Secret Strangers

Thomas Tessier, Author Dark Harvest $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-913165-68-3
This disappointing thriller opens well with a prologue describing in sharp, convincing detail two suicides in the New York suburb of Clearville, but they do not connect with the poorly paced main plot until the final pages, by which time the reader may have lost interest. Tessier ( Rapture ) devotes the early chapters to developing an unsavory heroine named Heidi Luckner, a disaffected 17-year-old whose main complaint about her father's mysterious disappearance seems to be that her mother has stopped cooking and cleaning properly. While babysitting for Jane and Richard Seaton, Heidi discovers kinky photos of the couple; although she supposedly likes Jane, Heidi decides to blackmail the Seatons to the tune of $275,000. After the desperate Richard kills his wife and baby daughter, then takes his own life, the plot bogs down again in repetitive details of Heidi's suburban teen existence until the too-neat final twist. Most of the evil here is generated by Heidi herself, who is almost too vicious and hardboiled to be credible. Hampered by this poor choice of a heroine, and a plot cluttered with expository rationalization, the novel never lives up to its initial promise. ( Apr. )
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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