A Perfect Family

Darrell Husted, Author British American Publishing $16.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-945167-02-0
The first sentence of Husted's ninth novel ( Louisa Brancusi , Visitor from Vienna ) states that all but one member of the Johnson family will be murdered during a Thanksgiving weekend. Despite a confusing narrative that moves back and forth in time, one soon realizes that Billy, the oldest of Bill and Harriet's three sons, is dangerously disturbed under his ``model'' exterior. Home in the New Jersey suburb for the holiday, Billy has endured extreme abuse at a Southern military school, and tries in vain to explain why he won't go back. Stressing ``manly'' virtues, the father insists that Billy complete the term, a fate the boy avoids by shooting his brothers and parents. The author aims at symbolizing the destructive forces behind a modern, Norman-Rockwellish family doomed by a failure to communicate. Unfortunately this seems to be Husted's failure as well. He distances himselfand the readerso far from the characters that the result is more of a case history than an involving story. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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