Heat Storm

Linda Munson, Author Longstreet Press $17.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-929264-83-7
Though competently written, this first novel concerning the love affair between a pedophiliac priest and a 15-year-old Catholic schoolgirl lacks the finesse and psychological intrigue of a Lolita. Instead, it is a predictable story of a tortured man and a vapid girl. For questioning the misogynist doctrines taught by the nuns, Eunice McCall is often sent to Father Conor O'Neill, principal of her Catholic high school and family friend, for punishment. Ritual paddlings by Conor escalate to touching and then to an obsessive affair. Eunice's struggles to endure her Protestant mother's revival meetings and parochial school brainwashing, are interspersed with details of Conor's past--boyhood incest with his sister, later violence with prostitutes--and his heavy drinking and subverted sexuality. Munson evocatively links the torrid atmosphere of her Florida setting, the heat of passion and the culminating scene of a fire, but the narrative itself never ignites the reader's interest. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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