When She Was Bad

Ron Faust, Author
Ron Faust, Author Forge $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-85164-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8125-1380-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-62045-438-1
Hardcover - 322 pages - 978-1-63026-483-3
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One man's obsession with a world-class femme fatale powers this fast-running but unreliable thriller by the author of In the Forest of the Night . Local reporter Dan Stark meets the woman of his dreams--and nightmares--when shipwreck survivor Christine Terry is brought ashore to the Florida Keys. Narrator Dan, an impetuous sort, falls hard for both the self-possessed beauty and her tale of a fortune in emeralds that sank with the sailboat that was ferrying her from Colombia to Miami. Quitting his job, Dan sails with Christine to recover the gems, only to see his fantasy voyage of sun and sex shattered when, the emeralds found, Christine maroons him on a reef, from which he's rescued by a passing ship. Seven years later, Dan, still under Christine's spell despite realizing that she killed the sailboat's owner and nearly did him in, too, tracks her to Aspen, where she's the cocaine kingpin of high ski society. Disguised as a crude but savvy drug lord, he deals his way to Christine in order to extract a brutal revenge, a tit-for-tat pattern that continues over the years, with vengeance pursued by shooting, arson, fraud and attempted drowning. Christine usually gets the upper hand, but Dan, whose mutation from victim to avenger is unconvincing, always comes back for more, like a punch-drunk palooka. Throughout, Faust's prose is as smooth and bright as a sunlit mirror. At first, the pair's wicked tanglings grip, but by novel's end the combat seems more like slapstick than suspense, a dead-end for Faust's prodigious, if here misdirected, talent. (Apr.)
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