert consultants, there's barely anybody, memorable or not, on call). Overslung and overwrought--with laughably crude sex, a mystery without a clue, and very little suspense.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-446-51713-5
Page count: 400pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993




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