The Ringmaster

Jean Hardy, Author
Jean Hardy, Author SunShine Press Publications $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-9615743-5-2
Hardcover - 452 pages - 978-0-684-80170-4
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Alexandre Dumas will be rolling over in his grave if he hears about the pseudonymous Hardy's first novel, an inept and twisted variation on The Count of Monte Cristo . In 1979, Vince Perriera, a small-time hood from the Baltimore streets, discovers the financial plight of the L'Arranzas, married Argentine physicians in the States on student visas to further their medical training. At the same time, he begins to prey upon a trio of students at a small Annapolis college. The L'Arranzas are enticed by Vince into stealing drugs from their hospital; one of the students, Sloane, a blase Connecticut socialite eager for a fling, is seduced and impregnated by him; another, Nigel, from a good family but broke, is led astray by Vince's promise of easy money; the third student, starry-eyed Patricia, who's half-Chaco Indian, half-Irish, is drugged and forced to participate in an orgy. After a local teenager narrowly escapes death from Vince's cocaine, the hoodlum is sent to prison. Freed after only seven years, he dubs himself ``the Ringmaster'' and takes revenge upon his former victims, all now highly successful, who had testified against him. Along the way, Vince also stumbles onto the L'Arranzas' perilous experiments with killer bees, spinning the novel into a nightmarish turn that bids adieu to the Ringmaster--but, unfortunately, not to the novel, which lingers on for a trial and more. (July)
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