LIES by Richard Neely


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For a while, it seems as if slimy Neely (last offense--A Madness of the Heart) is doing an open steal from Ira Levin's intense A Kiss Before Dying: Casanova fortune-hunter killer seduces two heiress-sisters in sequence. No such luck. Neely's hyped-up notion is to make you believe that sexy drifter Lee Brewer has indeed murdered prim Jessica Harper's father and doltish Betty Archer's mother (Jessica's step-ma); Lee certainly follows the rest of the pattern, seducing giggly hedonist Betty and then moving on to loosen up librarian Jessica when it turns out that she'll inherit most of the family dough. As in the Levin classic, the initial tension comes from the double-lover's need to keep his two-timing a secret from the two lovestruck dames. But, while Levin firmly stirred unbearable suspense around his pathological killer's next move, hedging Neely goes in for confusing cross-purposes (Betty beds and hires a private eye to prove that Jessica's the murderess) and unlikely last-minute revelations. Sleazily readable, but dank, style-less, and shallow as they come.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam