A MAN'S GAME by Newton Thornburg

A MAN'S GAME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Seattle dad goes deep in the hole to protect his daughter against the creep who's stalking her in this gripping, unconvincing suspenser. Jimbo Slade is every woman's worst nightmare--a part-time dealer and male prostitute who's been released after his previous arrest for assault only because the police lab lost samples taken from the victim. Now his attentions have fastened on sweet, shy Kathy Baird. Jimbo's oblique threats to Kathy aren't enough for an arrest warrant, but they're enough for a restraining order--which he sedulously complies with by stalking her from 101 feet away and breaking into her family's house to steal some photos of her and vandalize her teddy bear. What's a father to do? When Jack Baird confronts Slade, he's amazed to hear the stalker suggest they have a few drinks together and shoot the breeze so that Baird will see that Slade's not the kind of guy Kathy thinks he is. But if Slade's suggestion is unbelievable, it pales beside Baird's reaction a few days later: He takes Slade up on his offer, telling Slade first that if he gets to know Baird as a friend, he'll leave his daughter alone, but then pretending to confess that he's always wondered about the unbridled fantasies of sexual humiliation Slade's living out. This cat-and-mouse game of Thornburg's (The Lion at the Door, 1990, etc.)--Baird planning to catch Slade in the act and turn him in, Slade going along with him until he can kill him--may seem to be the heart of the novel, but it's only one more stage in a story that will embroil Baird, tired of his cool, handsome wife, with an attractive police detective before dragging him through the section of hell reserved for loving fathers. An offbeat mixture of psycho-stalking and midlife crisis that's most likely to appeal to fans of the late Patricia Highsmith--though they'll miss her gift for making improbable twists seem inevitable.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Forge/Tor