cover image Double Edge

Double Edge

Dennis Etchison. Dell Publishing Company, $5.5 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-440-21868-5

With his newest book, Etchison unfortunately proves that a great story writer is not necessarily a great novel writer. Although his short fiction is usually excellent, Etchison's dull Double Edge has the feel of a good short story padded out to book length. The thin plot concerns Jenny Marlow, who, along with her husband, has written a TV docudrama about Lizzie Borden that reveals their ""discovery"" of the real killer in the unsolved crime. Suddenly, friends and family are being killed (with an ax, no less), and-naturally-Jenny must try to survive and unmask the murderer. The characters are hackneyed and undeveloped and plot threads appear out of nowhere, only to be left dangling messily. There are a few suspenseful moments in the narrative, but they're all identically written, as if Etchison were a magician repeatedly performing the same parlor tricks with different decks of cards. (Jan.)