Blood Mask

Lauren Kelly, Author
Lauren Kelly, Author . Ecco $24.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-06-111903-3
Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006

Joyce Carol Oates's gripping third suspense novel under her Kelly pseudonym (after 2005's The Stolen Heart ) explores twisted love. Shy, insecure teenager Annemarie Straube becomes the object of intense scrutiny when she's discovered half-clothed and drugged, wandering through the woods. She and her aunt, Drewe Hildebrand, were apparently abducted by fundamentalist Christians who vandalized the older woman's Hudson River estate. Under police questioning, Annemarie has only fragmentary memories of the attack and of being force-fed a powder later determined to be crystal meth. Through flashbacks, Kelly portrays the odd relationship between Annemarie and Drewe and the bizarre assortment of cutting-edge artists who were part of their circle and who eventually emerge as the main suspects in the kidnapping. Since the heroine is the very definition of the proverbial unreliable narrator, piecing together subtle psychological clues to discover the truth will challenge most readers. Fans of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell will be well pleased. (May)

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