A second (The Cardboard Giants) novel again explores and exploits sick minds, and if less violent, is still a pretty bedraggled account of the deterioration of a man and a marriage. Peter Kovac, a second generation medical student, is by no means averse to marrying Rita when she becomes pregnant, but their first few happy months together end with the birth of the baby she does not want and neglects. Childish and querulous, Rita submerges herself in liquor: Peter gives up his studies so that he can spend more time with her- and the baby, Carole: her increasing intimacy with an old school friend ends in an ugly revelation of perversion; and she is finally responsible for Carole's death. Meanwhile Peter, having nothing left to give meaning to his life- and needing money to support his parents, puts his medical knowledge to use in a draft dodge racket, and even commits an abortion. And so, with Rita's suicide, although he can easily escape suspicion, he assumes the responsibility for her death to stone for his own corruption... New England, a small town outside of Boston- does little to lend a steadying influence here.