PERFECT ANGEL by Seth Margolis


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 A high-concept, low-output Imperiled Mom scenario from the author of Losing Isaiah (1993), etc. Margolis starts with a nifty premise. Top advertising exec- -and aggressively single mom--Julia Mallet celebrates her 35th birthday by inviting six of her old college friends over and, at their insistence, taking them back to 1981 via another dose of the hypnosis she practiced like a parlor trick back in those days. But Julia's a little rusty; things get out of hand among her regressed buddies; and after they leave, she realizes she's forgotten to reverse the hypnotic suggestion she used to test the depth of the trances--that they each forget the letters D and H. Next day, a lunatic called The Wizard murders a woman from Julia's building, spray-painting a signature on the wall over her corpse: TE WIZAR. Obviously, the killer is one of Julia's old friends; their hypnotic regression must have shaken something bad loose from one of them. So now, instead of thinking of them just in terms of their shared past or their glamorpuss jobs (one's a cookbook author, another's a senator's aide, a third makes millions on the commodities floor; even the nonentities are a former valedictorian, a former pre-med, and a rolling-stone hustler), Julia has to wonder which of them has been hiding a lifelong secret. Margolis isn't much interested in developing any of the characters as suspects, much less bringing them to life; some of their personalities seem stuck in a single decade (the '70s type is trapped in a marriage with the '80s type). Instead he concentrates on the budding romance between Julia, whose controlling personality makes her like boxing better than sex, and her NYPD protector, almost-divorced Det. Ray Burgess, whose love life has never been what it might ever since his failure to stop a heinous sex killer from committing his last crime. Labored, thin, and amazingly unsuspenseful. (First printing of 35,000; film rights to Paramount)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-380-97311-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997


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