GRAY MATTER by Shirley Kennett


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 Pauley Mac is a serial killer with brains--the brains of his victims, which he eats in order to absorb their particular skills. Right now Pauley Mac's interested in assimilating the brains of artists--a concert pianist, a painter, maybe somebody else before he moves on to his next phase, Childhood Innocence. It's the business of Dr. Penelope Jennifer Gray, a psychologist expert in computer simulation who's working with Det. Leo Schultz of the St. Louis Police Department, to make sure that Pauley Mac never reaches that next phase. Of course, PJ and Schultz don't know anything about Pauley Mac's phases; they don't even know who he is. But he knows who they are, thanks to a careless security leak that gives him a unique opportunity to eavesdrop on his predators, observing each nuance of the salt-and-pepper sparring between steadfast single mom PJ and neanderthal Schultz (an obvious Dennis Franz role) in the breaks in his domestic ritual (``With the two other heads already inside [the freezer], there simply wasn't room for a third unless he threw out some ice cream.'' Not many first-timers can convincingly plumb the mind of a serial killer, and Kennett isn't one of the few who can. Telemovie thrills may leave some readers sleepless, but not Thomas Harris.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-57566-079-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996


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