FRAILITIES by Nancy Geyer

FRAILITIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A slimy sludge of blackmail and murder, set into motion by a power-mad theater director, wreaks havoc within a particularly vulnerable few in a Houston, Texas, upper-middle social set--and within the life of the villain's nice, patient and, it would seem, overly trusting wife. Handsome Lance Benson, 46, on the crest of success in little theater, has a power-drive of savage proportions. Artist wife Zoe, 36, whose bright spirit seems to have dimmed since marriage to Lance, has no idea how savage. Lance, for whom Zoe was merely a means to social status, is looking for Big Money. . .and it's sexy, little, aspiring actress Sandy who is to help him on his way. Dangling divorce from Zoe and marriage before worshipful Sandy, Lance is soon pimping her for glorious profit. A parade of lustful victims are lured into Sandy's bed in their ""love nest,"" while a camera, unseen, whirs above. Among Sandy's visitors: an elderly tycoon on one last fling; an alcoholic on the verge of divorce; a husband put off by his wife's breast surgery; a grieving mother who's lost her only child and who is also a closet lesbian; and a prize nerd whose formidable mother heads their antique business. While Sandy--her gum parked on the bedstead--dutifully if grudgingly performs, Lance begins to spread around blackmail photos and sweep in the take. But revenge is in the air. Before the final violent escape, there'll be a nasty murder; a suicide; a mid-coital demise; threats (in notes with a Shakespearean twist) of live snakes and deadly firearms; canny plotting by the nerd's mother; and hours of terror for Zoe. And oh, yes, there's also a bit of healthy new love interest here and there. Although the pace seems too leisurely and the incidents too packed for the necessary compression of a thriller, this nasty killer tale, by the author of Flying South (1982), does have its satisfyingly deadly moments.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1985
Publisher: Little, Brown