The Mercy Killer

Hugh Fleetwood, Author Sinclair-Stevenson, $28.5 (0p) ISBN 978-1-85619-007-7
Tom Carter, 41, is childishly demanding, verbally and sexually abusive of his wife, Carol, and just plain rude--venting his anger and frustration at being told he has terminal cancer, with only nine months to live. In British author Fleetwood's intricate, unsettling psychological drama, Tom gets more than he bargained for when he advertises for someone to kill him--or help him kill himself--when his illness worsens. Rick Austen, a young, disturbed artist with a rich fantasy life and an obsession with the macabre, gets the job and becomes deeply involved in Tom's desperate attempts at pyschological self-destruction. The ominous tone of the story's opening neatly contributes to suspense as Fleetwood's British-accented New Yorkers play complex mind games involving Tom's rage; Carol's love and anger; and Rick's alternate fascination and disgust with Tom and sympathetic attraction to Carol. Masterfully building narrative tension to the decisive, unexpected climax, the author reveals the hair-trigger balance between raw emotion and the rational, established surface of daily existence. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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