THE ULTIMATE GAME by Ralph Glendinning


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Implausible, lurid sado-melodrama in Connecticut--with all of Lawrence Sanders' gory vulgarity (and worse) but none of his storytelling talent. The psycho-killer here is ""the Man,"" and his first victim is psychiatrist David Orton, killed with a karate chop, then dissected in his tub. The second victim is blown up in his car by a remote control bomb. The third, retired double-Oscar winner Hetty Starr, is bitten by a rattlesnake. A judge is next, zapped by curare and a jeweler's wire in his toothpaste. The Man, you see, gets his messages to Kill while fantasizing to Sinatra or Oscar Peterson on his stereo (he's also a sexual athlete with a wife and three sometimes lesbian girlfriends), and he's out to be the king of mass murder: ""Jack the Ripper. Bluebeard. Lizzie Borden. Manson. Not a great in the group. Psychopaths all! Mental freaks!"" But ranged against him is ruggedly handsome Police Chief Jim Dempsey, a yachtsman with a luxurious office. And the Man keeps sending Dempsey poems full of clues; one morning he even grenades the Chief's car for fun, freaking out the Chief's daughter. Then Rev. Paul Fredericks is tied and icepicked to a wooden cross on his altar; a dowager gets rat poison on her cheese and crackers; a news announcer is electrocuted on camera via his throat mike (while interviewing the Chief); etc.--ad nauseam. Each death has its nugget of police work and subsidiary folks, with false clues pointing to the identity of the Man. But the real psycho--whose warped past and erotic fantasies bear heavy resemblances to those of the Chief himself--will not be revealed until the end, with coincidence and pseudo-psychological inanity triumphant. Tedious claptrap for kill-hungry bloodlusters only.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster