Darkening Echoes

Carol Smith, Author Warner Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-446-52004-1
In this adroitly plotted first novel, set in contemporary London, British literary agent Smith works a keenly observed story of five women into a murder thriller. Beth, a divorced caterer, has been having an affair with Oliver, a married banker. Vivienne, a former ""Debutante of the Year,"" happens to be married to Oliver and doesn't know of the affair. Georgy, an American photographer on assignment in London, is infatuated with Beth's ex-husband. Without any obvious links (at first) to the first three are Sally, the sexy, freewheeling good-time girl from Australia, and Catherine, a veterinarian's receptionist whose famous mother cruelly squashed her one chance at love. Smith nimbly charts the ways in which the disparate lives of these women intersect until they all meet, by chance, in a gynecological ward, where they become friends. She generates suspense with a violent prologue in which an unnamed woman is attacked in her kitchen and maintains the tension with short, italicized chapters detailing further murders (with the players remaining anonymous). By the time the main plot acquires the sinister tone of the prologue and interchapters, every character has come so vividly to life that the reader is hooked, ready to be reeled in as Smith subtly orchestrates the series of events that brings the canny and experienced killer to the fore in a protracted and graphic conclusion. Major ad/promo. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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