Sandy Kinsolving's once-glittering life hangs by a threat; his future depends on his wife's inheritance and whether or not she's about to throw him out on his ear. What he wouldn't give for a solution to his money and marriage problems.
If this were an Alfred Hitchcock movie, the solution would be obvious. Enter a stranger with wife problems of his own, who offers a violent -- and mutually advantageous -- proposal.
Them in the time it takes to whisper a word, Kinsolving's normal life ends. What radiates like a mirage before him is wealth, security, and freedom. But lurking in the shadows are a brutal murder he cannot prevent, and a madman who stalks his every waking moment.
Though Woods's (Heat) latest caper provides all the credibility of a soap opera, the novel also offers some of the guilty pleasures attendant to that TV format. When wine merchant Sandy Kinsolving meets art dealer Peter Martindale on a flight from London to NYC (the novel's primary locations), they are inspired by watching Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train to hatch their own version of that classic plot-in which two strangers each agree to commit murder for the other. It seems that both men have "troublesome" wives, so why doesn't Sandy kill Peter's spouse and Peter return the favor? After one lady is duly offed, however, events careen out of control. In fact, so many subsequent episodes occur (many of them preposterous and too tidily handled) that the murder pact gets lost. As often happens in the world of soaps, a glossy veneer lends an air of sophistication-a corner suite at London's Connaught Hotel, a cashier's check for $28 million-and, also, of unreality. (Even the dialogue begins to smack of Noel Coward.) Enjoyable for a time, the tony tinsel is overtaken by a blandness that ultimately undercuts the novel's would-be dramatic and psychological aspects. BOMC, QPB alternates; Harper Audio.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 30, 1995
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