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by Winston Groom

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-375-50161-4
Publisher: Random House

A study in decay, showing what happens when an apparently nice girl is forced to confront her own vice: by the author of Forrest Gump (1986), etc. Johnny Lightfoot, like many a small-town boy made good, can never really find his ease among the great and the good of high society. Raised in North Carolina, Johnny became a newspaper reporter and did very well for himself in New York before moving on to even greater success as a Hollywood screenwriter. In New York, he had an brief but intense love affair with TV newscaster Delia Jameson. But Delia was married, and Johnny had to step aside when she went back to her husband. Now, years later, Johnny runs into Delia again and learns that she’s being stalked. Someone from Delia’s past has been sending her letters, threatening to blackmail her with compromising videotapes. Who can it be? Well, obviously it’s someone Delia slept with—more than once’since he knows a great deal about her sexual tastes. She asks Johnny to help, and (since he has a reporter’s nose for crime) he agrees to take on the case. This involves, first of all, tracking down every one of Delia’s old flames—a pretty long list, mostly from the Social Register. That’s no surprise to Johnny, but he quickly discovers that practically all of these guys would like to kill Delia, most with good reason. She apparently went through men the way a drunk goes through liquor, leaving a trail of broken marriages, careers, and hearts in her wake. Since the motive’s unclear, then, Johnny’s forced to concentrate on hard evidence—in this case, a particularly rare videotape that arrives in one of the blackmail letters. It leads (of course) to a surprising source, thereby emphasizing the lesson of the whole investigation: You can never be too sure about someone. Pleasantly thoughtless, told with wit and without pretense. (Author tour)