The Madonna Complex

Norman Bogner, Author Forge $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-87519-0
A ruthless billionaire tycoon is driven to completely possess a beautiful but flawed younger woman with a mind of her own in this loosely plotted psychodrama. Although 50-ish New York magnate Teddy Franklin casually buys and sells S&P 500 companies, he is stymied by Barbara Hickman, the 20-ish daughter of his former wine supplier, with whom he is completely obsessed. Barbara likes Teddy, but dark, sexual secrets from her Radcliffe years and the deaths of loved ones have left her unbalanced and defensive. Unscrupulous Teddy pays for a shrink, then hires a thug to steal Barbara's session tapes. His machinations cause the death of a security guard, and the cops get wind of his involvement. Meanwhile, the relationship escalates and Barbara reveals all to her therapist. When Teddy lets Barbara know he's learned her secrets, she forgives him, but the cops are closing in on the tycoon. With the help of his son, he escapes to a Canadian Northwest mining town, but there he is stalked by killers; his only ally is an Eskimo prostitute. Barbara faces her own perils in New York, and the pair struggle to reconnect before it's too late. Bogner (To Die in Provence) has smoothly updated this novel, first published in the '70s. Less a thriller than a portrait of obsession, his engrossing if melodramatic tale is furnished with several explicit sex scenes. Short on plot but long on atmosphere, it plays on fantasies of high-stakes living in the moneyed circles of New York and Boston. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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