The Hawk

Peter Ransley, Author Viking Books $17.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-82796-1
British film and TV writer Ransley adroitly accelerates tension in this polished psychological thriller. Annie Marsh is an obsessive, meticulous housewife living in a suburb near Leeds in Northern England. She has ambitions for family, worries about what the neighbors think and actively dislikes her mother-in-law. Having suffered severe post-partum psychological dysfunction with both children, Annie fears that it may resurface. This complicates a difficult situation when she begins to suspect that her placid, pleasant, rather slow husband Stephen is ``The Hawk,'' a Yorkshire Ripper-esque killer who has been murdering and mutilating prostitutes. (Should she tell the police? Would they believe her? What will she tell the children? The neighbors?) As Annie's terror grows that her husband is a monster, her carefully ordered life falls apart. Ransley alternates short sketches focusing on the victims, police and press, with a leisurely, detailed portrait of Annie's life and dilemma. While the ending is anticlimactic and Ransley's view into the killer's mind superficial, realistic dialogue (with Yorkshire accents) and slowly building tension make the narrative compelling. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-14-012141-4
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