Tuesday Night Miracles

Kris Radish. Bantam, $15 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-553-38476-5

Dr. Olivia Bayer is at the end of her career as a therapist when she is given a new group of women for court-ordered anger management classes. Her evaluation is all that stands between them and jail time. Kit has assaulted a domineering brother in a drunken rage after her mother’s death; elegant and controlled Jane took the spiked heel of a red stiletto to the face of a co-worker when a desperately needed property sale fell through; and Grace repeatedly rammed her car into her daughter’s boyfriend-from-hell’s car when she found it parked in front of the house. Leah, a last-minute addition to the group, is a battered wife living in a shelter with a story even more disturbing than the others’. Olivia decides that for once she is going to follow her own instincts and put aside the strict protocol usually required of such weekly group therapy sessions, with uneven results. Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery; she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships. The weak link here has to do with Olivia’s experimental approach to anger management, which comes across as underdeveloped and simplistic. Nevertheless, the strong personalities will resonate for many readers. (Jan.)
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