The Daphne Decisions

Meg O'Brien, Author
Meg O'Brien, Author Crimeline $3.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-28488-1
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
O'Brien's debut is a solid novel with a timely plot and a bright female narrator who joins the growing ranks of heroines to dispute male dominance of the crime genre. She is Jessica (inevitably Jesse) James, a reporter on an upstate New York newspaper, working on a series about the homeless when a mugging sends her to a hospital. Coming out of a coma, Jesse hears a prominent personage, old Judge Malcross, call her ``Daphne,'' mistaking the journalist for the widow of his late son. Jesse says nothing but aims to find Daphne when she's released, hoping for information on Malcross's possible links to illegal promoters of a heartless scheme. But her editor takes Jesse off the homeless story, a blow since she has been obsessed with one woman, who froze to death after losing her home to developers of housing for the rich. Now on her own, Jesse invites murder by pinning together scraps of evidence to prove that Daphne, long since vanished, as well as the cast-off street people, demand an aware public and strong defenders. Daphne and all the novel's colorful characters create cinematic effects and irresistible emotional appeal. (Mar.)
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