LIP SERVICE by M.J. Rose

LIP SERVICE

KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut novel, originally self-published last year, by former ad-woman (and Harlequin Romance account exec) Rose, who constructs a psychological thriller out of a sheltered housewife’s sudden immersion in the world of telephone sex. Thanks to Hannibal Lecter, the deranged shrink is now very much in vogue, but Paul Sterling is really more insensitive than malign. The somewhat distant husband of shy Julia Sterling, Paul is a psychiatrist who spends most of his efforts on an organization (Fathers in Trouble—or FIT) that he’s recently started to help deadbeat dads find work and become productive family men. Naturally, much of his time is consumed in fund-raising, and here Julia’s debutante upbringing stands her in good stead as she hosts and charms the various fat wallets of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. One of the couple’s donors is Sam Butterfield, only slightly overweight but very distinctly odd. Sam is also a shrink, and he and his wife run the Butterfield Institute, one of the most prominent sexual research centers in the world. When Sam mentions that much of the Institute’s work is done by “telephone therapists,” Julia asks to be trained for the job. The “telephone therapy” turns out to be phone sex, pure and simple, but Julia finds it to be extremely satisfying—until one of her callers starts bragging about his exploits with his young stepdaughter. Here, Julia comes head-to-head with the true perversity of sexual fantasy: Is what she’s hearing real, and should she intervene? The search for the culprit and the attempt to discover the truth of the case bring far more attention to Julia’s investigations than she ever bargained for. But that’s the price of truth. Corny beyond belief, but amusing nevertheless, Rose’s journey into the shallow waters of modern lust will keep you turning the pages. (Literary Guild alternate selection)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-671-04131-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999




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