Irregulars

Marilyn Jacovsky, Author
Marilyn Jacovsky, Author Permanent Press (NY) $16 (160p) ISBN 978-1-57962-018-9
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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Cloe Goldwin is a painter and a lesbian who lives among the macabre streetscapes of Manhattan's meat market district. She's also a female psychologist specializing in the treatment of sexual aberrations, which is of note since someone in the city is murdering female psychologists in a fashion that would get Hannibal Lector's approval. Then Cloe's good friend Annie disappears and her ex-husband receives a shipment of human fat in the mail. Could the cannibal-killer be one of Cloe's patients? Cloe decides to set herself up as a target in hope that there's still time to save Annie's life. The remainder of this novel cuts between scenes of the psychologist's dysfunctional life--even buying underwear seems to be too much for her--and her sessions with the seriously disturbed people who come to her for help. Although Jacovsky, herself a Manhattan artist and therapist, suggests that psychologists are natural detectives as they sift through their patients' secrets, she doesn't let readers in on the process. There's very little clue-gathering here, no thinking along with Cloe as she weighs the evidence, which can make readers feel uncomfortably voyeuristic, given the nature of the problems she's dealing with. Some of the plot developments are overly complicated and confusing, and Jacovsky's descriptions can be overwrought. Ultimately, this book fails, however, because Cloe is so difficult woman to like--but no more so than a novel that has the villain slicing off a piece of a woman's nipple and ear, then serving the former to himself, the latter to her, for dinner. (Feb.)
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