WIDOWMAKER by William Appel


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 How's this for a story idea? A victim of her father's physical and psychological abuse survives by retreating into an alter ego who goes around seducing and killing family men. Of course, you'd need to flesh out the characters, for instance by making the survivor, tropical-fish shipper Nina Benanti, a ``lame nun'' in a ``librarian's dress,'' and the alter ego, Carmina Rivincita, an exotic chameleon devoid of emotion who picks men up in bars, takes them back to her room, spikes their drinks with lethal doses of digitalis, and then sits back to enjoy their last gasps. As a plot complication, you might have shy Nina fall in love with stammering artist Paul Zahler, her last best hope for kissing off Carmina and leading a normal, decent life, if only she can quit at, what, half a dozen killings now? And then you'd need a high-profile pair of detectives--say, criminal psychologist Kate Berman and her husband, Josh, former New York City medical examiner (Whisper...He Might Hear You, 1991), whose jocular domestic life suggests a serial killer stalked by Blondie and Dagwood. And let's not forget the sensuous set pieces that are hallmarks of books like this: ``He pictured her naked lap sprawled and open as halved fruit.'' And the surefire tricks to heat up the suspense: the killer's escalating violence! the police commissioner's time limit!! the danger to our heroine!!! Computer-plotted pulp, except that the computer isn't one of the ones that wins chess games, but one of the ones that gets you out of the shower to ask if you'd like to change your long-distance service.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1994
ISBN: 0-8027-3193-7
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1994