cover image Last Licks

Last Licks

Shelia Dyan, Sheila Dyan. Pocket Books, $4.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70659-3

Flashes of ingenuity and wit provide only occasional relief in this intensely bitter first novel. Like a kaffeeklatsch from hell, it offers a gossipy account of the relationships with men endured by Tess Fineman and two of her friends. Tess juggles part-time catering with part-time real estate sales while readjusting to singles life after her habitually unfaithful husband Stephen ``The Prick'' finally leaves her. After a few dates, Tess learns there's a real shortage of normal men. It's like granola out there, she says: ``what ain't fruits and nuts is flakes.'' Her friends fare far worse: since Janet Meyer's ex left, she has had to beg him to pay for necessities for their handicapped son while he drives a Mercedes and his new wife (``The Twit'') wears sable. Sandy Solomon comes to terms with the fact that her husband Charlie has fallen for another man. All three miserable bastards ultimately get what they deserve. For her part, Tess ends up with a kind, monogamous, heterosexual man who has a great job and wants children--an ending woven of the stuff of category romances. (Jan.)