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THE OTHER ADONIS: A Novel of Reincarnation

Frank Deford, Author . Sourcebooks $24 (272p) ISBN 978-1-57071-745-1

The versatile Deford, best known for his sports writing and radio commentary and most recently the author of a novel about Pearl Harbor titled Love and Infamy, here segues into romantic suspense with a touch of gothic mystery. Set in 17th-century Europe and modern-day New York City, the plot entwines the lives of a group of characters all deeply affected by Peter Paul Rubens's painting Venus and Adonis. Two of the characters, magazine publisher Floyd "Bucky" Buckingham and financial analyst Constance Rawlings, believe they are actually the reincarnations of the painting's subjects. They approach psychiatrist Nina Winston to see if she can prove their beliefs through hypnotism. Nina, enmeshed in her own steamy relationship with a dashing minister, Hugh Venable, agrees. During the hypnotism, however, Nina discovers a shocking truth: both Bucky and Constance were indeed Rubens's models back in Antwerp in 1635, but their roles were reversed. And not only was Constance a man who posed as Adonis, but he was in real life a serial murderer named Ollie who may have actually killed Venus—Bucky—after the painting was finished. Nina wonders: If Constance was in fact a murderer back then, what does that say about her true nature now? Deford keeps the tone light and humorous, mixing history and crime and engineering romance between characters who, refreshingly, are well into middle age. The drama builds to a galvanizing finale on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then shifts down into a sweet denouement. Probably too sketchy on the mystery details to please true fans of that genre, this will attract female readers looking for an enjoyable light read. Agent, Sterling Lord. 50,000 first printing; launch party at the Met. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
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