THE STARK TRUTH by Peter Freeborn


Email this review


A pseudonymous black-widow novel whose glitzy trappings--old money, greed, murder, incest--can't quite hide its mean spirit and lack of genuine originality. The author is ""a published novelist living in the New York area."" Stark ""Tommy"" Thompson III is the 41-year-old WASP who's lured into the web spun by Jewish femme fatale Kitty Goldmark, sister of Tommy's colleague Teddy. When Tommy--a Wall St. lawyer who barely gets by on a $150,000+ salary--meets Kitty at a party, lust and greed ignite; soon he's hung out a shingle and is making fortunes for rich widows, as well as for himself and Kitty, by using insider info she passes to him. Where does she get it?. She won't say, not even after bludgeoning her too-talkative ex-lover to death and then enticing Tommy to help dispose of the body. But Tommy's too smitten to make a stand, marrying Kitty and filling her in on the vast family fortune he stands to administer if only the current executor, Corcoran ""Corky"" Stark, would retire. Tommy's so smitten, in fact, that he joins the killers' club by drowning old Corky in his pool (""I know what turned my Kitten on. Money""). Happiness comes hard to Tommy, though, because Kitty now tells him that Teddy will blackmail them unless Tommy bails him out of some debts. Which Tommy will, except then (Oct. 19, 1987) the stock market crashes, wiping him out--and do does his private life, as he walks in on Kitty and Teddy doing what brother and sister never should. Enraged, Tommy sets out to kill Kitty, only she does him in first--or does she? Far-fetched and pallidly told, but possibly slick, kinky, and suspenseful enough to make a good film--which may be why film rights have been sold; it certainly isn't for the stock if pungent characters, Tommy's unconvincing descent into evil, or the amorality that curdles throughout.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin