Bad Neighbors

Kathrine Beck, Author, Katherine Beck, Author, K. K. Beck, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-48346-9
This villain of this light and clever suspense novel by the author, as K.K. Beck, of the Jane da Silva novels (Cold Smoked, etc.) is a cheerful, boundlessly energetic psychopath-next-door, whose house exudes domestic perfection. The Jamisons are a young family buckling under stress: David, a former ad exec, is now a depressed house-husband caring for two daughters, while Anita, his disenchanted wife, slogs through a career she never wanted and drifts into an affair. Money and tempers are short. To the rescue: the new neighbor, Sue Heffernan, who carves a tasteful little arch-shaped doorway through the hedge that separates their yards and infiltrates the Jamison household--fixing dinners, giving the floors a quick once-over, straightening clothes in the drawers, taking over the care of the Jamison's younger daughter, Sylvie, and eventually making her attractive, perky self sexually available to David. Lily, the sullen teenager who thinks Sue is a maniac, is the only one with 20/20 vision. David, who doesn't like Sue around at first, gives in. After all, Sue makes things so much easier for him. Readers will develop a hungry curiosity to find out how far Sue will go and what she's really after. Beck maintains an increasingly sinister atmosphere, and when an unexpected death turns out to be premeditated, we know that Sue has only just begun. Beck's deft pacing keeps readers furiously turning pages through the murderous, if implausible, homestretch. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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