Michael Stewart, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (325p) ISBN 978-0-06-017767-6
If readers can swallow the premise--a casual encounter leads a successful professional woman to sexual slavery and a dual identity--Stewart's seventh novel (after Belladonna ) will make for a gripping read. The erotic thriller opens with a young model named Cristina Parigi throwing herself into the East River. Joanna Lefever, owner of the high-class Manhattan couture house where Cristina worked, discovers that the model led a secret life as a call girl. Haunted by the death of her infant son, her soul deadened by a disintegrating marriage to a Columbia University professor, Joanna starts wearing Cristina's clothes and going out on her dates--one of whom, the sinister artist Louis, casts a Svengali-like spell over her. To make his heroine's choice of a double life credible, Stewart loads a world of troubles on her shoulders: she is being blackmailed by her son's ex-nurse, her husband is blatantly unfaithful, etc. None of this quite justifies Joanna's descent into total sexual submission, but it does give her a lot more personality than the average thriller's woman-in-peril. Overall, the writing is taut and exciting, the characters are realistically flawed and the erotic element--which is about power more than sex--is dark and disturbing. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994
Release date: 02/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-06-109167-4
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