Pretty Maids in a Row

Marilyn Campbell, Author
Marilyn Campbell, Author Villard Books $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-679-42773-5
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-451-40571-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-61417-149-2
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A headline-grabbing plot that draws from the Anita Hill situation, the Spur Posse in Lakewood, Calif., and the case of Lorena Bobbit is the basis of this soap opera masquerading as psychological suspense novel. ``Little Sister'' was a jeering sobriquet applied by 15 Dominion University frat brothers to the sometimes willing--and oft-times raped--coeds they dogged for sex, then tallied on their ``dance cards.'' Now, 14 years after she was victimized, environmental lobbyist Holly Kaufman finds that one of her assaulters, Tim Ziegler, now a senator, has been nominated for a cabinet post. His role in the vicious game is raked up, then swiftly buried. Disgusted, Holly joins the Little Sister Society, a group dedicated to nonviolent retribution. Her fellow members are a quartet of one-note characters: Bobbi, a mousy IRS employee with a movie-of-the-week-style split personality; calculating businesswoman Erica, who has buried several husbands; Rachel, a man-hating, lesbian FBI agent; and April, a psychologist. Clearly, someone has become unhinged: first Ziegler, then other ex-frat boys, are killed in a vengeful, bloody fashion. Campbell, the author of Pyramid of Dreams and other paperback novels, tries to inject excitement with a sizzling romance between sex-shy Holly and a womanizing, arrogant reporter trailing the group, but she can't get beyond the formulaic argue-assault-apologize school of attraction. The final scene, in which the killer is unmasked, is ludicrously flat. Literary Guild selection. (Mar.)
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