Full Stop

Joan Smith, Author Ballantine Books $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-449-91048-1
New York City's bureau of tourism won't thank Smith for this latest Loretta Lawson escapade. The city is shown at its anxiety- provoking worst as the brilliant British feminist academic, who appeared most recently in What Men Say, stops off for a long weekend on her way home from Berkeley to Oxford. Toni, the colleague with whom Loretta was planning to stay, deserts her for the weekend, leaving behind only Honey, her English bulldog, who is something of an acquired taste. Trouble begins when Loretta receives a lengthy obscene phone call. The phone company refers Loretta to their counseling hotline, and the folks at the police precinct have bigger things on their minds. After she's propositioned at the theater, Loretta becomes convinced-for the remainder of her weekend-that she is being followed by either her spurned admirer or the obscene caller. As if that weren't bad enough, the weather is hot and steamy, as Smith relentlessly reminds readers at the start of every chapter. In something of a travelogue, Loretta is hassled or threatened in many of the city's best-known spots-the Metropolitan Museum, Battery Park, Ellis Island. She is generally so grimly earnest, bewildered and edgy that readers will be thankful for the comic relief supplied by the dog. The plot succeeds in being menacing, and Loretta solves her problem resourcefully, but Smith's open admiration of her heroine gets in the way, especially of the finale. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-7862-0670-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 262 pages - 978-0-449-22300-0
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