As Francesca

Martha Baer, Author Broadway Books $22.5 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-06754-5
A whodunit with an edge, this debut novel, first serialized in the online magazine HotWired, is a mildly spicy one-night read. By day, narrator Elaine Botsch has it all together as she works hard to scale the corporate ladder. By night, using the handle ""Francesca,"" she cedes all control to ""Inez,"" her online dominatrix. These two sides of Elaine's nature coexist tidily: the more roughed up and degraded she is during her online trysts, the better she performs at the office. She's just about to clinch a promotion when a bonehead move (she forgets to use her alias when logging on) breaks down the barrier between her fantasy life and her professional one. Seizing on Elaine's gaffe, Inez hints that she knows Elaine off-screen, and the process of trying to detect Inez's real identity sends Elaine into a personal and professional tailspin. Unfortunately, the alienation of Internet sex (even zany S&M) and keyboard communication does infiltrate the book. Few of the characters become three-dimensional or interact convincingly. As Elaine sorts through the possibilities of who her dominatrix is, it's as if she's flipping through a Rolodex of stereotypes: the geeky librarian who might be a closet whipmaster; the control-freak boss who might secretly let loose. Only Elaine lifts off the page, and even her Dr. Jeckyl and Ms. Hyde dichotomy is reiterated rather than developed dramatically. But Baer's writing is taut, and her entertaining story comments intelligently--and with a light touch--on the nature of degradation. (Feb.) FYI: Baer is executive editor of HotWired and was formerly features editor at Wired magazine.
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.