TAXI TO DUBROVNIK by Whitfield Cook


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There's a kidnapping by terrorists in this odd, unconvincing novel--but the fragmentary suspense here is merely the framework for Cook's strung-out inquiry (largely through flashbacks) into the psychological/sexual hangups of his cast of unappealing, ritzy eccentrics. At the center are three idle, vacationing Americans traveling by hired car from Athens to Dubrovnik: beautiful Bridget Dunlap, a mega-rich heiress and all-around genius (composer of avant-garde music) who draws manic inspiration from the memory of her long-dead, possessive mother; Bridget's gorgeous husband Flex, an athlete/achiever now rather emasculated by marriage to super-money; and Ezra Hoyle, Bridget's fat, bearded Yale music prof--a fuddy-duddy of ambivalent sexual orientation (he yearns for Bridget, lusts after Flex). Also adding to the sexual tension on the road: ""darkly attractive"" hired-driver Konstantine. And while flashbacks fill us in on willful Bridget's education, affairs, and abortion (she's now pregnant again), we also learn that Konstantine is part of a terrorist plan to kidnap Bridget for ransom. But before the terrorists can make their move, an accident interrupts the journey: a little local girl is fatally hit by the car; the police appear; Bridget's lookalike cousin Hope (who is always on call to replace priceless Bridget at moments of danger) is summoned to Yugoslavia for a brief Bridget impersonation. And then, after a four-way sex impromptu--Bridget is simultaneously serviced by the three men--the heiress is kidnapped. . . and, despite much cat-and-mousing with her captor (and a rescue try by Flex), she winds up stoned to death. Bridget's disturbed tycoon father, you see, is content to let her die (he killed her mother), replacing her as heiress with cousin Hope (his longtime secret mistress). A rat's-nest of kinky relationships and fuzzy identity crises--occasionally intriguing, but too lazy in its suspense and too bizarre in its characters (genius Bridget is especially unpersuasive) to maintain reader interest throughout.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte