cover image The Boyfriend from Hell

The Boyfriend from Hell

Avery Corman. St. Martin's Press, $24.95 (249pp) ISBN 978-0-312-34979-0

This occult thriller from the author of Kramer vs. Kramer begins as a tidy, well-paced tale of New York City dating life. Veronica ""Ronnie"" Delaney, a beautiful 24-year-old freelance journalist, has just lost her chef boyfriend to a cabaret singer's charms and the semi-stardom of a cable show. On the professional front, Ronnie gets an assignment to investigate the Dark Angel Church, a local satanic cult. The handsome, creepy cult leader, Randall Cummings, seems like perfect inappropriate boyfriend material, but Ronnie passes him over, and she meets the gorgeous Richard Smith, author of a history of Satanism and just too good to be true. Soon, she finds herself implicated in a murder, begins to lose her cool and leads the novel through a rapid series of unconvincing events that bring the story to a predictable close. The author is excellent with small details of setting and of personality, though the section set in an apparently pre-Katrina New Orleans is oddly anachronistic.